What is Therapeutic Horticulture?

Stewart Holmes (L) with garden volunteers putting the finishing touches to a newly landcsaped area

Stewart Holmes (L) with garden volunteers putting the finishing touches to a newly landscaped area

For many of the volunteers who come to garden at Martineau Gardens, gardening isn’t just a hobby, it’s a therapy that provides new ways to deal with their problems. Volunteers garden together – they receive support from a trained staff member and enjoy the benefits of socialising with a supportive group, whilst acquiring new skills in gardening and increasing self-confidence. Therapeutic Horticulture at Martineau Gardens promotes social inclusion,  health and well being for all.  Our Therapeutic Horticulturalist is Stewart Holmes who leads and supports our gardening team Mondays to Thursdays; Miranda Kingston works with young people from special schools one day a  week and runs a ‘Working with Women’ group on Fridays.

Our volunteers (some of whom have mental health issues and learning disabilities)  look after the two and half acre community garden – the therapeutic horticulture programme  runs throughout the year, which means that there’s a huge variety of tasks on offer within the varied landscape of Martineau Gardens.  There are demonstration vegetable beds, an orchard, herbaceous borders, a formal garden,  an alpine garden, woodland, wildlife areas,  ponds, lawns, hot houses, plant sales and a shipwreck play area.  The Gardens stay open throughout the year for the public to visit. From seed sowing and cuttings to pruning, harvesting and composting ,  the Garden Volunteers are always busy.

Martineau Gardens – where people, plants and wildlife meet

For those of us who are priviledged to be staff here at Martineau Gardens, we see the benefits that therapeutic horticulture provides to our volunteers, on an almost daily basis. But don’t just take our word for it, please do watch our film and listen to our volunteers telling you  about their experience here:

Here’s what some of volunteers said during surveys, undertaken here: “This place has given me so much I like to give back what I can”

            “Big Thank You– My Anchor!”        

  “Cool, Brilliant – wonderful place especially being in middle of city – an oasis”

             “Such a safe environment – there must be lots of people that want to come here.”            

      “Such a fantastic place – sets me up for the week – love it – so peaceful”