For the very first Blog in our new Living and Growing website, I’ll keep it nice and short and introduce a theme that is one of the keys to gardening and SO important in this year of the pandemic – WELLBEING.
Everyone has the idea that gardening activity is “therapeutic”. A recent visitor to our display of annuals, so bright, colourful, varied, and an inspired glimpse into the wonders of the plant world, commented that it was an instant boost to the viewer’s mental health. It gave her a visual and mental boost, a sense of hope for bright, growing things to come and a sense of being connected to the wondrous processes of nature, so infinite in their possibilities.
For myself, I love to see the flowers in bloom but perhaps the clearest sense of drawing health from gardening is when I’m working the soil in preparation for sowing seeds or planting young plants. We are fortunate to have free and humus rich soil that is both fertile and quite easy to work, so digging, cultivating and raking are all a pleasure, as well as productive forms of exertion that requires energy but also gives energy.
A psychiatrist friend visited yesterday and I asked her was there was a literature of research that could document a connection between gardening activity and personal wellbeing – or even a connection between maintaining mental health and time spent in gardens, either working or beholding. Like me, she was sure that there is a wellbeing benefit in gardening, and many people have said that time in the garden helped them cope successfully with the trials of the pandemic and the lockdowns, but she promised to do a bit of study and find whether there is a documented connection.
We’d love to hear your views. How did gardening time help you through troubling moods? Was there even a plant, or a colour of flower, or sunshine filtering through a tree that you could recall having a special benefit?
As we aim to put gardening into its human context, we’d love to hear your experiences – and we’ll gladly grow the Happy Plants that you love and need!