On ‘Virtual Chelsea’ RHS Members Day, RHS Announces

Appreciation of Gardens doubled during lockdown and 7 out of ten say their outside space has helped their mental health
by RHS
May 31, 2020

• One Poll Survey, commissioned by the RHS, to 2000 respondents across the UK shows that following lockdown 57% of respondents now value their garden more than previously*

• 71% of respondents who have an outdoor space felt that having a garden/outdoor space has helped their mental health during lockdown

• Weeding, mowing and watering are the gardening activities that are currently having a positive impact on well-being during lockdown, closely followed by planting and potting

On the first ‘Virtual Chelsea’, RHS Members Day in the history of the world’s most famous gardening event, the RHS is sharing new research that shows nearly 6 in 10 people (57%) now value their gardens more than previously; with over half (51%) saying they will value their garden more after lockdown.

A One Poll Survey to 2000 respondents across the UK commissioned by the UK’s Gardening Charity also found that seven in ten people (71%), who have outside space, say that having a garden, courtyard or balcony has helped their mental health during lockdown. Some 60% of respondents felt that having some outdoor space has helped their physical health during recent times.

Even the smallest gardens have been helping with people’s mental health, with some 59% of people with 10 sq meters or less of outdoor space saying it helped their mental health.

People with outside space are almost twice more likely to feel very satisfied with life currently compared to those with no outdoor space**, those with an outdoor garden, balcony or courtyard were also twice as likely to feel they do things that are worthwhile all the time.***

Monty Don said: "I have written and spoken many times of my own battles with depression and over the years have been much helped by medication, therapy, sun lamps, yoga and, not least, by an astonishingly supportive and long-suffering family. But none of this works without the balm of touching ground, of being nourished by the earth. We garden to nurture our little corner of nature but just as importantly, to nourish our souls and more and more people are tapping into its healing power.

“Plant a seed that becomes a beautiful flower and your life is immeasurably enriched. Simply sit in a garden and listen to the birds and the world is set in a perspective that is empowering. Gardens are fun and beautiful and rewarding - but much more than that, gardens are desperately important and we need them now more than ever for our physical and mental well-being.”

Whilst any size of outside space has been helping people’s mental health, bigger spaces have had a bigger impact on how happy people feel with 26% of people with 100 sq metres or less of outside space saying they were not very happy or not happy at all, compared to 20% of people with 101 sq metres or more. Some 67% of people who have no outside space are more likely to want it when they next move house.

Sue Biggs, RHS Director General, says: “Following lockdown one of the biggest concerns in the UK is going to be people’s mental health. With our research showing that 70% of people feel their gardens have helped their mental health during this time, the RHS is urging developers, local planners and the Government to value gardens as much as the public do.

“Houses are getting larger, but this must not be to the detriment of gardens and outside space. The Government’s target to build 300,000 homes should now stipulate that they must have either gardens - private or communal - or a balcony. This new research shows that any outside space is a valued resource for our mental and physical health. Now, more than ever, we know we need more outside space at home. The Government has a huge opportunity to make a positive difference to the long-term mental and physical health of our nation.” Weeding (40%), mowing (39%) and watering (38%) are the gardening activities that people said were currently having a positive impact on well-being during lockdown, closely followed by planting and potting (36%).

The top plants that people said have had the biggest positive impact on their well-being during lockdown are Daffodils (27%), Trees (27%) and Spring Flowering Bulbs (24%), closely followed by shrubs (21%) and roses (19%).

It’s not just outside plants that have been helping people with over a third (34%) of those with houseplants saying that they value them more now during this time of lockdown.

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