THE definition of garden can mean something different to different people. You might think, what is the importance of gardening in our life? Gardening is more than just preparing a section of land, it offers many benefits to the environment through pollination and nurturing mental health.

Gardening gives people a place to potter around in nature and forget about their troubles for a while, a huge one being the coronavirus pandemic.

“In the space of five days - we experienced the preparation for our season opening, the announcement of lockdown, staff becoming furloughed and potentially being closed for good,” said Tricia Harris, marketing and communications manager at Helmsley Walled Garden.

“Chewing our finger nails with worry, we needed to raise £50,000 or else we were toast.

“Deep down, I didn’t feel confident about raising the money because everyone is riding the unpredictable wave of coronavirus - losing jobs, loved ones and unsure on what’s around the corner.

“Achieving this goal has meant more than words can express.

“We are excited to reopen the Helmsley Walled Garden on August 1 - with social distancing measures, a one-way system and pre-booking tickets.”

Hemsley Walled Garden is officially reopening on Yorkshire Day, then every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 10am to 5pm.

These days should increase as staff and volunteers adapt to the new normal, including separate entry and exit and limited toilet facilities. The Orchid House will remain closed

The five acres of horticultural bliss is a haven of tranquility for visitors and the Helmsley community.

Full to the brim with vibrant colours, it’s a far cry from the garden’s origin.

After the First World War, many larger estates tumbled into an overgrown state after losing their gardeners during the conflict.

One of those which suffered was Helmsley Walled Garden, built in 1758 to provide the Feversham family with fresh produce and flowers.

Eventually the grounds transformed into a jungle of weeds.

In 1994, a trained nurse, Alison Ticehurst, was looking for a mammoth mission to transform a garden to its former glory.

Seeing the state of Helmsley, she contacted Lord Feversham who agreed to lease the land.

This was the beginning of her dream - to create a beautiful garden for everyone to enjoy, while providing a place for horticultural therapy for those in need.

Five years later, Alison died after suffering an aneurysm while gardening, a tremendous shock to everyone.

Volunteers decided to honour Alison’s memory by establishing charitable status and the horticultural policy of supporting those with disabilities and mental health problems.

“Our ethos is to create a place where people can tap into the healing power of horticulture, provide therapeutic support or simply take a quiet moment to reflect,” added Tricia.

“We have a regular stream of volunteers who are dedicated, loyal and provide a helping hand throughout the seasons.

“Our Social and Therapeutic Horticulture programme is something we are incredibly proud of; helping to improve mental and physical health through gardening.

“At the garden, we work with people with disabilities as well as those who are coping with the effects of depression, social isolation and long-term unemployment.”

Social and therapeutic horticulture helps people to rehabilitate themselves after illness or trauma, improve mobility and increase a sense of wellbeing from working with nature.

Tricia recalls: “When I started my role at Helmsley Walled Garden, we welcomed a group of young volunteers from Scarborough, alongside their carers,” Tricia recalls.

“I overheard the group talking about planting something in the garden, which I desperately needed, some clary sage.

“Upon hearing this, the responsibility made everyone stand taller and gain a wealth of confidence – I still think about the importance of that moment.

“Helmsley Walled Garden would not exist without the legacy of Alison and the passion for helping others.”

Admission fees is £8 for adults and free for children under 16.

To book, visit