“I’ve always lived in a place with gardens”: Residents’ homemaking experiences in Australian aged-care gardens

MimiTsai Debra Flanders Cushing MarkBrough


• Gardens reinforce the concept of ‘home’ and reinterpret feelings of home in Australian aged-care facilities.

• Residents engage with homemaking to transform their roles from passive receivers to active contributors in the garden.

• Aged-care gardens blur the boundaries between communal and private spaces.

• A healthful landscape experience integrates aged-care residents’ emotional, social and sensory landscape experiences.


Gardens play a vital role in homemaking for many older people living in aged-care facilities. A garden is where residents can assert ownership, agency, and recall significant memories, especially after relocation in later life. This research addresses a gap in literature about aged-care gardens by expanding notions of therapeutic benefits. It adopts a phenomenological framework and applies unstructured interviews, Go-Along videorecording and digital storytelling for data collection. Findings suggest residents are not merely passive users of gardens, they are active creators, shaping their outdoor environment through gardening and creating meanings in their local landscape that contribute to their experience of being ‘home’.

Find out more: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829219306586?via%3Dihub

Latest Covid restrictions for voluntary groups

National restrictions in England from 5 November

DCMS advice: “Voluntary and charitable activities are exempt from a number of the new restrictions. This means that, where volunteers are able to volunteer outside their home …they can: meet in groups of any size indoors or outdoors while volunteering….travel to volunteer or while volunteering [provided that offices, green spaces and travel remain COVID Secure]”.

Mark Webster of Thetford Conservation Group says:

‘Given that our parks, woods, riverside and countryside will remain open and people will continue to rely on these green spaces for free access to nature, exercise and recreation, I feel that it is important therefore that (wherever possible) we continue, through our volunteering programme, to manage and improve these green spaces as best we can.  Given the above government advice, and the fact that our conservation activities are kept very low risk (we are outdoors, can easily keep 2m apart, do not share tools – and I really miss not having the communal tea and cakes!) I am therefore intending to continue with our conservation group activities as usual, unless I hear otherwise.’

Green Care groups seek strength in numbers

From Growth Point 29/10/20- Thrive’s monthly newsletter

Green Care organisations in Norfolk are looking to come together to better promote their services in anticipation of rising health issues as a result of Covid-19.

Therapeutic horticulture, care farming, community garden and nature-based groups in the county want to create a Green Care Network that will heighten awareness of what they offer to GPs and clinical commissioners.

It is envisaged the initiative could signpost opportunities for individuals looking to move to the next stage of their recovery journeys through Green Care.

Carlyn Kilpatrick, of the Nurture Project at Kettlestone, and Nigel Boldero, (pictured above) who has been involved in various community gardening projects, are heading efforts to create the Norfolk network.

I firmly believe that Green Care projects and services have a massive role to play

Nigel Boldero

Nigel said: ‘We are all conscious of how “all things green” have become so much more important for so many people over the last few months, and the profile of the natural world and our part in it have become more prominent.

‘As we face another period where many people may find themselves in restricted circumstances, and with the prospect of considerable unemployment and rising mental health issues, I firmly believe that Green Care projects and services have a massive role to play and am committed to helping them through the formation of the network.’

It is hoped the hub could also share expertise, resources and ideas between members, potentially via an online platform that would be accessible to the 150+ people and projects already interested in the network. Project collaboration, training and promoting research could also become areas of mutual support and development.

Anyone interested in finding out more, should contact Nigel by emailing nbold@live.com

Gardens and Coronavirus 2020

New National Garden Scheme report highlights the importance of  gardens and outdoor spaces during lockdown  

 A new report from the National Garden Scheme emphasises the vital role that gardens and outdoor spaces played – and continue to play – in the physical and mental health and wellbeing of the nation during lockdown. Bringing together feedback from garden owners, viewers of their unique Virtual Garden Visits that aired throughout lockdown, and an online survey conducted in August, the National Garden Scheme report confirms that the power of gardens to do good has never been more important. 

