The Health Benefits of Gardening
Spring has sprung! This knowledge, this feeling that our gardens are slowly waking up is what makes gardeners excited, engaged and creative, and so they start to plan the year. And it is this that brings us all the physical and mental benefits, because gardening is both energetic and soothing.
Mentally, it helps you because it exercises your brain functions by involving time organisation, problem-solving and learning new skills. Research has also shown that spending as little as 20 minutes in green spaces can have a positive effect on mental attitude and even looking through the window at green plants can have an positive impact.
Physically, gardening often involves moderate workouts and even spending 1 or 2 hours every few days working in our gardens has benefits that range from strengthened muscles to improved dexterity and fitness levels. Physical activity is also one of the best ways to reduce the chance of cognitive decline in later life; plus exposing our skin to sunshine for 15-30 minutes can help produce many benefits including the essential Vitamin D that aids calcium absorption for strong bones, as well as nitric oxide that has been shown to reduce blood pressure.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column]
A garden is also a place where you can relax and wind down or, conversely, party and entertain your family and friends, enjoying your colourful garden borders or productive vegetable beds.
For an instant impact in the garden, bright and colourful bedding plants are a good place to start – primroses, violas and pansies give you quick results and most of them are fully hardy so they can cope with spring frosts. From April/May onwards, summer bedding plants can provide colour into the garden. Alternatively, you can plant your garden borders or pots with herbaceous perennials, all in preparation for a dazzling summer display. Introducing evergreen flowering shrubs also creates structure in the winter. Fragrant shrubs such as Daphnes and Honeysuckle can enliven your senses especially in the evenings when their scent fills the air. Sowing or planting out vegetable seedlings or fruit plants can fill you with a sense of achievement when you harvest them and produce healthy, homegrown food to eat throughout the year.