Interview with Julia Durbin who is a horticultural therapist at the Eden Project in Cornwall. Julia and her colleague James run a gardening programme in the Vounder Garden for people with health-related problems. The programme begins with a five-session introduction to gardening skills, with a further 10 sessions being offered to those who would like to know more. People wishing to progress even further can undertake a 25-session Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Level 1 Award in Practical Horticulture. Applications are open to anyone over 16 years old who is not in paid employment and is prevented from working by health-related circumstances – no green fingers or thumbs needed!

What are we chatting about?
The physical activity involved in gardening is known to be beneficial, but studies also reveal other benefits. Soil micro-organisms are now believed to boost serotonin, reduce inflammation and help with conditions such as diabetes and asthma. Gardening is also a great incentive to get outdoors, where people feel more relaxed and connected to the environment. Gardening with others has the additional benefit of creating a calm space for socialising, learning, sharing and therapeutic discussion. Together, these many benefits are known as horticultural therapy.

Keywords horticultural therapy, wellbeing, gardening

To cite this article: Durbin, J. (2023) Wellbeing chat. VNJ 38 (2) pp8-11

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