Plants might not seem like front-line weapons in our fight to stay healthy, but as our contributors to this week's programme show, green is good for everything from coronavirus to PTSD.
Kirsty Ward tells the story of how she used an allotment to help her rebuild her mental health after being diagnosed with PTSD following a traumatic childbirth experience. Nurse Kate Tantam (who cared for the 84-year-old explorer we featured in last week's show as he was recovering from Covid-19) explains how and why hospital gardens are so good for patients. Plus RHS Young Ambassador George Hassall shares his love of the Acer (Japanese maple).
Useful links: ►@my_little_allotment (Kirsty Ward on Instagram)►@TantamKate (Kate Tantam on Twitter) ►Gardening for wellbeing ►Virtual Chelsea ► ►George Hassall RHS Ambassador ►Discover acers ►Search RHS gardening advice
Show Manager Katherine Potsides takes us on a tour of this year's virtual version of the 'Greatest Flower Show on Earth'. Featuring biophilic design from Studio Roco, who give houseplant tips and talk us through their inspiration from artist, film-maker and activist Derek Jarman's renowned seaside garden in Kent. Meanwhile, Fiona Davison, RHS Head of Libraries, explores the show's history and origins, including a look at how the gardens have changed over time.
Award-winning designer Tom Massey tells the tale of how unused Chelsea plants have brought joy from tragedy. After the show's cancellation was announced, they were planted in a hospital garden – with transformative results. One patient in particular felt the benefit: seeing this new garden literally gave Robin Hanbury-Tenison (an 84 year-old famous explorer) a new lease of life after his long battle with Covid-19.
Useful links: ►Virtual Chelsea ►Gardening for health and wellbeing
This week Chelsea designer Jilayne Rickards and agricultural entrepreneur Beauty Gombana share the stories behind Jilayne's Zimbabwean-themed garden 'Giving Girls a Space to Grow', created for female education charity CAMFED. The advice team answers listeners' questions on subjects including taking cuttings, growing rubber plants and how to improve soil without buying compost. Plus designer Sarah Eberle's ode to the hawthorn tree.
Useful links: ►'Giving Girls a Space to Grow' Chelsea garden ►The story behind the garden ►CAMFED ►Garden inspiration: How to pick the right houseplant for you ►RHS advice: Choosing houseplants ►Penstemons ►How to propagate plants (including cuttings) ►Hawthorns
Lots of us are drawing on creative pastimes as a way of getting through the current situation. This week we speak to artist, scientist, author and Deputy Director of the Oxford Botanic Garden, Dr Chris Thorogood. Chris shares his fascination with weird and wonderful plants and offers some expert tips on how to paint and draw them. Fiona Davison explores the history of botanical art at one of the world's biggest collections of plant paintings, the RHS Lindley Library.
Young RHS Ambassador George Hassall is also a fan of plants that bite back, and he tells us about his passion for the gruesomely beautiful pitcher plants, Nepenthes. And finally... our resident allotment guru Guy Barter talks to gardening advisor Leigh Hunt about cunning ways to beat seed shortages and grow your own at home.
Useful links: ►Chris Thorogood ►George Hassall (RHS Young Ambassador) ►RHS Lindley Libraries on Twitter ►Lockdown veg growing ►Grow your own ► Find plant suppliers (includes mail order)
As we approach International Dawn Chorus Day this Sunday (3rd May), we've decided to dedicate an entire episode of the podcast to our feathered friends. We meet the RSPB's Adrian Thomas, who orchestrated a top 40-charting single composed entirely of birdsong; RHS wildlife guru Helen Bostock offers advice on how to make your garden bird-friendly, and Dr John Grimshaw of The Yorkshire Arboretum shares his love of peafowl. Plus an unforgettable rook impression from RHS Chief Horticulturist Guy Barter.
Useful links: ►How to make your garden bird-friendly ►Dawn Chorus Day
Enjoyed what you've heard? Why not check out The Garden Podcast - a peek behind the scenes at The Garden magazine with exclusive interviews, gardening advice and more.