David Domoney highlights mental health benefits of houseplants at Chelsea Flower Show and scoops gold
SANE Champion David Domoney has created an award-winning exhibit at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show highlighting the mental and physical benefits of plants. The celebrity gardener and co-host of TV’s Love Your Garden is delighted at the response to winning gold at the prestigious event.
David said: “This year, my exhibit raises awareness of the physical and mental benefits of indoor gardening. The aim is to share the joy that houseplants can bring to our lives. So, I’m over the moon to have been awarded a Gold Medal, as well as winning Best Discovery Exhibit.”
David has been a valued SANE Champion since 2018, sharing his passion for advocating the strong link with horticulture, nature and good mental health. By lending his time and energy he helps to publicise SANE’s services, back our campaigns such as #InMyShoes, which help to support our continued growth and success, while all the time highlighting the power of plants for better wellbeing.
“I truly believe that introducing houseplants to your home can improve your life. Engaging with nature benefits us psychologically, sociologically, and physiologically. With a huge range to choose from, there is undoubtedly one that will suit your space. Whether you’re a budding enthusiast or a keen, green-fingered gardener, there are houseplants that will bring you joy for years to come.”
“This year the show took place in September for the first time, rather than its usual slot in spring. With this change has come challenges of different plants being in season. Therefore, exhibitors had the chance to showcase a whole host of new flowers and foliage. This year there is a real autumnal feeling at the show, with exhibitors embracing and adapting to the change to appeal to the judges.”
“Based on my book, My Houseplant Changed My Life, the exhibit showcases 50 of the most popular indoors plants for UK homes. The display highlights the different purposes of houseplants within our homes. For example, giving visual therapy, engaging children, improving air quality, sparking creativity and making us happy. After lots of planning, building, and planting, the stand brought to life the importance of houseplants. It’s packed with information on how they have positive impacts on our own lives. As well, there are practical tips on how to bring the goodness of indoor gardening to your home. I hope the exhibit continues to inspire and show the joy of houseplants for the rest of the week at Chelsea, and beyond.”
The President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists said doctors should be prescribing house plants, gardening and exercise alongside conventional forms of treatment aimed at tackling Britain’s mental health crisis. Dr Adrian James says he believes GPs will increasingly turn to so-called “social prescribing” alongside talking therapy and medication – and in some cases are already doing so – as a sustainable way of treating mental and physical well-being.
His intervention at the flower show, where he is supporting David, raises the possibility one day of patients being given packets of seeds, trowels and potting compost on the orders of a GP. Lockdown has seen a boom in houseplants, especially among flat-dwelling millennials who have driven demand, creating the concept of “plant parenthood” and “green space sharing” as an alternative to having pets, children or a partner, in recent years.
Dr James said: “I don’t think we can replace conventional forms of treatment but so-called social prescribing of this kind is about engaging with something purposeful, perhaps nurturing a living thing and giving your own life some meaning. There is lots of research that links plants with mental and physical well-being. We know people actively involved in gardening, whether outdoors or inside with houseplants, enjoy chemical benefits in their bodies, such as the production of cortisol which is important in regulating how you’re feeling and improving your mood.”
“Evidence shows that if mental health patients are engaged in exercise, gardening, even simply getting outdoors, it improves health and self-esteem and contributes to all the factors we know reduce the chance of relapse. We literally need to grow the evidence for this but we know tending plants is a really worthwhile and purposeful activity that contributes to mental wellbeing, as David Domoney’s Chelsea 2021 exhibit shows. Alongside other treatments, it can be a really important adjunct to patients recovering from mental illness.”
Find out more about David and his work at www.daviddomoney.com
Read David’s SANE article on 5 ways to feel good in the garden