These two patches of greenery are part of a therapeutic revolution that is convincing senior doctors that gardening should be prescribed for mental health issues.
This form of ecotherapy has been hailed for its healing powers for more than ten years, but it is now apparent that it could hold the key to reducing the £1.9 billion bill for the 46 million antidepressants prescribed in England in 2011.
Former railway worker Martin Vince repaired his shattered life through gardening. The 50 year old fell into alcoholism after he lost both his mother and sister while suffering a marriage breakup.
Mr Vince said, “I’ve been sober for 22 months now and gardening twice a week is fantastic for me. After a few months I could see gardening as a potential career. I love being outdoors, I like that earthy feel and touching the plants.”
He now has a happier relationship with his daughter and is looking to gain a qualification in horticulture. His hard work has even gained him a call from the Chelsea Flower Show to help them set up for the event.
The gardens helping Mr Vince tackle his demons are run by a charity called Thrive who specialize in using horticulture to help those living with mental illness.
The president of the Royal College of Physicians, Sir Richard Thompson, has said that the recent changes to the NHS will encourage doctors to use these kinds of schemes as an alternative to medication.
If you want to find out what other types of therapy are available, please see our Psychological Therapies page for more information.
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