“I find nature peaceful and therapeutic. Green spaces allow me to relax and get away, which is important to me because of my chronic illnesses. Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome cause me pain, fatigue and dizziness. These symptoms make gardening physically demanding for me. Nonetheless, my passion drives me to give horticultural projects the justice they deserve.
I relate to the ‘Support’ section of our garden. It’s how I see the role gardening plays in my life. It’s something I love, it’s fundamental to my well-being and hopefully, my future career.”
“I travelled the world with the Intelligence Corps during my 21-year military career. After a back injury, I was medically discharged from the service with injuries that left me in constant pain and fatigue. Ten years later, I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Fibromyalgia.
Gardening is so good for my mental and physical health, giving me a second chance at life following my army career. It helps distract me from turbulent times and gives me a sense of achievement. The ‘Stability’ section of our garden embodies this sense of calm, filled with sights and sounds of the outdoors.”
“The section of our garden I relate to most is the ‘Surviving’ element. At school, I wasn’t always happy until I started working in the school’s walled garden. There I enjoyed being outdoors and tending to the plants.
Since then, working with and learning about plants has become my passion. Gardening benefits include working outside in the fresh air, being active and keeping fit. It also helps me feel productive and fulfilled.”
Taking part in a gardening course at Tedworth House Recovery Centre, I gained a Horticulture qualification and a reason to leave the house.
Following a medical-discharge from the RAF, I was suffering from depression. Help for Heroes and other military charities supported me in turning my life around for the better. Gardening helped me regain my positive attitude and a new career direction. Having regularly volunteered as a gardener at South Hill Park, I’m now an official employee.
“The support from Help for Heroes has been a great stabiliser in my life. Studying horticulture as part of my recovery has empowered me to regain my purpose. Following a full and active army career, I suffered a stroke in 2009. This left me with affected balance. Four years later I was in a car accident, breaking 11 ribs, four bones in my back and two in my neck. All of these injuries left me with further compromised mobility.
The Stability section’s adaptive tools and raised bed give me access to gardening. With their help, I can take my time and enjoy the process without extreme strenuosity.”
“Growing up with a father in the army, I went to a number of schools. However, I somehow always found myself joining the gardening club. While regularly on the move as a child gardening was the one ‘constant’ in my life. Working with flowers and plants is both relaxing and comforting. It’s great fun, it’s something I enjoy doing as part of a team and I love the practical elements.
Following his military career, my dad retrained as a tree surgeon and I also used to enjoy helping him with gardening jobs – so much so it’s inspired my future career!”