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Garden therapy

Garden therapy

Discover everything about garden therapy. Have you ever looked out the window at a tree in leaf and felt your stress levels drop? Or gone for a walk in the park at lunchtime and come back to your desk feeling recharged and ready for the fray? Instinctively, we know that being outdoors and reconnecting with nature is good for us. And you don’t have to go far to get your green fix. The latest research shows that spending even a little time in your garden is good for your mental health.

How gardening can help your mood

It’s not really surprising that gardening is good for your health. After all, it’s a physical job, and all that digging and weeding produces endorphins – hormones that reduce the effects of depression and anxiety. In fact, contact with a specific soil bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae, triggers the release of serotonin, a natural anti-depressant, in the brain. An excellent reason for getting your hands dirty! Then there’s the satisfaction of achieving something visible. With our lives moving increasingly online, the sight of a newly-mown lawn or a neatly weeded flower bed is a good way to remind yourself that you can still make an impact in the real world.

Growing your own food

Picking and eating your own home-grown food, even if it’s just a few herbs in a pot or some salad leaves, connects you with the seasons and the elements in a way that buying plastic-wrapped blueberries from the other side of the world can never do. If you’re new to gardening, start with something easy, and remember to grow things that you will actually want to eat! 

Easy fruit and veg to grow include:

  • Runner beans
  • Radishes
  • Salad leaves
  • Courgettes
  • Bush tomatoes (no need to stake them!)
  • Strawberries

How to start gardening 

So what’s the best way to get into gardening? Start small. Don’t leap out into your garden and start moving mature shrubs – you’re likely to damage both yourself and the plants. Set yourself small goals. Do an hour’s weeding, then reward yourself with a cup of tea. Spend time just sitting in your garden, getting to know it and planning how you want it to look. And while you’re planning, plant something in a pot to give you something that you can watch grow.

If you don’t have a garden but want somewhere to get your hands dirty, plenty of public and community gardens are looking for volunteers. A quick online search will show you what’s available in your area. Gardening is something everyone can enjoy, so grab your secateurs and give it a go!

If you’d like to get more out of your garden, why not visit our centre for some inspiration? Our friendly staff are always happy to advise on all your gardening questions.