News

Wordlessness in the garden

Posted: 24th Oct 2018

  Gardening is mainly experienced without words.  Perhaps a grunt when heaving a load, or a cry of delight at the sight of a bird is as is much as a stint outdoors creates.  A newly-arrived Eyptian gardener stopped in his tracks to take in a pepper plant, fruit and all.  He smiled, lingered, and Read more…

The Power of Polytunnels

Posted: 25th Jul 2018

‘Entering the polytunnel is like stepping into another world. Its like going through Mr. Ben’s dressing room door’. Thomas, community gardener. What is it about polytunnels? Or greenhouses, sheds and other-worldly outdoor dens? Traditionally the sanctuary of ’im outdoors, the hen-pecked hubbie in the 1970s mind-set of The Two Ronnies. But everyone enters the polytunnel Read more…

What is the recommended dose of nature?

Posted: 26th Feb 2018

Inspired by the food pyramid, Tim Beatley’s team at the University of Virginia have synthesised the research on our current understanding of what dose of nature is effective for supporting mental health and well-being. It goes like this: On a daily basis, it is recommended to make moments of exposure to nature, from looking out Read more…

Managing strong difficult feelings

Posted: 27th Jul 2017

Nature often inspires strong helpful feelings. Sometimes too, we can do well to turn to gardening and nature when experiencing strong difficult feelings. Overwhelming emotions indoors can often swamp us and leave us unable to process thought and feelings, solve problems, feel light in spirit, or know what to ‘do’ with ourselves physically. Then, a Read more…

Summer’s day mindfulness

Posted: 15th Jun 2017

North London street ska beats announce Summer. The nearby urban wetland lakes tinkle. Parkland trees and grasses sway like heavy hips. The practice garden is busting out fullsomeness. There is an ease being outdoors, for many. However, have you ever unpacked how or what makes it so, in the microscopic? Sure, we are familiar with Read more…

Chelsea Flower Show collaboration 2017

Posted: 18th May 2017

I am collaborating for the first time with a team showing a garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. Come to your Senses Eco-Therapy Garden combats the detrimental technical overload children often experience today and reconnects them in a garden that plays on the five senses, to restore good mental health. The garden is sponsored by Read more…

Seeds of hope

Posted: 20th Mar 2017

Spring is potent for many. Shake open a little packet, seeds tumbling out, signals a powerful metaphor in gardening: an act of hope. Within each neat package lies a new life and a season or more of careful nurturing. With this comes joy and pride from ‘success’, or conversely, wistful learning from ‘failure’. This seems Read more…

Birdsong radio

Posted: 16th Feb 2017

The February days are still dark, weather dank and plants dormant. Winter’s grip is unshakeable; my bones need heat after venturing out. If, like me, you start to hanker for a perceptible Spring, and seek hope from seed catalogues, the peeking daffodil tips, an energetic blackbird, then birdsong radio might be for you. Several channels Read more…

Winter thought-soup

Posted: 10th Jan 2017

The ground has just thawed but Michael Fish says a cold front is coming, bringing talcum-powder snow. Yesterday, the robin looped around the practice cat, the cat around the fox cub in the practice garden. Soon the shorn green roof will be covered in a snow duvet, and man and beast will seek warmth. It Read more…

Beyond Bedlam, rethinking care for the mad

Posted: 5th Oct 2016

James Tilly Matthews, architectural plans and explanatory notes for Bethlem Royal Hospital, 1810-11   In a radical exhibition, an arching history of the treatment of the mad at Bethlem Royal Hospital, also known as Bedlam, forces us to review how future treatment should be.  Within this the Madlove project, led by people with mental illness, Read more…