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On ‘Virtual Chelsea’ RHS Members Day, RHS Announces Appreciation of Gardens doubled during lockdown and 7 out of ten say their outside space has helped their mental health

  •  One Poll Survey, commissioned by the RHS, to 2000 respondents across the UK shows that following lockdown 57% of respondents now value their garden more than previously*
  • 71% of respondents who have an outdoor space felt that having a garden/outdoor space has helped their mental health during lockdown
  • Weeding, mowing and watering are the gardening activities that are currently having a positive impact on well-being during lockdown, closely followed by planting and potting

On the first ‘Virtual Chelsea’, RHS Members Day in the history of the world’s most famous gardening event, the RHS is sharing new research that shows nearly 6 in 10 people (57%) now value their gardens more than previously; with over half (51%) saying they will value their garden more after lockdown.
 
A One Poll Survey to 2000 respondents across the UK commissioned by the UK’s Gardening Charity also found that seven in ten people (71%), who have outside space, say that having a garden, courtyard or balcony has helped their mental health during lockdown.  Some 60% of respondents felt that having some outdoor space has helped their physical health during recent times.
 
Even the smallest gardens have been helping with people’s mental health, with some 59% of people with 10 sq meters or less of outdoor space saying it helped their mental health.
 
People with outside space are almost twice more likely to feel very satisfied with life currently compared to those with no outdoor space**, those with an outdoor garden, balcony or courtyard were also twice as likely to feel they do things that are worthwhile all the time.***
 
Monty Don said: "I have written and spoken many times of my own battles with depression and over the years have been much helped by medication, therapy, sun lamps, yoga and, not least, by an astonishingly supportive and long-suffering family. But none of this works without the balm of touching ground, of being nourished by the earth. We garden to nurture our little corner of nature but just as importantly, to nourish our souls and more and more people are tapping into its healing power.
 
“Plant a seed that becomes a beautiful flower and your life is immeasurably enriched. Simply sit in a garden and listen to the birds and the world is set in a perspective that is empowering. Gardens are fun and beautiful and rewarding - but much more than that, gardens are desperately important and we need them now more than ever for our physical and mental well-being.”
 
Whilst any size of outside space has been helping people’s mental health, bigger spaces have had a bigger impact on how happy people feel with 26% of people with 100 sq metres or less of outside space saying they were not very happy or not happy at all, compared to 20% of people with 101 sq metres or more.  Some 67% of people who have no outside space are more likely to want it when they next move house.
 
Sue Biggs, RHS Director General, says:  “Following lockdown one of the biggest concerns in the UK is going to be people’s mental health.   With our research showing that 70% of people feel their gardens have helped their mental health during this time, the RHS is urging developers, local planners and the Government to value gardens as much as the public do. 
 
“Houses are getting larger, but this must not be to the detriment of gardens and outside space.  The Government’s target to build 300,000 homes should now stipulate that they must have either gardens - private or communal - or a balcony.  This new research shows that any outside space is a valued resource for our mental and physical health. Now, more than ever, we know we need more outside space at home. The Government has a huge opportunity to make a positive difference to the long-term mental and physical health of our nation.”
Weeding (40%), mowing (39%) and watering (38%) are the gardening activities that people said were currently having a positive impact on well-being during lockdown, closely followed by planting and potting (36%).
 
The top plants that people said have had the biggest positive impact on their well-being during lockdown are Daffodils (27%), Trees (27%) and Spring Flowering Bulbs (24%), closely followed by shrubs (21%) and roses (19%).
 
It’s not just outside plants that have been helping people with over a third (34%) of those with houseplants saying that they value them more now during this time of lockdown.

Notes to editors

* One Poll Survey to 2,000 people across the UK.  
Demographic:  UK Adults (nationally representative)
 
Note - Categories of respondents’ outdoor spaces were the following: a) an outdoor garden, b) a balcony or courtyard but no garden, c) no outdoor space at all. Referring to outdoor spaces in general includes gardens, balconies, and courtyards.

