Hampton Court Garden Festival has a little something for everyone, whether that be beautifully designed show gardens, plants to take home, yoga, live music or demonstrations from gardening celebrities.
For those interested in learning more about how gardening can improve their wellbeing, the place to be was the Get Growing stage where Thrive's Learning and Technology Officer, Freddie Watson-Stubbs, and Daisy Desire aka the 'Drag Queen Gardener' came together to deliver a talk on this topic.
After coming on stage to a hearty applause from the 100 people in attendance, Freddie and Daisy took their seats and introduced themselves. The first significant topic they covered was gardening as a source of hope, as the seeds we sow today are nurtured with the belief that good things will grow from them in the future.
Freddie said this was particularly true during the lockdown periods where interest in gardening soared and they believe this is in part because of the sense of purpose it provides to people through difficult times.
The act of sowing a seed is in itself an act of hope.Freddie
Connecting with nature was another important theme that arose during the talk. Daisy talked about how rare it can be in current times to focus on one thing at a time and simply 'stop and smell the roses'.
She talked about how this was particularly important for her when she was going through some recent family bereavements. Connecting with nature and nurturing new life was very therapeutic for Daisy and also gave her a sense of optimism.
The garden is a place where I can escape and nurture myself.Daisy
Connecting with others is one of the 5 ways to wellbeing and therefore Freddie and Daisy highlighted the social side of gardening as a vital yet understated benefit of gardening. This is something Daisy noticed when she started growing on her own allotment. The act of gardening and being outdoors can loosen us up socially to talk to others, ask advice, build friendships and communities.
Freddie reiterated this sentiment, adding that when people garden together, all of their differences are moved to one side as in that moment, everyone participating is simply a gardener.
Those moments in the garden allow us to restore our sense of self.Freddie
The talk lasted 50 minutes and was repeated later in the day so that more people were able to benefit from the insights shared. Freddie and Daisy did a fantastic job, bouncing thoughts off of one another and giving those in attendance plenty to reflect on and hopefully inspire them to use gardening for their own wellbeing.