Gardening Your Way to Mental Health

Guest post by Mary-Claire Mason, Sydenham Garden

Sydenham Green Group Practice in Lewisham started Sydenham Garden and patients continue to be referred to the projects.

Gardening Your Way to Health references this partnership and our work in response to growing evidence for health and gardens.

Evidence for the benefits of “Ecotherapies” has grown over the past decade. It includes studies and reports such as the Ecominds Project, and Growing Health. Sydenham Garden’s took part in both of those studies and continues to share our findings, practice and experience with other networks.

Perhaps the most noteworthy report so far is the recent Kings Fund report, Gardens and health. It emphasises the importance of gardening interventions on the wider health and care system, and makes the case for the further integration of gardens and health into mainstream health policy and practice. This is tremendous progress and we are hopeful that future policy and practice will reflect this report. Expect more publications in the coming months.

Sydenham Gardens also produce our own reports. In May 2016, our evaluation showed that co-workers (our beneficiaries) who complete a placement in our Garden Project meaningfully and clinically improve their health.

Sydenham Garden logo

If you would like to improve your health, you could think about various nature-based volunteering opportunities available in the area.

Sydenham Garden has four core projects, three of which use creative and social activity to help people recover from mental ill health. Another project uses the same activities and underpins them with Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) to help people live well with dementia.

A short film about our organisation was produced late last year. It has recently been nominated for an award. You can watch it at and if you like it, please do vote.

We are grateful for the partnership that has formed between us with Bromley & Lewisham Mind over the past few years, working together to help people recover from mental illness and live well.

If you use Bromley & Lewisham Mind services and would like to be referred to Sydenham Garden for any of our Adult Mental Health Projects or our Dementia Project, then please speak to your support worker.