New research suggests that taking part in gardening can make a child feel happy and boost their development. Too right it does. I spent Friday evening gardening with five children aged between four and eleven. Their enjoyment was palpable.
The study of 1,300 teachers and 10 schools was commissioned by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). It found children in schools that encouraged gardening became more resilient, confident and lived healthier lives. The RHS says school gardening should be used as a key teaching tool, rather than as an extra-curricular activity.
Researchers found that teachers who used gardening as part of learning said it helped improve children's readiness to learn. They also said it encouraged pupils to become more active in solving problems, as well as boosting literacy and numeracy skills. The report said: "Fundamental to the success of school gardens in stimulating a love of learning was their ability to translate sometimes dry academic subjects into practical, real world experiences. For more on this read here...
Of course, adults derive just as much enjoyment from gardening. An innovative new scheme in Totnes in Devon called Healthy Futures has just kicked off which allows GPs to prescribe community gardening. And on Saturday I visited the Secret Garden of the Medical Foundation for the Victims of Torture. Tucked away behind the busy roads of Finsbury Park the Foundation has a beautiful garden where those who are recovering from physical persection can obtain peace of mind through gardening.