Start a new thread

1 to 20 of 32 replies

I have always enjoyed gardening and had often thought about setting up my own business. I have now done this. I never realised how important gardening was to me until I went through a breakdown. Having read articles and books by Monty Don I decided to pick myself up and immerse myself in gardening. There have been days where I feel as low as ever and can't get my head round anything, then I go to work and get out in clients gardens and am back to myself. I just wondered how many people have or have had similar experiences.

About 20 years ago I had a breakdown and didn't leave the house for a few months -  I suffered anxiety attacks and agoraphobia. When I was feeling a little better my friend asked me if I would go with her to study for the Flower Arranging City and Guilds which was a 3 year course.I said yes and never regretted it.My confidence gradually came back and I eventually got a job in a garden centre which I loved and stayed for 15 years until I retired. I also studied for the RHS general exam which was paid for by my employers.Plants,flowers and everything associated with them were my salvation so I know just what you mean.I still have bad days occasionally. I am so pleased you are feeling well now - gardening should be available on prescription

Pam x

Gardening is the very best therapy there is. 


well maybe be id think wats best for me before asking adivice or seeking it sorry its like tring if youwant too grow your own biss upp then go for it. but if you do well you know wats exepected . jusy go for it and try .hope it works out for you


I suffer with fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis and any day i can spend in the garden makes life worthwhile. My allotment is where i go to escape although you can still hear cars etc its a world away from all the grot. Happy Gardening

Three years ago while living in Canada I was approached to take part in a pre-publication study on gardening and mental health by a professor at University of British Columbia.  We did a tour of my garden first (I am pleased to say that it was all looking very good and the weather was perfect!) and then we started on the interview.  After all the usual paperwork signing (waivers, agreement to my comments appearing, etc.)  and a brief chat on my age (64), my gardening experience (moderate) and my sources for inspiration (my grandad), I had to take part in a short word-association session, answering - as is the norm - immediately with one word.  There were a couple of non-gardening words and then she just threw in the word 'garden'; my reaction?  "Catharsis".  I had never looked on it as that before but, looking back, I had always retreated into the garden following stress at work and particularly following - over the years - the deaths of my mother and my 2 beloved brothers.  I have cried and laughed, entertained and had quiet times in my garden...I have to say that, as apparently the sixth person interviewed, I was the first to produce such a reaction.  I am not sure who was the most surprised! 

As a counsellor, I try and encourage my clients to get out into the garden as much as they can. Of course, not everyone likes gardening, but those who do have seen some really positive changes in their lives so I'm delighted to hear these success stories too.  I may even include an item about this on my blog.

Some great responses. Thanks everyone.
Gary Hobson
lydiaann wrote (see)

... I had to take part in a short word-association session, answering - as is the norm - immediately with one word....

Spontaneous word-association is a reliable way of discovering what the subconscious mind 'really thinks' about things. Dreams are another. You have no rational control over either.

One of the pioneers of those ideas and techniques was Carl Jung. He was a great believer, not so much in gardening, but in the power of nature to heal the mind. A really interesting book, a collection of writings by him, is called 'The Earth Has a Soul'. You can see that book on Google Books here: The Earth Has a Soul

One of my favourite quotes from that book is: 'I derive a great deal of pleasure from growing my own potatoes'.

That quote is here: Carl Jung: Growing My Own Potatoes


I concur. Nature heals through the senses and gardening is just one way to appreciate our world as a whole. No wonder nature got given her pagan monikers, she can be tough and destructive, but her wonders are sustenance for the soul.

Two years ago I went into a `mental meltdown` always a positive, happy and smiling gardener I withdrew from the world, walked out of a job I loved, shunned everybody, gave up on my garden and my allotment. I chose not to take medication, n was referred to a `depression group` which helped me to understand why meltdowns happen! I decided to go back to nature and basics.. I virtually lived in my greenhouse sowing anything and everything, replanted my small front and back garden, watched the birds, walked for miles and gradually started to smile again!  I have decided to put a sign up in my front garden offering my services as a gardener and perhaps try and sell some of the plants that I grew in my sowing phase...all I know is that if I hadn`t had my garden and greenhouse I`m pretty sure I would`nt be here to everyone out there in a `black phase` I`m sending you all a big hug xx go garden xx sit in a park n listen to the birds xx sow a few seeds in a pot and grow with them!  You`re never alone in a garden...xx 

Thank you all for sharing. I too struggle with the loneliness of depression, although people never guess, and my garden has always been a great place to find solace . 


I definitely find gardening is a mood enhancer.  If I have had a bad day in the office I feel so much better the moment I walk out into my garden.



I am a sociologist doing some research on different ways in which depression is experienced, treated and alleviated. I'm very interested in the link between gardening and wellbeing. Would anyone be willing to be interviewed for my research? The interviews would be done under conditions of anonymity, and I could supply an ethics form for us both to sign, stating that you wouldn't be identified by name.

If anyone is interested, please let me know.



For me, gardening is so very theraputic.  When life was bad, my garden was my sanctuary.  All the problems and worries I had seemed to evaporate and I gained strength to get through another day. I wish everyone could find this release.


Hi lezdennis, I fully understand what you are talking about having come through maybe something similar to yourself. Gardening, which I only took up about five years ago has helped me so much. It has revealed a part of me that I never new existed. I feel I have grown and healed so much and it has been and continues to be a beautiful journey, and an ongoing healing for me. There is nothing like being in a garden, I just I love it all. It has opened up a whole new way of life to me.

I had to have quite a few emergency operations 3 years ago which resulted in me then having panic attacks and phobias. I couldn't go to work or leave the house for fear of having a panic attack. I gave medication a try as I was at my wits end but they made me feel worse and I was then referred to have Cognitive Behaviour Therapy which was fantastic. The panic attacks started to ruin my life, I couldn't work, go out or perform on the stage which was another hobby of mine. The one thing that kept me going was gardening. We had an allotment so I would spend alot of time there in the peace and quiet with the birds. I now live in France with my partner and best friends running a self-catering, camping and B & B business in which there is a huge garden and vegetable plot. Since moving I have only had a few panic attacks and spend pretty much all of my time outdoors enjoying rural life. Sowing seeds, digging and nurturing what you have sown gives me so much pleasure. I have bird feeders all over the garden and even hanging from the hanging tiles outside the window!! I can't tell you how much better I feel being able to enjoy nature. I still have blips but not as bad. It's good to know that I am not alone and it's great to be able to share experiences.  Keep gardening!!

Ah.....that's lovely garden girl.