Gardening for mental health is a big topic these days, I can hardly turn on the gardening tv shows without this being featured. As the summer is approaching, getting out and about in the garden, balcony, outside space or even the local green park is a must do for the mind. This therapeutic pastime is not a new occurrence because even in ancient Egypt royal physicians prescribed “a spell in the palace gardens for those troubled of mind” and in 1856 Dorset County Asylum wrote that “male patients shall be employed in gardening and husbandry… to promote cheerfulness and happiness.” Now we can't all avail of a palace garden but there is lots going on in public gardens everywhere. Bloom Festival is on this week http://bloominthepark.com/ with tickets still available to visit all the show gardens and hoticulture exhibits and the Botanic Gardens in Dublin have an array of events on over the summer http://www.botanicgardens.ie/news/events.htm.
Gardening yourself is proven to lower stress levels, even more so than reading. An experiment in the Journal of Health Psychology compared gardening to reading as a stress-relieving activity and found test subjects that gardened experienced a more significant decrease in stress when compared to the subjects that were assigned to read.