Founded in 1927 by the Queen’s Nursing Institute to raise funds for community nursing means that gardens, health and community are at the heart of what we do at the National Garden Scheme. Every ticket bought, every garden visited, and every cake and cup of tea savoured translates into millions of pounds in donations not only to some of the UK’s best loved nursing and health charities but to garden charities and community projects too.

Scientific studies have shown that spending time in a garden can reduce blood pressure and the stress-related hormone cortisol.

Even during the winter months walking around your garden can give you a sense of peace and, as Spring approaches, the first sight of developing buds and bulbs can fill you with anticipation and joy. Gardens provide the perfect space for a break from the stresses of everyday life. Trees, plants, bird song and water are easy on the senses and can bring stress levels down.

Gardens enable you to become more active. Being more active is associated with better physical and mental health, including reduced risks of cancer, heart disease and depression.

Gardens can also provide opportunities for socialising and building relationships with neighbours and opening your garden for the National Garden Scheme for a couple of days a year is a great way to show off all your hard work and make a whole host of new friends.

Of course, not everyone has a garden. However, visiting someone else’s garden can also provide all the above benefits. A garden visit can lift your spirits and help you feel connected. Volunteering at an allotment or community garden such as The Hidden Garden in Selsey, which has recently received a NGS Award, can equally provide that sense of wellbeing and worth.

In 2023 you will be able to find links to all the NGS gardens opening in West Sussex on the Vantagepoint Website, starting with Snowdrop Gardens in January. Some local gardens will also be featured in VantagePoint Magazine.

For more information on the National Garden Scheme and further information on the benefits of gardening for health and wellbeing go to the National Garden Scheme website You can also pick up a free copy of the Sussex National Garden Scheme Booklet from many local outlets from February.

Kate Harrison West Sussex National Garden Scheme Publicity Officer

Image: Highdown Gardens Worthing