George Plumptre, Chief Executive of the National Garden Scheme said, “Anecdotally, from the responses we received to our Virtual Garden Visits during lockdown, we knew that gardens (real and virtual) were playing a significant and important role in people’s lives. In August, to back this up, we ran an online survey entitled ‘The importance of our gardens and outdoor spaces during lockdown’. Over 2,400 people responded giving us a set of key statistics which confirmed much of the feedback we had already established; that access to gardens and green spaces can play a vital role in our ability to cope in times of crisis. 

“The report lays out our findings, the statistics along with some of the long-form stories that survey respondents shared with us, and the feedback from a selection of our own National Garden Scheme garden owners.” 


2,419 people responded to the online survey 

92% said their gardens and outdoor spaces were ‘extremely important’ to them during lockdown in terms of health and wellbeing 

87% said that a key benefit gained from access to their garden/outdoor space during lockdown was ‘It helped to relieve stress.’ 

100% of those with balconies or window boxes (35 respondents) said a key benefit was the reduction in stress – all of these respondents were within an urban or suburban environment 

Of respondents with access only to a public outdoor space (20 respondents) 95% said that a key benefit was that ‘It helped to relieve stress’ (as opposed to 87% overall) 

78% said that a key benefit gained from access to their garden/outdoor space during lockdown was ‘It helped them appreciate nature’ 

69% said that a key benefit gained from access to their garden/outdoor space during lockdown was ‘It kept them fit and contributed positively to their physical fitness’ 

86% said they used their gardens more during lockdown  

77% used their gardens for relaxation 

81% spent their time growing and propagating seeds 

70% grew their own produce 

Enjoying time to watch and encourage wildlife, connecting with neighbours ‘over the garden gate’, completing overdue garden projects and enjoying the sanctuary of their outdoor spaces were common themes in the long form responses. 

The Report

Gardens and Coronavirus 2020
The importance of garden outdoor spaces during lockdown
Read and download the full report here Survey Results September 2020

Associated content:

Case Studies:
Dave Darwent, Sheffield: “It came as a bit of a surprise that opening my garden is a kind of therapy for my mental wellbeing”
Click here  

Amanda Cooper, Oxfordshire: “The sanctuary of my garden in lockdown.” Click here

Gardens & Health
programme overview and virtual visits Click here

For more information please contact Communications Manager Vicky Flynn

Workplace wellbeing and green space

New research shows gardens and other green spaces at hospital sites have an important role to play in supporting staff wellbeing. Our year-long study focused on three NHS sites that had taken steps to encourage their staff to relax and recharge in green space. Staff stress has long been a critical issue for the NHS, where in 2019 more than four in 10 staff reported feeling unwell as a result of work-related stress in the last 12 months. These problems have been greatly exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, making staff wellbeing a greater priority now than ever. Our research shows that there is a strong appetite among health staff to take time outdoors – either for breaks or in the course of work – and points to a range of wellbeing benefits.

The study found: 

  • At each of the sites a large majority of staff (83-89%) said they would like to spend more time in green space at their site than they currently did. Benefits described included feeling relaxed and calm, refreshed and re-energized and positive effects on mental and physical wellbeing. A sizable proportion of staff (44-52%) said attractive green spaces were important to them in considering where to work – suggesting that this affects recruitment and retention. 
  • Staff who said they regularly spent time in their sites’ green spaces during the working day reported significantly higher levels of wellbeing. The more ways in which staff said they spent time in green space at work, the higher was their reported wellbeing. 
  • The most common way in which staff spent time in green space at work was taking a walk at the site during a break. This points to strong potential for encouraging informal walking, either alone or with others, an initiative that had already proved successful at one of the sites in the study. 
  • While relatively few staff at each site had engaged in organised recreational activities at work, such as Qigong or gardening, those who had had slightly higher wellbeing scores than those who had not. 
  • Staff who had face-to-face contact with patients spent less time in green space than those who did not. However, contact with patients was also found to predict wellbeing. This suggests that staff spending time with patients in green space enjoy a dual wellbeing benefit. 

Our study was carried out in collaboration with the University of Essex and with support from the Health Foundation, an independent charity committed to bringing about better health and healthcare for people in the UK. 

