This year’s week long-celebration will explore the ways in which gardens can help people keep fit
April is an inspirational time to visit beautiful gardens, as they come alive again with the scents and colour of spring-flowering bulbs and trees bursting with blossom. It is also the perfect time for National Gardening Week, which runs from 11 – 17 April 2016 and celebrates all that is wonderful, inspiring and uplifting about gardens – including how they help us to keep fit.
The 2016 theme, ‘Get Fit in the Garden’, will see gardens exploring the many ways in which they enhance our wellbeing. During National Gardening Week, the four RHS Gardens will be running activities which show the benefits of keeping active in the nurturing surroundings of a garden. Other gardens, cultural organisations, museums, heritage sites, charities and businesses are being invited to host events and activities which celebrate how gardens contribute to our physical and mental fitness.
Bunny Guinness, landscape architect, journalist and author of the book Garden Your Way to Health and Fitness, will be supporting National Gardening Week this year.
She says: ‘The wonderful thing about gardening is that unlike repetitive exercises at the gym, it can provide all over-body fitness – raking, weeding, digging and other gardening tasks all use different muscles and tests your body in different ways. National Gardening Week will highlight how enjoyable it is to keep fit in your garden, and how it can bring tangible benefits to health.’
Activities planned at the four RHS Gardens – RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey, RHS Garden Hyde Hall in Essex, RHS Garden Rosemoor in North Devon and RHS Garden Harlow Carr in North Yorkshire – will include ‘meet the gardeners’ sessions looking at the aspects of their roles that keep gardeners and horticulturalists healthy and happy, and Tai-Chi classes. The RHS will also be revealing fascinating facts and tips on ways to keep fit, and the four gardens will be open for free on Friday 15 April.
The aim of National Gardening Week is to raise awareness of the diversity, richness and cultural value of the UK’s gardens and encourage new visitors to experience and value them. The four RHS Gardens will be leading the campaign, with other gardens across the UK encouraged to take part. In 2015 hundreds of events were held during the week at gardens, museums, community groups and parks across the UK.
Matthew Pottage, Curator at RHS Garden Wisley, said: “At our RHS Gardens we will be looking at ways to show how everyday activities such as digging, raking and hoeing can keep you fit. We are planning a raft of activities and we hope that other gardens across the country will join Get Fit in the Garden too.”
Gardens can register at www.nationalgardeningweek.org.uk to be part of National Gardening Week, and visitors are encouraged to check for details of events closer to the time.