In August, our partner charity The National Garden Scheme held its first ever ‘Gardens and Health’ week.

NGS supports a diverse group of nursing and caring charities, including the QNI, which together support a huge number of people with complex long term health conditions. The aim of the week was to bring small groups of service users from its beneficiary charities to visit local NGS gardens for a relaxing and interesting afternoon.

The idea for Gardens and Health week grew out of the research published by the King’s Fund in 2016 that brought together evidence of how gardening and garden visiting can improve physical and mental health.

The Queen’s Nursing Institute organised groups of Queen’s Nurses (including some retired nurses) to visit some of the participating gardens around the country. Below are just some of the things they said to us after their visits – which shows just how successful the visits were, both for the nurses and their hosts. The QNI would like to thank all those garden owners who took part for extending their hospitality to our Queen’s Nurses.

I am having such a lovely time visiting gardens in Wales as a representative of the QNI.
On Friday last week I visited a beautiful garden in Welshpool. The owners Heather and Mel Parkes made me extremely welcome... 1, Church Bank is proof that small gardens can be just as interesting and exciting as the bigger gardens I have visited this year and bring such joy to a day.

Jan Keauffling QN

I just wanted to let you know that myself and Jan Keauffling visited Treffgarne Hall garden on Friday 18 August as part of the Gardens for Health Week, and I have attached some photographs of our visit of Jan and myself with Jackie Batty, the garden owner and county organiser for the National Garden Scheme in Pembrokeshire.
Jan and I were delighted to have had the opportunity to visit the garden as representatives of the QNI as a beneficiary charity of the NGS. Both Jackie and Martin were keen to know more about our different roles as community nurses and also to know more about the QNI itself. Both Jackie, and her husband Martin, made us extremely welcome providing refreshments on our arrival, giving a guided tour of the garden, and inviting us to join them for lunch. It really was a lovely day.

Shirley Willis QN
Queen's Nurses visit a garden in Boscastle, CornwallQueen's Nurses visiting a garden in Cornwall

It was a beautiful garden and we were made to feel so welcome. It was a lovely opportunity for Queen's Nurses to meet up informally and include partners too. I think it had a real positive affect on all of us as we were able to truly relax - it would be really hard not too in such amazing surroundings. As nurses we particularly appreciate someone's total dedication and the role your partner plays in supporting that dedication too. Thank you so much for bringing it to my attention, I will certainly be making a return visit in the future.

Debbie Nash QN

Sue and I were delighted to host your group and were gratified that you spent nigh on three hours with us enjoying the garden, plant sales and tea and cakes. It was especially pleasing to have representatives from an NGS beneficiary charity visit us as it brought home how important our fund-raising efforts are in supporting such worthwhile causes. Also impressive was the interest and knowledge many of you had in gardening and plants and I wish you good fortune in opening your own garden again next year in London.

Roger and Sue Roberts, garden owners
East Midlands Queen's NursesEast Midlands QNs, garden owners Roger and Sue, friends and family at Wharfedale, Derbyshire

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