The Well-Gardened Mind: The Restorative Power of Nature

Sue Stuart-Smith (Author)
Available

Description

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.

Product Details

Price
$28.00  $25.76
Publisher
Scribner Book Company
Publish Date
July 07, 2020
Pages
352
Dimensions
6.1 X 1.3 X 9.1 inches | 1.05 pounds
Language
English
Type
Hardcover
EAN/UPC
9781476794464

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About the Author

Sue Stuart-Smith is a psychiatrist and psychotherapist who took her degree in English literature at Cambridge before qualifying as a doctor and a psychiatrist. She taught at The Tavistock Clinic in London and worked for the National Health Service in Hertfordshire. She is married to Tom Stuart-Smith, the famous garden designer, and together they have created the wonderful Barn Garden in Hertfordshire. She is the author of The Well-Gardened Mind.

Reviews

"This is a book so wise and comfortable that it merits a place alongside Christopher Lloyd's The Well-Tempered Garden by the side of every bed...[Stuart-Smith's] deep understanding of the human psyche makes this a perfect source text as well as an engrossing read."
--Illustrated Garden magazine

"A truly uplifting book on the power of gardening - and how it can change people's lives."
--Stylist (UK)

"The most original gardening book ever....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." --Sunday Times (UK)
"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, author of The Hare with Amber Eyes

"This is an important and timely book. Mental health is a growing concern and yet is the least developed, least understood and least well-resourced aspect of medicine. Sue Stuart-Smith's book is beautifully written, drawing on a lifetime's experience as both as a clinician and a gardener, and I urge everyone to read it."
--Monty Don of the BBC's "Gardeners' World"

"Fascinating in its content, lyrical, moving and elegantly written, The Well Gardened Mind explores and celebrates the very real connection we humans feel with plants and by extension, our gardens."
--Rachel de Thame of the BBC's "Gardeners' World"

"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."
--Isabella Tree, author of Wilding

"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 (and 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) has the ring of authenticity and truth. Hugely recommended."
--Stephen Fry