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Home / Latest News / Gardens open to the public to encourage ‘horticultural therapy’

Gardens open to the public to encourage ‘horticultural therapy’

The bad weather won’t put off a blooming display of flowers and greenery as the Welsh public are urged to take part in some “horticultural therapy” this weekend.

The National Garden Scheme is holding its first ever 48-hour garden festival tomorrow and Sunday in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care and other nursing and caring charities.

More than 800 private gardens across England and Wales will be opening their gates to the public, a number of which are across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, including gardens in Cyncoed, Llanishen and Barry.

Set to be the largest garden visiting event in history, the Festival Weekend aims to raise £500,000 for Marie Curie and other charity partners.

And there is also a therapeutic side to the event as horticultural therapy is being pushed as an emerging field of clinical practice that recognises the emotional benefits of interacting with gardens and greenery.

Dr Kathryn Thirlaway, head of the Department of Applied Psychology at Cardiff Metropolitan University, explained how spending time in a garden can help to recharge our batteries.

She said: “Studies show that ‘getting away from things’ in a natural environment helps to restore concentration levels and so reduces fatigue, whilst the sight of greenery prompts a relaxation response in our brain that doesn’t occur when we look at urban scenery.

“Spending time in a garden can reduce tension, lower blood pressure and help to manage stress.”

New research commissioned by Marie Curie into the public’s attitude towards gardens and in particular their significance to people at the end of their lives, reveals that nine out of 10 people in Wales say that having access to a garden or green open space is essential for their quality of life.

One of Marie Curie’s longest serving volunteers Basil Priest, 84, who lost his wife to cancer, has being helping to tend the gardens at the Cardiff and Vale Hospice for more than 16 years.

“Looking after the gardens at the hospice is something that brings me so much joy,” said Basil.

“It’s such an important part of Marie Curie as lots of patients and families use the garden as a quiet and peaceful place to relax.”

To find a garden open near you, visit www.ngs.org.uk or use the free NGS iOS app for iPhone and iPad.

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