Newson Health Menopause Garden

The Garden:

In 2023, Menopause specialist Dr Louise Newson joined forces with award-winning garden designer Ruth Gwynn to create the Newson Health Menopause Show Garden at BBC Gardeners’ World Live 2023.

The inspiration:

The garden reflected Newson Health’s ethos of inclusive and accessible menopause support for all, creating a tranquil and comfortable space for women to reflect on their health and discover the nutritional and physical power of plants for mental health and wellbeing.

credit BBC Gardeners' World Live Stuart Purfield (3)

We spoke with a number of women who confirmed that, whilst gardening may not be a cure for menopause symptoms, it can certainly help women through it. Here’s what Liz Garrigan said:

Name, age, location, job
Liz, 50, Surrey, Self-Employed Gardener

Meno or peri
Perimenopause for about a year

Main symptoms
At the start of last year I started feeling overwhelmed with life, waking up a lot in the night and my mind would start racing and a general feeling of “not being able to face”  decision making. I then started to think that maybe I was perimenopausal when the brain fog kicked in as well. I’ve always had a good memory and like to be organised and planning, but my brain really felt vacant at times.

Impact of symptoms on your daily life
The emotional and physical tiredness coupled brain fog knocked my confidence and made me feel that I didn’t want to do anything, particularly not wanting to engage with social situations or go out in general. Avoidance techniques started to kick in as it felt simpler to take the path which was easiest, even if deep down I knew that I should be seeing people and getting out. 

How gardening helps you manage those symptoms.
Sometimes when I’d wake up, having finally fallen asleep just before my alarm was due to go off, I’d feel quite anxious for no specific reason – the anxiety could be about “anything and everything”. I noticed that getting myself out to my clients and getting going on the garden I was working in started to reduce the anxiety. I suppose it’s a way of gaining control over negative feelings and making a difference to clients’ gardens that spurred me on. I’ve always been someone who enjoys being outside and some of the days I’ve felt most invigorated and affirmed are in the bad weather with my big coat on.   I think if I had to be inside for most of the day, I’d be very restless. The light and fresh air really helps me manage feelings of anxiety.

I also like the peace of gardening and usually the single focus of an activity helps with diminishing difficult emotions and concentration. Being close to nature, whether that’s the wind and rain or birds and worms, brings home the benefits of appreciating simple and natural experiences.   

How often you spend time gardening or at the allotment
I garden 5 days a week all day. But also enjoy my own garden at the weekend. 

What type of gardening activities do you find particularly helpful for symptoms
I’ve noticed that I benefit from two different types of activities. Sometimes something fairly physical like cutting a big hedge, laying manure or digging out plants that have died really helps send out the endorphins – like after a good running or gym session! Other times, I find that something quieter and less physical like tackling a large weeding job where it’s more of a mindful activity clears my head.

Either way, the physical act of being outside, the fresh air and being able to stand back and feel fulfilled that a garden looks better is a huge feel good factor. 

Some days I like to listen to podcasts but most of the time sounds of nature are restorative. This winter I’ve been buying meal worms to keep in my pockets to feed the ever present robins with.

I think gardening full time over the past couple of years has really helped with body strength, whether it’s carrying bags of compost, digging or being able to crouch tending to plants. To compliment this activity, I swim and do yoga once a week each to stretch out. 

A brief description of your garden
Our garden at home is a typical sized garden for a terrace house. The front is fully south facing and the back is north. This suits us a family as none of us like to be too hot, so the softer light of the back is a pleasure in the summer.  Our back garden is planted with Roses, both shrub and a rambler, with a couple of large Peonies, Japanese Anemones, Verbenas and Magnolia and Cherry trees.

The front is fairly drought inspired due to the summer heat, with a variety of salvias, from Amethyst Lips through to Amistads, planted alongside Pelargoniums and an Olive tree. 

Amongst others, I listen to a variety of gardening podcasts and have been inspired to create a wild flower area at the end of the garden this summer. I’m going to leave the grass long and have ordered some Ox Eye Daisies to plant whilst waiting to see what else pops up. 


Symptom Stations:

The garden featured interactive ‘symptom stations’ exploring different aspects of menopause and perimenopause, with clinicians on hand with information and advice about diet and nutrition, the wide-reaching benefits of gardening, exercise, mindfulness and mental wellbeing. 

There was also an area for relaxation, a yoga deck, and an area for outdoor cooking.

credit BBC Gardeners' World Live Stuart Purfield (4)

BBC Gardeners’ World Events 2024:

New year, new garden, new trends!

We’re through the garden gate into 2023, with a host of gardening trends blooming throughout the country. From house plants reaching dizzying heights of popularity, to the colour of the year ‘Viva Magenta’, read on for our full list of trends.

To get up close and personal with fresh garden inspiration, new plants, the latest gardening kit and more, join us in 2023.

Colour of the Year 2023

Hand-picked by Pantone, the colour of the year has been named as ‘Viva Magenta. 

Pantone describe the colour as ‘brave and fearless, and a pulsating colour whose exuberance promotes a joyous and optimistic celebration, writing a new narrative.’

Discover a world of colour and scent in the stunning Floral Marquee,  bursting with award-winning nurseries and display.

Sustainable gardening

Whilst your garden might seem to already be very green, it can always be greener!

Discover ways you can make gardening more sustainable, like upcycling common items to make stylish features. What was a pallet, hessian bags, bits of pipe, and tin cans, could become a planter, grow bags, water features, and wildlife habitats.

Be inspired by the BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine editorial team as they’re joined by experts to give tips and advice.

Grow your own food

Looking to go from soil to supper this year? Get brilliant advice from the National Allotment Society at the event.

Peat-free gardening

Learn about the latest peat-free compost from exhibitors who can offer face-to-face advice.

Indoor gardening

Foliage doesn’t just belong outside – bring nature indoors and be inspired by the Houseplant Hub.

Mindful gardening

Beautiful Borders returns with this year’s theme ‘My Garden Escape’ to give you space savvy ideas.

Gardening on a budget

Discover different ways you can let your garden bloom under a tighter budget, with advice from expert gardeners.

Fermented foods

Visit the BBC Good Food Summer Show (with free entry with your ticket!) and discover the latest foodie trends.

Feeling inspired? Find out what else is happening at BBC Gardeners’ World Live this June!