The garden helps me cope with the virus.

How the Chelsea flower show is aiding the NHS

Plants grown for the cancelled show are bringing a sense of calm and relief to hospital patients and staff.

he physical and mental benefits of gardening are well documented. And as the Chelsea flower show begins its virtual show this week, a new survey by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) shows that nearly three-quarters of people who have access to a garden, courtyard or balcony, say it has helped their mental health during lockdown. It follows analysis of data from nearly 8,000 people published earlier in May, which found that those who spent time in their garden were significantly more likely to report higher psychological wellbeing than those who did not.

Nowhere has this been more apparent than in a hospital setting during the coronavirus pandemic. Take Albert Ridge, a patient at the Highgate Mental Health Centre, in north London. Most days he can be found either sitting, smelling the herbs and roses or painting in the 200 sq metre-space between two of the centre’s secure wards.

“The garden makes me feel happier and I feel more relaxed out there, says Ridge, 87, who has schizoaffective disorder, and was admitted to a secure ward last month. “It helps a lot with coping with [my anxiety about catching] the virus. If I haven’t been out in the garden, I feel fraught and agitated.”

Full article: Guardian

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