Health and Horticulture Conference 2016

The Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable held a conference in July 2016 to promote health and wellbeing – listen to audio recordings of the main speakers' sessions

In 2015 the horticulture industry came together to agree the Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable (OHRT) Action Plan; a document with 12 'asks' to secure a vibrant and viable future for the horticulture industry for the next five years. As part of this the ‘Health & Horticulture Forum’ was established as a working group with horticultural and healthcare organisations represented.

The Ornamental Roundtable Health & Horticulture conference brought together 150 key stakeholders from public health, science, and horticulture with policy makers from the government for the first time on 4 July 2016. Conference attendees drafted a Health & Horticulture Charter Framework that aims to incorporate horticulture into everyone’s life. The Charter has a set of actions to be undertaken by the Health & Horticulture Forum to support horticulture based interventions, to demonstrate and evidence the health, well-being, and economic benefits of embedding the horticulture-health connection into decision-making at all levels.

The most pressing challenge is to ensure that the NHS and commissioners recognise that horticultural design and exposure to green infrastructure can reduce health inequalities and provide a cost-effective solution over the long term. As a result, a conference hosted by the Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group took place at the 2016 RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show to an audience of 150 invited specialists from the health, voluntary, horticultural, gardening and policy sectors. Slideshows and mp3 recordings from the sessions are available below.


1) Introduction and Strategic & academic evidence: health, wellbeing & horticulture

■ Lord Crisp (former CEO of the National Health Service) Health and Horticulture: Building a health-creating society.
■ Dr William Bird (GP and Intelligent Health) Horticulture, Health and Wellbeing: a GP’s perspective.
■ Dr Justin Varney (Public Health England) How Horticulture and PHE can work together.
■ Dr Agnes van den Berg (Environmental Psychologist) An International Perspective: Greenspace and Health.
■ Dr Ross Cameron (University of Sheffield) Gardening: Value in Terms of Health and Wellbeing.
■ Questions.

Listen to Session 1:



2) Designed gardens and landscapes for health and wellbeing

■ Val Kirby: Designing Landscapes for Health & Wellbeing.
■ Julia Thrift: Planning, Green Infrastructure and Health & Wellbeing.
■ Chris Beardshaw: Designing Gardens for Health & Wellbeing.
■ Questions.

Listen to Session 2:


3) Designed horticultural activities for health and wellbeing

■ Gavin Atkins (Mind) Improving Health and Wellbeing – Mental Health Overview.
■ Kathryn Rossiter (Thrive) Social and Therapeutic Horticulture.
■ Dr Margi Lennartsson (Garden Organic) Growing Health.
■ Questions.

Listen to Session 3


4) Economic and social ROI of horticulture on health and wellbeing

■ Dr Kieron J. Doick (Land Regeneration and Urban Greenspace Research Group, Forest Research) iTree – Economic and Social ROI Health and Wellbeing.
■ Craig Lister (Managing Director, Green Gym) The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) – Impact and Social Return on Investment.
■ David Buck (The King’s Fund) Financial overview.
■ Keith Oliver Gardening and living with dementia
■ Questions.

Listen to Session 4:


5) The Charter for Health and Horticulture and next steps

■ Dr Alistair Griffiths (RHS Director of Science and Collections) The Health & Horticulture Charter; (150 delegates in 10 groups of 15).
■ Sue Biggs (RHS Director General) closes the conference.

Listen to Session 5


Useful links

See also

Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable

Health and Horticulture: Charter Framework

Listen to RHS John MacLeod lectures

Find out about our Health, Happiness and Horticulture theme at this year's Chelsea Flower Show


With your support, we can undertake valuable research into gardening pests and diseases.

Join the RHS

Get involved

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.