by Emma Willmott
One of the activities run by Mind in Croydon’s ‘Active Minds’ service is horticulture groups for those who have a green thumb and enjoy being outdoors.
The horticulture groups are an opportunity to learn gardening skills, grow fruit and vegetables and meet new people with the shared interest of horticulture.
As a volunteer for Mind in Croydon, I went along to help at the South Croydon allotment; weeding and watering, growing and gardening, pruning and tidying. I was surprised at the number and variety of plants, fruit and veg being grown at the allotment; from plums, apples and grapes to sweet peas, rhubarb, runner beans, French beans, broad beans and potatoes – to name just a few!
The horticultural members were extremely dedicated and knowledgeable about all the different things growing at the allotment, as well as being passionate about maintaining a fruitful allotment and enjoying working outdoors. Working in the outdoors has a proven uplifting effect on your mood (especially when the sun is shining!) I can certainly say I enjoyed the fresh air which made a nice change from working at a desk in an office. What’s more, I gained a sense of satisfaction from removing unwanted weeds (which is also surprisingly therapeutic!)
Working in the allotment can act as a stepping stone to work, through building confidence and experience, or simply a way to start a hobby or nurture an existing interest in gardening or horticulture. However, undoubtedly the best part about the horticulture group is reaping the rewards of all the hard work and effort being put into the allotment by harvesting (and most importantly eating!) what has been grown – and enjoying a cup of tea at the end to refuel energy.
To find out more about horticultural groups or other activities offered by the Active Minds service, visit our website http://www.mindincroydon.org.uk/active-minds.asp or call 0208 253 8205/6