Hayley Lockhart
Horticultural therapy is not a common subject for books outside the academic realm, particularly works of fiction.

However, this is about to change with the publication of 'Bloom', by debut writer Hayley Lockhart (pictured above). The therapeutic benefits of gardening are a key theme of the novel which tells the story of horticulturalist Lydia, the ups and downs of her dream of running a nursery and the relationships that affect that.

The wellbeing value of horticulture is a persistent strand of the narrative and is based on the Hayley’s own experience.

‘I have always found that gardening is good for the mind, body and soul,’ said Hayley. ‘I am a great believer in horticultural therapy and have researched the proven benefits it has for those suffering with poor mental health.

‘For a short time, I volunteered at a community garden supporting adults with disabilities and the rewards were invaluable.

‘Following many years working in the early years sector, I landed my dream job working in a local garden centre. This was where the seed for Bloom was sown.’

Hayley hopes the mix of engaging characters, plot twists and a life-affirming ending will not only be enjoyable for readers, but also lead to another tangible benefit:

‘I would love readers to discover the healing power of horticulture and maybe encourage them to experience it for themselves,’ she said.

'Bloom' by Hayley Lockhart is published by The Endless Bookcase, price £16.49.

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