Following the opening of Horatio’s Garden London & South East, journalist and charity ambassador Melanie Reid kindly featured our latest milestone in a thoughtful article for The Saturday Times Weekend.
The piece opened with her own personal experience of her time in Scotland’s National Spinal Injuries Unit, where she spent over a year adjusting to her injuries. She describes the distinct memory of a tree branch, which remained a ‘faithful friend’ and that without realising, she’d become someone seeking solace in nature.
As Melanie writes, 10 years ago, just when the charity was starting out, it wasn’t in our mainstream collective consciousness to think of gardens and their healing powers. Thankfully, this is now changing and Melanie cites Horatio’s Garden as a ‘cutting edge’ example of the transformative impact using green space has as a therapeutic tool.
Having thoroughly researched the science supporting those pursuing missions like ours, Melanie outlines various studies (including Roger Ulrich’s pioneering 1984 study, View Through a Window May Influence Recovery from Surgery) all attesting to the power of nature and the myriad benefits it holds for both sick people and those simply facing the pressures of life in the 21st century.
Indeed, Melanie uses statistics from the Horatio’s Garden Impact Report (2019) too, which illustrate that 94% of patients experienced a positive impact on their wellbeing in our then four gardens, with a similar approval rate from staff.
Alongside the statistics, the feature carefully incorporates various pieces of anecdotal evidence, including from Horatio’s Garden Scotland designer, James Alexander-Sinclair and author of lockdown bestseller The Well Gardened Mind, Sue Stuart-Smith. Both explain what Melanie goes on to say is something gardening professionals (most famously Monty Don) and organisations like ours have known all along; that gardens give people motivation and purpose, whilst making everyone feel loved, safe and soothed.
Fortunately, the growing momentum of the movement has now convinced doctors, politicians and health economists and real change is starting to be enacted. As Melanie writes, wellbeing through simply being outside, or gardening, or exercising in the fresh air is something that can help everyone. It’s just a matter of getting out there and doing it.
We are enormously grateful to Melanie for including us in her article, which you can read in full by clicking here.
The piece is unfortunately behind The Times’ paywall, however if you would like to read more about Horatio’s Garden London & South East, please click here.