As a fan of social prescribing I have to agree with Monty Don. I think the therapeutic impact of rural England has a lot to offer to our health and well-being.

Gardening can do what medicine “tries to mimic” for mental heath, Monty Don has said as he spoke about his own struggles with depression.

The presenter and horticulturist has said that gardening is only just being explored as a treatment for mental health issues.

He said in his column for Gardeners’ World magazine:  “That first snowdrop, the flowering of the rose you pruned, a lettuce you grew from seed, the robin singing just for you. These are small things but all positive, all healing in a way that medicine tries to mimic.”

Mr Don has spoken frequently and publicly about his depression, and cited the natural world – and his dog – as great helps.

However, he has now spoken of his excitement for the future of research into gardening as treatment.

He added: “We know that gardening is good for you. It is fantastic, all-round exercise. That is easy to see and evaluate. It inculcates high levels of well-being. That is undeniable and needs little measurement. We know that it is extremely effective in alleviating and preventing mental illness. But, and this is quite a big ‘but’, almost all the evidence of gardening being an effective treatment or preventative of mental illness is empirical.

“We know too little about how it does this, why it does it and how much it does it. However, the exciting news is that serious money and serious people are now taking this empirical evidence very seriously indeed and it’s being researched in the way pharmaceutical or other conventional treatments are researched. This will cost many millions of pounds and take many years.”

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