The Unexpected Gardener - Helen Mirren

The Oscar-winning actress is a great believer in the power of gardening and has mentioned its benefits in various interviews over the years.

She recently spoke about how it soothes her anxieties.  'I love to spend time in my garden.  If I have a few free hours I love to dig around in the dirt.  It's so calming, worthwhile and a really good way of keeping those dark dragons away,' she told Yours magazine.  

She also talked about the importance of gardening for children.  'They should teach it in schools.  It's such a positive thing to do and very useful.  Gardening is learning, learning, learning. That's part of the fun of it.' 

The 74 year old actress, is married to the American filmmaker Taylor Hackford, and the couple spend their time between their London flat, farmhouse in the South of France and the French Quarter in New Orleans, giving her experience of gardening in a wide range of climates.

Helen’s love of gardening is not a new hobby.  It blossomed in the 1960s when she was at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford and developed a passion for the outdoors and countryside – ‘the scent of damp earth and pungent wild flowers,’ she said.  And as it does for so many of us, gardening remains a balm to her soul.