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News 13 April 2017 l Health & wellbeing

Gardening at Hanover estates brings health and wellbeing benefits

With National Gardening Week in full swing, we take a look at the popularity of gardening on Hanover estates and the health benefits of gardening, particularly for older people.

Gardens at Hanover

Across Hanover's many estates there are hundreds of wonderful green spaces, and hundreds of residents who are keen gardeners. So much so, that for over ten years Hanover has been holding an annual competition, Hanover in Bloom, across its four national regions. Prizes are awarded in a number of categories and last year's competition included awards for the best vegetable patch and the most improved garden. Applications for Hanover in Bloom 2017 are now open, and the guidelines and an application form are available here.

Best Vegetable Patch West 2
2016 West region winner of the Best Vegetable Patch category: Hanover Court Worthing

Most Improved Garden After 2
2016 South region winner of the Most Improved Garden category: The Pines, Slough

At Rosehill in Billingshurst, West Sussex, a group of keen gardeners have created a wildflower meadow to encourage pollinators and a balanced eco-environment. They have also developed a number of stunning areas of beautiful plants and flowers around the estate for residents to enjoy.

Rosehill Billingshurst 2

Rosehill Billingshurst 3
The residents have now won a Hanover Greenshoots grant and will be using it to make improvements to the central garden on the estate. More seating areas will be created, and a herb club for residents to grow herbs on thieir doorsteps and share the produce with each other.

Estate Manager Com O'Malley says: ‘Gardening makes a real difference on the estate. When people see others at work in the gardens they often come out for a chat. This helps to create a sense of community and is excellent for residents' wellbeing.' 

What the research says

A number of research initiatives have revealed the positive impact of gardening on health and wellbeing. A 2016 report from The Journal of Public Health concluded that 'Allotment gardening can play a key role in promoting mental well-being and could be used as a preventive health measure.' A Social Scientific Institute for Excellence study in 2015 found that 'contact with nature plays a vital role in our psychological wellbeing', and highlighted a number of benefits of gardening for older people:

  • Physical exercise and mental health
  • Food growing
  • Connecting with others
  • Learning a new activity
  • Helping one another
  • Providing visual beauty with plants and flowers
  • Alleviating loneliness

National Gardening Week - how to get involved

National Gardening Week runs from 10-16 April 2017. The core theme this year is encouraging new gardeners to get involved. Their website has a range of helpful information:

Further reading