Sussex Gardens Competition
Our new charity project is to encourage volunteer gardeners to adopt a garden in one of our homes across Sussex.
It can be done as an individual, a family or a gardening and horticultural group. It will help support people with learning difficulties and become an important part of the work of our unique housing charity: Zetetick.
We give each of our volunteer gardeners a small budget and sometimes they will get help from staff and tenants in the home.
What we and our tenants hope is that they can turn patches of bare earth, worn grass and empty beds into a mini Eden amongst Sussex gardens, as everyone enjoys a beautiful garden for rest and recuperation, for stimulation and sensory delight.
Yearly Gardeners Lunch
Each year we have a special lunch for all our Sussex gardens & gardeners and a prize-giving
Judging is by a top National Trust gardener, who would be happy to be assisted by Alan Titchmarsh if he wanted to give his time.
Gardening may be an even more effective stress buster than other leisure activities. According to a study in the Netherlands, being surrounded by flowers certainly improves one’s health. In behavioral research conducted at Rutgers University in the USA, the results showed that flowers are a natural and healthful moderator of moods and have an immediate impact on happiness, a long term positive effects on mood, and make for more intimate connections between individuals.
For our tenants a well tended garden can offer meaning in their lives. Being in the garden affords all of us the opportunity to focus on beauty and inspires us to experience feelings of awe, gratitude, and abundance.
For more than 5000 years, people have cultivated flowers. There must be a reason why this practice continues to exist. As Michael Palin has written, “It was the flower that first ushered the idea of beauty into the world the moment, long ago, when floral attraction emerged as an evolutionary strategy.”
Of course digging has its own health benefits. We know, it is good exercise but also that people who are exposed to dirt develop healthier, stronger immune systems and exposure to dirt promotes good health.”
The other important area for our gardeners and tenants is that gardening improves relationships and compassion. Research shows that people who spend extended lengths of time around plants tend to have better relationships with others. Studies have shown that people who spend more time around plants are much more likely to try and help others, and often have more advanced social relationships. People who care for nature are more likely to care for others. Extended exposure to nature and wildlife increases people’s compassion for each other as it increases people’s compassion for the environment in which they live.
If you are thinking about becoming one of our volunteer gardeners and are retired, it’s worth noting two separate studies that followed people in their 60s and 70s for up to 16 years. They found, respectively, that those who gardened regularly had a 36% and 47% lower risk of dementia than non-gardeners.
The marvellous thing about our Sussex gardens is they are good for our volunteers, for our tenants and for care staff. Just looking out of the window at something beautiful in nature can change your day.
Email us now about volunteering in our Sussex gardens to find out more: