Get Fit In The Garden – RHS Gardens embrace the theme of National Gardening Week

Friday 1 April 2016

This year’s week-long celebration will explore the ways in which gardens can help people keep fit

The four RHS Gardens are leaping into action for National Gardening Week, which runs from 11 – 17 April 2016 and celebrates all that is wonderful, inspiring and uplifting about gardens – including how they help to keep us fit.

In line with the 2016 theme, ‘Get Fit in the Garden’, the four RHS Gardens are running activities that show the benefits of keeping healthy in the nurturing surroundings of a garden. Other gardens, charities and businesses are also signing up to take part.

RHS Garden Wisley, Surrey is running a wide range of events throughout the week, including mummy fitness classes (with a ‘buggy push’ on Monday 11 April); a preview of the film Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse, a day ahead of cinema release; and a talk by Thrive, a charity that uses gardening to bring about positive change in the lives of people with disabilities or ill health. The garden is also offering t’ai chi classes, and talks by RHS Garden Wisley horticulturists about their particular areas of the garden and how gardening keeps them healthy and happy.

At RHS Garden Rosemoor, Devon, author Matt James will give an illustrated talk ‘Making the Most of your Planting Potential’, inspired by his new RHS book How to Plant a Garden, on Tue 12 April, which takes gardeners on a journey through a process of designing a garden, showing how to choose, use and create beautiful planting schemes like the professionals. Visitors can also meet the gardeners and learn about their work, and on 16 April and 17 April there will be a Greening Grey Britain & Get Fit Gardening Weekend, with a t’ai chi drop-in demonstration and advice on how to improve grey front gardens.

At RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Essex, horticulturists will be on hand every day at 11am to talk to visitors on why they love their jobs and how it keeps them healthy. At 2pm Stella Phillips, a local health and wellness expert, will be talking about health, nutrition and offer the chance for visitors to practice t’ai chi.

RHS Garden Harlow Carr, North Yorkshire will be holding t’ai chi sessions at 10am each morning, tours of the Kitchen Garden and outdoor cookery demonstrations of healthy recipes with herbs. Garden Manager Katherine Musgrove, who left office work for the world of horticulture, will talk about the links between health, happiness and horticulture in her role. Community partners from across Yorkshire, including Henshaws College and Autism Plus, will visit the garden to create their own herb planters to sell in a ‘pop up’ shop in Harlow Carr’s Plant Centre.

All four RHS Gardens are opening for free on National Open Gardens Day on Friday 15 April. RHS Garden Wisley is also running a full day of events including a boot camp for mothers with babies, sessions with Coventry University exploring tool design and the physical effects of gardening, and tree-climbing demonstrations by the Arboriculture team. At RHS Garden Hyde Hall there will be the chance to meet garden designer Adam Frost, author of Real Gardens, and discover the inspiration behind his famous RHS Show Gardens and how you can take inspiration from his designs to use at home.

Other gardens taking part in National Gardening Week include Knoll Gardens, Wimborne, which is holding yoga sessions; Kent Association for the Blind Sight Centre, which is running a day of tips, tricks and practical advice for gardeners who have developed sight problems; and a Spring Fair in the therapeutic five-acre garden Lindengate, Wendover.

More information on all the events is at:

Bunny Guinness, landscape architect, journalist and author of the book Garden Your Way to Health and Fitness, is supporting National Gardening Week this year.

She says: ‘The wonderful thing about gardening is that, unlike repetitive exercises at the gym, it can provide all-over body fitness – raking, weeding, digging and other gardening tasks all use different muscles and test your body in different ways. National Gardening Week will highlight how enjoyable it is to keep fit in your garden, and how it can bring tangible benefits to health.’

The aim of National Gardening Week is to raise awareness of the diversity, richness and cultural value of the UK’s gardens and encourage new visitors to experience and value them. The four RHS Gardens will be leading the campaign, with other gardens across the UK encouraged to take part. In 2015 hundreds of events were held during the week at gardens, museums, community groups and parks across the UK.

Gardens can register at  to be part of National Gardening Week, and visitors are encouraged to check for details of events closer to the time.

For press enquiries, please contact Hannah Dolby on 020 7821 3042, or email


Notes to editors

About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood to inspire passion and excellence in the science, art and practice of horticulture. Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener, healthier, happier and more beautiful place. We believe everyone in every village, town and city should benefit from growing plants to enhance lives, build stronger, healthier, happier communities and create better places to live.

We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, our flagship garden, in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity. At our gardens and shows and through our scientific research, publications, libraries and our education and community programmes we inspire a passion for gardening and growing plants, promote the value of gardens, demonstrate how gardening is good for us and explain the vital roles that plants undertake.

The RHS is committed to bring the joy of gardening to millions more people, inspire the next generation of gardeners and invest in the future to safeguard a £10.4 billion industry employing more than 300,000 people. We are entirely funded by our members, visitors and supporters. RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 020 3176 5820, or visit

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262

Latest press releases

About the RHS

The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people's lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262