RHS Forest Bathing Garden

Feature Garden

The RHS Forest Bathing Garden draws on a practice that involves spending time under the canopy of trees surrounded by nature for improved health and wellbeing.

Forest bathing often takes place with a guide and focuses on exploring the natural environment using the senses (sight, sound, touch and smell) to create mindfulness awareness. Forest bathing exercises can include noticing colours, patterns and distance, listening to sounds, touching bark and leaves to appreciate textures and smelling leaf litters and mosses. Some exercises are carried out while walking and others while seated. The garden has been designed with these exercises in mind and sound and lighting are included together with leaf litter and mosses at ground level to contribute towards a forest aroma.

A canopy of Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’ (hornbeam) and Betula pendula (silver birch) trees creates dappled shade while banks of soil to the front and rear of the garden provide a sense of enclosure, shielding visitors as they walk through and explore the garden. The textural planting includes contrasting leaf shapes, colours and patterns. It is inspired by natural woodlands but with a Japanese influence to ground it in the country where forest bathing is primarily practised, such as Pachysandra terminalis, Hakonechloa macra, Kirengeshoma palmata and Hosta sieboldii.

Thanks to the following companies for their support: Majestic Trees, Practicality Brown, CED and Dalefoot Compost.

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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.