Posts

Beyond Bedlam, rethinking care for the mad

Posted: 5th Oct 2016

James Tilly Matthews, architectural plans and explanatory notes for Bethlem Royal Hospital, 1810-11   In a radical exhibition, an arching history of the treatment of the mad at Bethlem Royal Hospital, also known as Bedlam, forces us to review how future treatment should be.  Within this the Madlove project, led by people with mental illness, Read more…

Wellcome the blast of exploration

Posted: 22nd Aug 2016

As the ‘‘Taking a turn’: mental health history of hospital gardens’ project is coming to a close, we collaborators take stock.  From the Chelsea Fringe festival to 2000 school children from 22 schools, the project has given life to discussion, reflection and creative output across nearly 20 months of activity. Personal highlights have included the Read more…

Painters of gardening therapy

Posted: 13th Apr 2016

  On closer reading, some of the painters at the Royal Academy’s current exhibition ‘Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse’ reveal a love of gardening for therapeutic purposes:   Claude Monet is quoted with ‘Gardening was something I learned in my youth when I was unhappy.  I perhaps owe it to flowers that I Read more…

Winter rest

Posted: 10th Dec 2015

  The Winter season is now with us, so we must rest. The gardening tasks have dwindled to a saunter into the bare bones of a slumbering space. Enjoy the exposed garden structure, it reveals a lot about the garden beyond the froth of Summer. Walk. Breathe in crisp air. It is timely to reflect Read more…

The strange new thing: defining gardening therapy

Posted: 9th Oct 2015

  “At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done – then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago”. The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett Read more…

Busyness and the garden

Posted: 22nd Sep 2015

  ‘Its time to garden when there’s not enough time for anything.’ The contemporary ill of busyness leaves little space for what is essential. It becomes increasingly challenging to sustain values such as curiosity and creativity, and by consequence, a fulfilling life. When there’s no time to garden, and the thought creates a sense of Read more…

Chop ‘n’ sniff

Posted: 9th Sep 2015

  To mindfully consume the scents of herbs is a perfumer’s art. Step into those shoes by dabbing some herbal essential oils onto a cloth and inhale immediately, then a few minutes later once the first hit of top notes evaporate, when the deeper pungent base notes reveal themselves. This is an unmistakeable mindful moment. Read more…

Transforming newness nerves

Posted: 13th Jul 2015

  What is remarkable is how quickly nerves dissipate in a new group when gardening. Warm introductions help everyone settle, whether gardeners know each other or not. It sets a tenderness and eagerness to get to know one another in a new setting. There are as many ways to make an event of introductions as Read more…

Chelsea Fringe 2015 sneek peek

Posted: 7th May 2015

Hooray!  Our garden installation is nearly ready:  the plaster cast walls are being dabbed with final touches of plaster, our plants are bulking up nicely, the surprise ornaments are shouting to get out of their packaging, and the printers have run off the hospital signs.  It has been a labour of love over the last Read more…

Taking a Turn: mental health history of hospital gardens

Posted: 23rd Apr 2015

  Our garden installation for ‘Taking a Turn’: mental health history of hospital gardens will be open to the public from 18 May – 5 June 2015 at Exchange Square, London EC2. The garden explores the archives of mental health hospital gardens with contemporary voices from patients at Bethlem Royal Hospital on the original site Read more…