Woodland physic garden, London, UK
Woodland physic garden – a first of its kind, with an emphasis on nature, health and wellbeing
A woodland physic garden for therapeutic health and wellbeing as a place for a diverse community to celebrate the site’s natural and cultural heritage, with learning opportunities about nature, natural dye, growing food and foraging, as well as sensory and literary exploration. Adventure is a theme that runs throughout; however, this woodland physic garden is also a place where people just sit out to enjoy its natural setting, with different seating spaces throughout to help bring people out into nature for quiet contemplation or for socialising.
Gardens, gardening, nature and outdoor spaces offer an immeasurable sense of wellbeing. There is growing evidence on the impact of gardens on health and wellbeing across the life-course, from childhood through family life and into older age.
Gardening can be undertaken by anyone – no matter their level of ability and gardening interventions have an important place in the wider health and care system with a focus on four specific areas:
- social prescribing,
- community gardens,
- dementia care;
- end-of-life care.
There is also a case for the further integration of gardens and health into mainstream health policy and practice – ‘gardens and health’ is an important mechanism for reaching health policy goals, nationally and locally.
Green spaces, gardens and gardening help with long-term reductions in heart disease, cancer and musculoskeletal conditions and have also been linked to reductions in levels of obesity and high physical activity, and higher self-rated mental health.
Gardens also provide other important environmental functions, such as reducing flood risk and moderating climate and pollution, which have knock-on benefits for health.
The mental health benefits of gardening are broad and diverse. Studies have shown significant reductions in depression and anxiety, improved social functioning and wider effects, including opportunities for vocational development.
See other community gardens here