 
  • 71% of respondents who have an outdoor space (1338) felt that having a garden/outdoor space has helped their mental health during lockdown (71.40% [1338])
  • 60% of respondents felt that having a garden/outdoor space has helped their physical health during lockdown (60.46% [1133]) 
  • People are almost twice more likely to feel very satisfied with life currently compared to those with no outdoor garden
    • Almost double (15.89%) the number of people WITH AN OUTDOOR GARDEN feel very satisfied with life currently compared to those with  no outdoor space at all (8.73%)
  • People’s mental health is helped more the bigger outside space they have.
    • 58.89% of people with 10sq meters or less felt a garden/outdoor space has helped their mental health during lockdown, compared to 72.47% with 11 – 50 sq metres, jumping to 79.27% with 301sq meters and more
- Over a third (33.91%) of those with houseplants saying that they value them more now during this time of lockdown
-83% of respondents agreed at least one of the given specific garden activities had a positive impact on their well-being. Weeding is the top gardening activity overall having a positive impact on wellbeing.
-66.67% of people who have no outside space are more likely to want it when they next move house.
 
Gardening activities that are currently having a positive impact on well-being during lockdown:
Weeding 39.60%
Mowing the lawn 39.00%
Watering 38.11%
Planting and potting 35.59%
Cutting back and trimming 35.51%
Sowing seeds 28.75%
Pruning 25.04%
Deadheading 22.14%
Digging 16.42%
Planning and designing the garden 15.23%
Pest control 6.54%
  •  
 
  • 65% said any of the given specific garden plants had a positive impact on their well-being during lockdown (65.05%, 1301).
 
 
Plants that are currently having a positive impact on well-being during lockdown:
 
1 Daffodils 26.85%
2 Trees 26.60%
3 Spring flowering bulbs 23.85%
4 Shrubs 21.30%
5 Roses 18.80%
6 Tulips 18.55%
7 Lavender 15.25%
8 Pansies 12.70%
9 Daisies 11.45%
10 Magnolias 9.20%
 
 
** People with outside space are almost twice more likely to feel very satisfied with life currently compared to those with no outdoor space
  • Almost double (15.89%) the number of people WITH AN OUTDOOR GARDEN feel very satisfied with life currently compared to those with  no outdoor space at all (8.73%)
  • Almost double (14.92%) of people With A Courtyard Or Balcony feel very satisfied with life currently compared to those with no outdoor space (8.73%)
  • So……  Almost double (15.41%) of people with outside space (GARDEN OR COURTYARD OR BALCONY) feel very satisfied with life currently compared to those with no outside space at all
 
 
**Those with an outdoor garden, balcony or courtyard were twice as likely to feel they do things that are worthwhile all the time..***
  • Outdoor garden 21.68% felt they did something worthwhile all the time
  • Balcony or courtyard 20.44% felt they did something worthwhile all the time
  • 10.32% no outdoor space at all felt they did something worthwhile
 
  • 73% of people with 100 sq metres of outside space or less said they were very happy or somewhat happy
  • 80% of people with 101 sq metres of outside space or more said they were very happy or somewhat happy
 
  • 26% of people with 100 sq metres or less of outside space said they were not very happy or not happy at all
  • 18% of people with 101 sq metres or more said they were not very happy or not happy at all
About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society, the world’s leading gardening charity, was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood. Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place. This aspiration underpins all that we do, from inspirational gardens and shows, through our scientific research, to our education and community programmes such as Campaign for School Gardening and Britain in Bloom. We produce key publications, hold a world-class collection of horticultural books and botanical art, and sell the very best plants and gardening gifts.
 
The RHS is fundraising £40m to transform our gardens, outreach and education facilities, which includes redeveloping our flagship RHS Garden Wisley and opening a new garden, RHS Garden Bridgewater, in 2021. We are solely funded by our members, visitors and supporters. For more information visit www.rhs.org.uk.
RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.