Volunteers and visitors to the Forfar Open Garden Scheme are already reaping benefits from the therapeutic garden in Lochside Road.
The garden, which was officially opened in March by Jim McColl, of the BBC’s Beechgrove Garden, has come into its own over the summer months with flowers, vegetables and fruit filling the quarter-acre site.
The registered charity is run by a board of trustees, headed by chairman Eleanor Gledhill. She said: “We are finding the garden is making a huge difference to people recovering from different mental health issues.
“It is a lovely, quiet place to come and meet new people and to get you out of the house.
“It is very rewarding for those who are helping get people back on the road.”
Some referrals are made by health and care professionals, but anyone is welcome to enjoy the various aspects of the secluded garden which caters for people of all abilities.
The garden houses a large greenhouse, polytunnel and meeting room where gardeners and visitors can mix.
Eleanor continued: “People are realising there is nowhere like this.
“Sometimes people with a mental health problem become prisoners in their own home. The garden offers them a place to come where they will get some peace, instead of climbing four walls at home.
“Anyone can come to the garden, no matter what, and they won’t be judged.
“It is ideal for people who are dealing with issues themselves, their families, partners, carers. They can come along, sit and have a chat and get involved with anything from weeding, sowing seeds to pricking out seedlings.”
The garden is open from 1.30 to 4.30pm every day, except Sundays, as a drop-in and is open in the mornings for different groups.
Eleanor added: “We are trying to organise for more groups to come and do group work in the mornings and run the drop-in sessions in the afternoons. We are always looking for more volunteers.”
Anyone interested can pop into the garden any afternoon.
The garden recently held a sunflower growing competition, with 10-year-old Lexie Matthew, a pupil at Whitehills School, the winner.
Eleanor said: “Lexie has really green fingers and is getting to be an experienced gardener. Already her sunflower has reached over 8ft tall.”