Social & Therapeutic Horticulture


Category: Physical Health, rehabilitation, qualitative,

Title: The Value of a Therapeutic Gardening Intervention for Post-Stroke Patients’


Engagement During Rehabilitation: An Exploratory Qualitative Study (2016)

Summary: Little research has examined the benefits of therapeutic gardening on stroke rehabilitation. This study analysed interviews and participant diaries to determine the effectiveness of 10 bi-weekly therapeutic horticulture sessions in conjunction with their normal rehabilitation programme. Participants reported a positive experience of nature in which they felt able to explore self-expression and spirituality. In relation to their recovery participants felt it boosted their feelings of control and acted as a bridge between hospital and returning to the real world.

Category: Qualitative

Title: Community Gardening and Wellbeing: The Understandings of Organisers and Their Implications For Gardening for Health (2022)


Summary: Through interviews with nine community gardening organisers in North East England this paper explores their ideas about how community gardening benefits people. The authors argue that presenting community gardening as a straightforward solution for health and well-being oversimplifies its complexity and value. Key findings were the relationship between organisers skills and project success, and that for some social change is a primary focus.

Category: Qualitative, Green social prescribing

Title: A Qualitative Study of the Barriers to Commissioning Social and Therapeutic Horticulture in Mental Health Care (2024)


Summary: This study aimed to identify the obsticales to including social and therapeutic horticulture in mental health services. Professionals interviewed were involved in mental health comissioning across the UK and linked to the Therapeutic Horticulture Stakeholder Group (THSG) chaired by the UK charity Thrive. The main barriers identified were a lack of awareness and evidence about STH’s benefits, and a preference for traditional medical treatments. Additionally, STH providers face difficulties meeting the demands of large-scale health service contracts.

Category: Qualitative, Children and Young Adults, Green Prescribing

Title: Exploring the Perspectives of ‘Young Adults’ (18–24) Who Have Been in Formal Care and Their Experiences of Attending a Socially Prescribed Community Allotment Gardening Group (2022)


Summary: “When I am outside, I feel my mind is clearer, [erm] I feel happier it was a world that I could escape to. [Erm] I think I would describe the allotment as a peaceful, calming and relaxing place to be.” This study explored the experiences of young adult care leavers in a community gardening group in the UK. Six participants, aged 18 to 24, were interviewed online about their experiences. The study found that the gardening group provided social belonging, a safe space, a sense of achievement, and benefits from being in nature, enhancing their social connections, self-identity, and well-being.