The garden is often seen as a refuge, a place to forget worldly cares, removed from the "real" life that lies outside. But when we get our hands in the earth we connect with the cycle of life in nature through which destruction and decay are followed by regrowth and renewal. Sue Stuart-Smith investigates the many ways in which mind and garden can interact and explores how the process of tending a plot can be a way of sustaining an innermost self.
"A compelling and deeply moving account of how profoundly our well-being can be affected through contact with gardening and the natural world. This is a timely call of return. Read it."
"The wisest book I've read in many years. You don't have to be a gardener or own a garden to take immense solace and pleasure from this remarkable book. Dr. Stuart-Smith doesn't presume to make absurd and extravagant claims, but everything she says about the mind has the ring of authenticity and truth. Hugely recommended."
have learned that you can have a garden wherever you are--and it does something special to work with your hands, get dirty, and help things grow. Although I am currently lucky enough to have a yard where I can plant violas, carnations, geraiums, azaleas, and beautiful succulents whose names I can never keep straight, I have also been in tiny apartments where the only option was to establish a small jungle of potted plants in the kitchen, and I even kept a container garden on aboat! (Okay, it was only one container, but still.)~EWF
Now,a distinguished psychiatrist and avid gardener offers an inspiring and consoling work about the healing effects of gardening and its ability to decrease stress and foster mental well-being in our everyday lives:
"The garden is often seen as a refuge, a place to forget worldly cares, removed from the "real" life that lies outside. But when we get our hands in the earth we connect with the cycle of life in nature through which destruction and decay are followed by regrowth and renewal. Gardening is one of the quintessential nurturing activities and yet we understand so little about it. The Well-Gardened Mind provides a new perspective on the power of gardening to change people's lives. Here, Sue Stuart-Smith investigates the many ways in which mind and garden can interact and explores how the process of tending a plot can be a way of sustaining an innermost self.
Stuart-Smith's own love of gardening developed as she studied to become a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. From her grandfather's return from World War I to Freud's obsession with flowers to case histories with her own patients to progressive gardening programs in such places as Rikers Island prison in New York City, Stuart-Smith weaves thoughtful yet powerful examples to argue that gardening is much more important to our cognition than we think. Recent research is showing how green nature has direct antidepressant effects on humans. Essential and pragmatic, The Well-Gardened Mind is a book for gardeners and the perfect read for people seeking healthier mental lives."
Sue Stuart-Smith, a prominent psychiatrist and psychotherapist, took her degree in English literature at Cambridge before qualifying as a doctor. She worked in the National Health Service for many years, becoming the lead clinician for psychotherapy in Hertfordshire. She currently teaches at The Tavistock Clinic in London and is consultant to the DocHealth service. She is married to Tom Stuart-Smith, the celebrated garden designer, and, over thirty years together, they have created the wonderful Barn Garden in Hertfordshire.
"Riveting, inspiring and often very moving, Sue Stuart-Smith's journey into the therapy of gardening reveals just how deep our connection with nature is, how much we risk when we cut ourselves off from it, and how much we can gain from its restorative power. A lively, compassionate exhortation for us all to get our hands back in the soil."