Dame Helen Mirren thinks gardening should be taught in schools.

The 'Queen' actress finds it ''so calming'' being outside and believes young people should be shown it as part of the curriculum.

Speaking to Yours magazine, she shared: ''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 which I do have at times. Gardens and green spaces are vital for people and the planet. Not enough young people garden or even know how to. 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. You are always learning.''

It comes after the 74-year-old actress revealed she is a pomegranate farmer and harvests the fruits at her farm in Salento, Italy.

She explained: ''Apart from acting, my other job is that of a pomegranate farmer. My husband I have planted over 400 pomegranate trees and we're producing juice for the market. The juice is delicious. Our little company is still in the early stages but we want to sell our juice in Italy and abroad. I love the people of Salento, I love Italy and I love the climate there. The first time I saw the full moon rising from the sea and shining on my pomegranates, I burst into tears.''

And, although she thoroughly enjoys her life in the sun, Helen has admitted it took a little while for her to settle in to her new home.

She added: ''At the beginning it was very complicated and I was getting discouraged, but one day I was sitting on a bench and I saw a man passing by on a bicycle. For some reason that moment touched my heart. I thought this is where I belong.''