IF you've ever taken up gardening or even just cared for a houseplant you will know the great satisfaction it can bring and there’s plenty of evidence of the restorative power of gardening.

That could be the mental engagement that takes our minds off troubled thoughts, the mood-boosting effective of physical activity or just the satisfaction of nurturing another living thing.

Gardening is open to everyone regardless of age and physical ability and if you take part in gardening groups or join a shared allotment it can be a great way to build social connections and reduce isolation.

Even though my veg patch is isolated in my own garden I still find myself striking up conversations and sharing tips with fellow growers at the VegVan.

You won't see a better example of the restorative powers of working with nature than at the Elder Stubbs Recovery Group, part of Oxfordshire mental health charity Restore.

Restore's members have been cultivating approximately two acres of land there since 1997 and now grow a fantastic array seasonal vegetables, fruit and flowers.

Some of us from Cultivate were recently lucky enough to get a guided tour of the allotment from one of their members, Charlotte.

As we'd been stocking some Elder Stubbs preserves for a few months (which were hugely popular), we were keen to see what was available for us to get our hands on in terms of fresh produce.

We certainly weren't disappointed: beds of bulging beetroot, glorious multi-coloured swathes of country garden flowers and a polytunnel bursting with tomatoes, courgettes and cucamelons.

Not only is their produce grown in ecologically-friendly and sustainable ways, it's super local: sourcing from Elder Stubbs also means we're helping fund the fantastic work Restore does around the county helping provide recovery and coaching support to people with mental health problems.

It's not only produce with a good cause – it's also fantastic quality and flavour, which ticks all the boxes of our local, ethical and delicious sourcing policy.

We are now stocking Elder Stubbs produce at all our stops this week and as it's just the start of the season so we look forward to stocking even more as the year goes on.

If you’d like to see the gardens for yourself, their shop selling plants and handmade gifts is open to the public 10am – 2pm, Monday to Friday, or why not visit their annual Elder Stubbs festival happening this year on August 19.