The Well Gardened Mind: Rediscovering Nature in the Modern World

By Sue Stuart-Smith

‘The wisest book I’ve read for many years … Much more than a gardening book, much more than a guide to mental health … Hugely recommended’ Stephen Fry


A Times and Sunday Times Best Book of 2020

How can gardening relieve stress and help us look after our mental health? What lies behind the restorative power of the natural world?

In a powerful combination of contemporary neuroscience, psychoanalysis and brilliant storytelling, The Well Gardened Mind investigates the magic that many gardeners have known for years – working with nature can radically transform our health, wellbeing and confidence.

With illuminating stories of how people struggling with stress, depression, trauma and addiction can change their lives, this inspiring and wise book of science, insight and anecdote – now translated into fifteen languages – shows how our understanding of nature and its restorative powers is only just beginning to flower.

Format: Paperback
Release Date: 29 Apr 2021
Pages: 352
ISBN: 978-0-00-810073-5
A prominent psychiatrist and psychotherapist, Sue Stuart-Smith took her degree in English literature at Cambridge before qualifying as a doctor and a psychiatrist. She worked for the National Health Service for many years, becoming the lead clinician in psychotherapy in Hertfordshire. She currently teaches at The Tavistock Clinic in London and is consultant to the DocHealth service. She is married to Tom Stuart-Smith, the celebrated garden designer, and, over 30 years together, they have created the wonderful Barn Garden in Hertfordshire. (Twitter and Instagram)


‘Must be the most original gardening book ever’SUNDAY TIMES -

‘Fascinating … Extends the awareness - backed up by compendious and elegant research - of how mentally enriching it is to swap screen for green … [She] renders a very special service with this book’OBSERVER -

‘Stuart-Smith’s beautifully written book is filled with insights into the joys but also the therapeutic benefits that tending plants can offer …This is a life-affirming study of the pleasures of growing things’GUARDIAN -

‘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’THE TIMES -

‘An impressive achievement … this is an optimistic book’SPECTATOR -

‘A truly uplifting book on the power of gardening - and how it can change people’s lives. It’s a prevailing reminder that getting our hands in the soil and helping to grow plants and flowers makes all the difference to our minds and wellbeing’STYLIST -

‘A fascinating overlap between the still stumbling science of psychiatry and the ancient art of gardening’FINANCIAL TIMES -

‘The wisest book I’ve read for many years … Much more than a gardening book, much more than a guide to better mental health, it is a wholly convincing story of how troubled minds might find a way of reconnecting to themselves and rebuilding confidence and hope by way of nature … 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 … Hugely recommended’STEPHEN FRY -

‘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 -

‘An important and timely book … Beautifully written … I urge everyone to read it’MONTY DON -