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Urban gardeners can cut stress – even with no outdoor space

Gardening can slash stress levels and improve wellbeing, according to the Fulham Horticultural Society.

“Any space can be used to grow, however big or small,” explains Charles Dowson, show secretary of the Fulham Horticultural Society. “Experiencing the benefits of gardening is a very healthy activity both physically and mentally.”

It’s great news for H&F residents as micro-gardening on windowsills, in pots on balconies or patios, and even indoors can turn the tiniest of urban plots into a green oasis.

Tumbling tomatoes, herbs, and flowers including petunias and geraniums can all thrive in small spaces, meaning even beginner gardeners can transform their homes into a verdant paradise.

It’s official!

The experts agree. Earlier this month, the Royal Horticultural Society released research revealing those who garden every day have wellbeing scores 6.6 per cent higher and stress levels 4.2 per cent lower than people who don’t garden at all.

Surveying more than 6,000 people the research showed a significant association between gardening more frequently and improvements in wellbeing, perceived stress and physical activity.

As many of us are spending more time at home, giving patios, balconies, and windowsills a makeover is guaranteed to brighten even the dullest of views – and make us feel good too.

“There are certain plants that are suited for big and small containers,” says Charles.

“Tomatoes, basil and coriander grow well in small containers and hanging baskets as long as there is some sun. Also, nice flowers such as petunias, lobelia and geraniums grow very well in small containers.”

No outdoor space needed

For those who don’t have any outdoor space, it’s still possible to get growing plants that can give a room a new lease of life or add a flavour kick to meals.

“You can grow chillies and herbs in a light room inside and of course there are houseplants such as weeping fig and succulents that are designed to grow indoors,” adds Charles.

Communal spaces in apartment blocks can be greatly enhanced by a colourful display of flowers and plants, building a sense of creating a unique area for sharing with friends and family.

“Gardening has been seen to give joy and a sense of calm to communities and places to meet friends,” he points out.

Get your hands dirty

For those wanting to get their hands dirty in larger spaces, H&F has plenty of opportunities for residents to get green-fingered.

Local environmental charity the Hammersmith Community Gardens Association (HCGA) has gardening sessions running across Hammersmith’s Godolphin and Loris Gardens, the glasshouses in Ravenscourt Park, and Phoenix Farm in White City.

Vanessa Hodder, HCGA’s school and community gardener, said enthusiasm and a willingness to learn are most important, and that you ‘don’t need to have any experience’.

The charity also helps groups that need a hand with their green spaces, as well as offering corporate volunteering for companies wanting to reconnect colleagues after the pandemic.

“All sorts of groups, such as residents’ associations, come to ask for help with their gardens, that might have got out of hand or need clearing,” explains Vanessa.

“Volunteers of all ages might come for a couple of weeks to help out, with many 20-somethings joining recently while they are looking for work, or people might come longer term and find benefits for their mental and physical health.”

The HCGA even provides produce for local restaurant and charity supporter Sam’s Riverside, in Crisp Road, meaning diners could be enjoying the fruits of volunteers’ labours just hours after produce is picked.

To get involved visit the HCGA website or email

To find out more about Fulham Horticultural Society and tips for gardening in small spaces by visiting the FHS website.

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