Living and Growing, post 1

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!

4 replies on “Living and Growing, post 1”

Congrats Gladys and Patrick on the launch of the Living and Growing website

A September visit to your garden revealed an astonishing range of annuals. The diversity and the beauty of your vast, selection exploded my concept of “annuals” which in recent years has become all too limited to the small selection offered by garden centers

Who knew that in the middle of all your mighty work you were pursuing a passion for annuals, building knowledge and sources?!

A visit to the garden will fill you , as it did Maggie and I, with reverence for the diversity and beauty of nature, and awe at the scale of the Living and Growing garden. Note that you will want to take home “ one of each please” for your own garden, which may require the addition of a trailer to your car .

Great to see the website up and launched to support what I think will be a very successful business for Gladys and Patrick. The site looks very well and having bought just a few plants myself, I can attest to the quality of the product.
On the therapeutic value of gardening, I’d agree, but with the caveat that it does depend on the type of gardening and the nature of the soil. There’s not much fun tangling with heavy clay. But Westcourt’s situation and soul seem almost perfect- ‘frost pockets’ excluded.
Best of luck to both of you!

Dear Patrick, thanks for sharing your thoughts on the healthy impulses of being in a well-cared garden. It made me think of my mom, who died two years ago. She loved her plants and flowers, she even talked to them, when she thought we would not hear her. Whenever one of my plants would start to weaken and be in danger to die, I would bring it quickly to my mom and a few weeks later the plant was completly recovered again. She also loved to read, so her little flat was full of books and plants. For her funeral we chose the words of Cicero to comfort us, saying: “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need” This quote was adapted from a letter he wrote in 46 B.C. The literal translation would be: “If you have a garden in your library, everything will be complete.” (Cic. Fam. 9.4). Looking up this quote for you, I stumpled over a book review, which might answer the question of the healing impulses of a garden in some parts. I did not read it myself, but its titel sounds great already:
The Wild Remedy: How Nature Mends Us – A Diary by Emma Mitchell. Merry Christmas to you and your gardening team.
Yours Sonja (from the Blackforest;)

Hello, Gladys and Patrick, It’s too far away for comfort, but California says Halloo! The range of flowers and the crystalline photos of each are marvelous, and we wish we were there to bring home one of each! Maybe some day…… Norma and Peter

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