Miracle-Gro garden overview: “Come To Your Senses” Eco-Therapy Garden
In 2017, young people are experiencing mental health issues on a shocking scale. Three children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health problem, yet only 1-in-4 of those children are currently receiving support.
Pressures of today’s society, as well as increased use of technology and the internet, contribute to children and young people experiencing issues such as anxiety, low mood, depression, conduct disorders and eating disorders.
In contrast to this, the positive effects of ‘green space’ on mental health have been acknowledged. ‘Eco-therapy’ has become increasingly popular for young and old, with research finding that those spending time outside or among nature experience decreased levels of depression, feeling less fatigued and more invigorated, among other benefits.
Designed by Vicky Page, Miracle-Gro’s Consumer Relations Manager, this year’s garden seeks to raise awareness of the high levels of mental health issues facing today’s young people, and how spending time outdoors can work to combat this.
Miracle-Gro’wers Academy - In line with our mission, Miracle-Gro has worked with over 500 schools across the UK for the last seven years, encouraging children to get their hands dirty and have a go at gardening. Miracle-Gro set up the Miracle-Gro’wers Academy to support teachers, enriching their curriculum with simple scientific experiments which demonstrate the benefits of using Miracle-Gro compost and plant food. This year we have created experiments that are linked to our garden, focusing on the senses. From our work with the schools, we have noticed that many are now using gardening as a therapy for children that are having mental health or behavioural issues in schools.
In previous years, many pupils have attended the Chelsea Flower Show to talk to visitors about their experiences and enthusiasm. This year, several of the young Miracle-Gro’wers will be present at our garden during the show.
Young Minds - Supporting our campaign with research statistics and first-hand experience, this organisation is the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. Young Minds is also a member charity of Heads Together, the mental health awareness campaign spearheaded by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. A spokesperson from Young Minds will also be available during the show.
HighGround - Demonstrating eco-therapy in action and the tangible benefits of horticulture on mental health, the Miracle-Gro garden will be planted with support from HighGround. The charity provides Horticultural Therapy to injured serving personnel who are patients of the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre in Surrey, and planting the garden at Chelsea will form part of their therapy programme.
The Miracle-Gro garden is located in the Discovery Area at the Chelsea Flower Show (Stand number GPH240), and is one of the few gardens that visitors can walk through, rather than walk past.
To enter our garden, you must first pass through a small house in which visitors senses are exposed to the daily pressure and anxieties that most children face – constant interruptions from social media, phones ringing, noise from TV, voices shouting, exams and homework deadlines, daily peer pressure on often violent computer games, the smells associated with the evening meal and dealing with siblings and parents. On entering the garden on the other side, the instant feeling of relief and calming effect of a green space will be overpowering.
Exploring each of the 5 main senses, the garden leads you through areas designed to stimulate sight, smell, sounds, touch as taste, causing visitors to connect and appreciate the values of nature. The contrast from the stressful indoor environment to calming green space will demonstrate the benefits of green space and illustrate the need for children to spend time away from technology and life’s pressures to slow down and find peace.
Local Artist – Christine Charlesworth will have 5 sculptures on display in the garden, these are life-size bronze sculptures of children, helping bring the garden and its message to life.
Following the show, elements of the garden such as the oak tree, fairy houses, plants, compost and fencing will be donated by Miracle-Gro to Acorns Children’s Hospice. Acorns is a charity providing care to children with life-limiting and life threatening conditions and support for their families. The elements will be used by Acorns to create a relaxing and multi-sensory space for families to enjoy within the hospice gardens.
Working with a highly experienced PR team, we will be promoting the Miracle-Gro “Come To Your Senses” Eco-Therapy Garden, highlighting its messages around mental health issues in young people and the positive effects of green space on mental wellbeing.
We expect strong press coverage in National, trade and consumer media, spanning TV, radio, print and online platforms, which will highlight the Miracle-Gro garden, as well as The RHS and Chelsea Flower Show.