A book about how the garden is a vital place of escape for the brain, and how it helps us shape our minds through action as well as thought. Gardening is one of the quintessential nurturing activities. For many people, apart from having children and raising a family, the process of creating or tending a plot is one of the most significant things in their lives. With the natural rituals of growth, decay and regeneration, safety and enclosure, destruction and renewal, it is as if – alongside the physical activity – we are also gardening our minds. And yet we understand so little about it. ‘The Well-Gardened Mind’ investigates how an immersion in gardening can affect our inner worlds, both consciously and unconsciously, and how it can help us to find or re-find our place in the world. As current horticultural projects that work with general mental health problems as well as specific ones, such as addiction, refugees and PTSD demonstrate, the garden is intrinsically linked to our capacity for self-reflection and creative thinking. Combining contemporary neuroscience and psychoanalysis with compelling real life stories, prominent psychiatric psychotherapist Sue Stuart-Smith shows how many of the physical and mental processes involved in gardening are ones that are recognised as facilitating neural change.
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER 'Must be the most original gardening book ever' SUNDAY TIMES 'Fascinating ... Extends the awareness - backed up by compendious and elegant research - of how mentally enriching it is to swap screen for green ... [She] renders a very special service with this book' OBSERVER 'Stuart-Smith's beautifully written book is filled with insights into the joys but also the therapeutic benefits that tending plants can offer ...This is a life-affirming study of the pleasures of growing things' GUARDIAN 'Combines observation, horticulture, literature and history ... it is a book that builds, chapter by chapter ... As a reference and an inspiration ... There is much here to feed the soul' THE TIMES 'An impressive achievement ... this is an optimistic book' SPECTATOR 'A truly uplifting book on the power of gardening - and how it can change people's lives. It's a prevailing reminder that getting our hands in the soil and helping to grow plants and flowers makes all the difference to our minds and wellbeing' STYLIST 'A fascinating overlap between the still stumbling science of psychiatry and the ancient art of gardening' FINANCIAL TIMES 'The wisest book I've read for many years ... Much more than a gardening book, much more than a guide to better mental health, it is a wholly convincing story of how troubled minds might find a way of reconnecting to themselves and rebuilding confidence and hope by way of nature ... I've learned so much in the way of the history of psychiatry and psychology as well as practical tips for both mind and garden ... Hugely recommended' STEPHEN FRY 'A compelling and deeply moving account of how profoundly our wellbeing can be affected through contact with gardening and the natural world. This is a timely call of return. Read it.' EDMUND DE WAAL 'An important and timely book ... Beautifully written ... I urge everyone to read it' MONTY DON
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