Health Benefits of Gardening

Stress Relief, Connection to Nature, Connection to Community, Physical Health, Personal Growth ….just to name a few!

I am no stranger to “stress weeding” or “stress pruning” for that matter. There is something indescribably satisfying about pulling unwanted weeds out of a garden bed or giving a straggly plant a much needed “hack back” 🙂

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow” Audrey Hepburn

For many gardeners it is the love of planting something and watching it grow that gives the most pleasure. By constantly thinking and planning the growth cycle of your garden you become connected to your environment and greater surroundings.

Why not plant a field of paper daisies this Autumn? now is the time to sow the seed as plants will grow slowly through the winter months, developing a strong root system and flower prolifically in spring!

The main reason people report not getting into the garden is lack of time. With the self-isolation and social distancing measures affecting most of us at the moment now is a great time to practice our green thumbs. 
May your isolated home be surrounded by a garden!

In times of great social and economic upheaval gardening can offer multiple benefits. In WWII for instance, interest in community gardening peaked in light of uncertainty around what food sources would and wouldn’t be available throughout the coming years. Gardening offers us a place to come together as communities, neighbours and individuals to relieve stress, connect with nature, improve our physical health and grow (both the plants and ourselves). 

Looking after Ourselves

There is a strong correlation between gardening and improved wellbeing amongst the young, the old and anyone in between. It can be as simple as observing and watering plants or as involved as designing a large garden – whatever the style there are associated benefits. 

The physical benefits of gardening are anecdotally well known. People who have been involved in gardening programs report feeling fitter and healthier than those who don’t garden and it has been shown that vegetable gardeners are more likely to eat diet high in fresh fruit and veggies. Although there is limited research on whether gardening correlates to improved physicality, it is clear that people who garden feel subjectively healthier across many contemporary studies. Amongst the elderly, improved wrist strength and balance have been demonstrated qualities in gardeners. 

Mental benefits are just as significant. Those who garden report stress relief and feeling less agitated as an immediate effect of gardening. It gives people responsibilities and goals to work towards without the pressures of meeting deadlines or doing things perfectly, which we might have in other areas of our lives. Within a garden there is so much room for creativity.

Gardeners often report pleasure in watching things grow and unfold in their own time and there is evidence that those who have spent at least five months in the garden have higher well-being ratings than those who garden sporadically. 

“We might think we are nurturing our garden, but really it is our garden nurturing us” Jenny Uglow

Looking after Our Kids

As well as looking after and educating ourselves gardening can help to look after and educate our kids – especially in a time when so many families are having to transition schooling into their own homes. 

Gardens are a place where children get to tangibly learn about natural processes and reap the physical and mental health benefits described in the paragraphs above. As well as giving us something meaningful to do, gardening should naturally compliment most science-based curriculum that kids will now be learning at home. 

“Why try to explain miracles to your kids, when you can just have them plant a garden” Robert Brault

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