A garden co-designed by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge will be making its way to the Dewnans Centre at Langdon, Dawlish when this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show has finished.
Each year, all NHS mental health providers are invited to bid for one of the gardens at the show – and this year we have been successful! Elements of the plants and landscaping from the ‘Back to Nature’ garden will be transported to the communal outdoor area at the Dewnans Centre once the show has wrapped-up. There will be an ‘unveiling’ ceremony at the Dewnans Centre and we expect the garden to be on display to service users and staff at the unit from early June.
The initiative to ‘win’ a garden from the prestigious Chelsea flower show is part of the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) ‘Greening Great Britain’ campaign for health and the environment. In its media release for the event, the RHS points out that a recent Ipsos MORI poll to over 2,000 people shows 78% of them say gardening has a positive impact on their mental health.
Staff, service users and carers from Langdon went up to Chelsea last week to participate in the planting of the garden and another group will be at today's press day at the show. The competition entry was written collaboratively by Joel Cutter (Inpatient Manager), the Chair of the Patient Council and Joanna Duke (Discovery Centre Lead) with the support of Ralph Hayward (Assistant Director of Planning and Development). It said that the garden would provide ‘a sanctuary, a spiritual and peaceful space for patients, staff and carers to enjoy. The garden will offer a chance to bring the outside in, especially important for people who will always have limited access to green spaces. The garden will give choices – in design, use, personalisation and enhancements. For patients it will mean ownership, a chance to put something back, as well as giving opportunities for co-production through joint work with staff, experts, the community and family members’.
The estates team at Langdon also played a key part in putting the proposal together and representatives from our organisation have been invited to a workshop being held by the RHS and NHS England at the show on 24 May to highlight the benefits of horticulture and green space in supporting people with mental health needs.
Commenting on the Back to Nature garden coming to Langdon, Joel Cutter said: “We put a good deal of time and effort into our competition entry and thanks go, in particular, to the patients who helped us complete it. We are delighted that we have been selected to display this year’s mental health garden and we will be dedicating the garden to one our chaplains, John Enever, who was much loved and respected here at Langdon and recently passed away.
“Secure mental health facilities like ours support the recovery of some of the most disenfranchised people in society – who often have little or no access to natural habitats or green spaces. The benefits of connecting with the outdoors are very well-documented and every day we see how powerful something as simple as gardening can be in a person’s journey of recovery. Alongside a wide range of other outdoor activities and interests, we offer a variety of opportunities for people to engage in horticulture in some way. The impact can be almost immediate, profound and long-lasting – and it is an incredibly rewarding experience to be part of as a mental health professional.”
“Chief Executive Melanie Walker added: “Our team at Langdon Hospital does some fantastic work with people who have complex and challenging mental health needs. We know that connecting with nature can have huge therapeutic benefits for people with a range of emotional wellbeing and mental health issues. The team at the Dewnans Centre works very closely with patients, supporters and families to create opportunities to do this. The voice of patients was a key part of their competition entry, as it is in everything that they do, and we are all overjoyed that the Back to Nature garden will be coming to Devon. It is very much deserved and eagerly anticipated.”
Click here to read more about the Back to Nature garden.