Five ways to garden for health and wellbeing

Gardening is a therapeutic hobby, but there’s much more to making a garden for health and wellbeing than meets the eye

Plant fragrant plants where they overflow onto paths and will be brushed past Image: Jean Vernon
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One Lifestyle garden at this year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show highlights the ways you can garden for health and wellbeing.

The Health and Wellbeing Garden, designed by Alexandra Noble was awarded a Silver Medal, but for me it wins Gold with its simple ways to incorporate atmosphere and calm in a small space.

Here are five ways to garden for health and wellbeing, gleaned from and inspired by this garden.

1 Use soft and gentle planting

Use soft and gentle planting to create a serene ambience
Image: Jean Vernon

The colour palette in this garden is basically a cool and calming green and white with tiny accents of yellow and purple. It exudes peace and tranquillity and calms the mind and spirit almost instantly.

2 Envelop the space

When you create an enveloped space it adds a feel of safety and protection within
Image: Jean Vernon

Design the garden so that visitors are surrounded by foliage with a protective feel. In this garden the trees have a low canopy, underplanted with taller plants that enclose the space giving a feeling of safety and inclusion.

3 Plant Aromatic herbs into the borders

Choose ones that offer their healing properties as the sun releases their fragrance into the air. Medicinal herbs can support health and wellbeing, when used with the expert direction of a qualified medical herbalist. In a garden setting the uplifting aroma adds a further dimension to the design.

4 Use fragrant herbs beside and within paths

Plant fragrant plants where they overflow onto paths and will be brushed past
Image: Jean Vernon

Plant fragrant herbs where they will be crushed in passing, so that they release their aromatic oils and calming fragrance into the air. In this garden a chamomile seat exudes soft scent while seated and a path planted with fragrant thyme breathes calming volatile oils into the atmosphere as you walk through.

5 Add water to the design 

An open reflective pool adds a calming effect to the garden
Image: Jean Vernon

The sound of running water has a calming effect, but even an open, reflective pool adds a sense of wellbeing to a garden design. Focusing on reflections and searching inner feelings can evoke a variety of emotions and help to add clarity and understanding to a situation. In this garden there is a large circular pond that is reached via a winding path and offers deep reflective area for contemplation.






Jean Vernon

About Jean Vernon

Jean Vernon is a slightly quirky, bee friendly, alternative gardener. She doesn’t follow the rules and likes to push the boundaries a bit just to see what happens. She has a fascination for odd plants, especially edibles and a keen interest in growing for pollinators especially bees. She’s rather obsessed with the little buzzers. Telegraph Gardening Correspondent, mostly testing and trialing products and Editor-In-Chief for Richard Jackson’s Garden.
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