The research, conducted before the pandemic, explored staff experience of time in green space at work, including both benefits and barriers.

Download the Space to Breathe Summary PDF, or the Full report

Watch the recording and presentations from the launch event on 22 October 2020.

research project needs your help

Group activities in nature and long-term wellbeing is a PhD research project exploring the experiences of people who take part in outdoor group activity programmes and the impact of attending them on their long-term wellbeing.

The aim of this study is to explore the longevity of benefits to participants’ wellbeing from attending outdoor group activity programmes during the ages of 16-29, by considering the impact on their wellbeing at the time and over their life. It has been shown that outdoor group activity programmes improve peoples’ wellbeing at the time, however, we are unsure how long the benefits last and if and how they become part of a person’s life. It is important we develop understanding of the factors at the activities and in people’s lives that support improvements to wellbeing over time and the factors which prevent this from happening as well. Especially considering the challenges to wellbeing (mental, physical and social) for individuals and communities.

Participants need to have attended:

  • during the ages of 16-29 (can be older now),
  • at least 5 years ago or if still attending started at least 5 years ago,
  • an adventure, environmental conservation, exercise, farming, or gardening programme.

Taking part involves two activities, producing a timeline representing specific experiences over your life and taking photos of a place you go to for your wellbeing, and two interviews. The activities will take around 15-45 minutes each and the interviews will be between 1-2 hours. The interviews will be by video chat or phone.

Further information about the study and taking part is at https://wp.lancs.ac.uk/greencareandwellbeing/. I am happy to answer any questions and discuss taking part with you via email, a.harrod1@lancaster.ac.uk, or phone 01524 594710. Thank you for your consideration, Andy Harrod.

Asters lunch — My Botanical Garden

photo of pink asters with a bumble bee

Asters lunch — My Botanical Garden

Aviva Community Fund webinar: Measuring the Difference Your Work Makes

Getting your stakeholders and funders to understand the difference your work makes is essential to all community groups, charities and social enterprises so make the most of this free training.

Last week I circulated a link to a webinar that ran this Tuesday by the Aviva Community Fund in partnership with the FSI (Foundation for Social Improvement) about measuring your impact.  If you couldn’t make that webinar you might be interested to know that it’s is being repeated in November and December.  See dates and links below:

Nov 11, 2020 12:30 PM

Register in advance for this webinar:


Nov 26, 2020 12:30 PM

Register in advance for this webinar:


Dec 10, 2020 12:30 PM

Register in advance for this webinar:


11 Benefits of Cycling, Plus Safety Tips

Cycling is a low impact aerobic exercise that offers a wealth of benefits. It also varies in intensity, making it suitable for all levels. You can cycle as a mode of transport, for casual activity, or as an intense, competitive endeavor.

Cycling is a wonderful workout that keeps you active. It can help shape a healthy lifestyle, both physically and mentally.

Continue reading to take a look at some of the ways cycling can enhance your fitness level and well-being.

Find out more: https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/cycling-benefits

Empowering Communities through Nature

An illustrated talk by Tayshan Hayden-Smith from Grow2Know + Q&A hosted by Cordwainer’s Grow 

There’s been a huge increase in interest in gardening and nature during lockdown – especially among young people who perhaps wouldn’t normally be associated with gardening. A third of a million Britons have visited the RHS website for advice, seed companies saw a 600% increase in sales and a recent poll showed that 7 in 10 of us think gardening has helped our mental health. Most young people, though, don’t have their own space for gardening, and often don’t feel it’s for them anyway, so how can they access and be part of the benefits a garden brings? 

Tayshan Hayden-Smith, known as the Grenfell Guerrilla Gardener, founded the Grenfell Garden of Peace and set up Grow2Know, a community interest company which focuses on empowering young people through horticulture and creating a more inclusive environment. He doesn’t fit the normal profile of a gardener. He is young, of mixed heritage & is passionate about being a part of a more inclusive environment on the horticultural scene. 

View the recording here pass code Ldv4d1*Z

Connecting People with Nature

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