I always just marvel when someone says that people just don’t have time for gardening. Of course we have time for gardening. Maybe it means less time on social media or something, but why can’t people make the time?
I mean seriously…make the time, it is literally good for you!
Did you know that in the United Kingdom, doctors literally will prescribe gardening to help patients?
The Royal Horticultural Society have teamed up with GPs across the UK as part of a new scheme to prescribe gardening activities to patients with dementia and mental health struggles.
One of the first gardens to take part in the scheme is at the Simmons House Adolescent Unit in North London. Patients here will begin creating homes for bees and butterflies, as well as designing wonderful wildlife-friendly habitats.
Not only will patients be outside in the fresh air (which is also proven to boost wellbeing and happiness levels), but they will have the joy of engaging in new activities such as planting seasonal flowers, tending gardens and growing jasmine and fresh mint which can be used for herbal teas.
“Gardens, in all their myriad forms, promote good health and wellbeing but their designs can also be tweaked to serve a specific purpose,” Guy Barter, Chief Horticulturist at the RHS said to The Telegraph.
How is it Europe and the U.K. are so far ahead of the U.S.A. here?
Even Martha Stewart agrees:
It’s easy to scoff at the idea of gardening as exercise — until you’ve actually grabbed a trowel and dug in. More and more, scientists are confirming what avid gardeners have always known: Wrestling with stubborn weeds, trimming hedges, and spreading mulch are all good ways to work up a very respectable sweat. Working around the garden is also mentally and emotionally rewarding. We talked to horticulture and fitness experts about five big benefits of getting down and dirty in your flowerbed or vegetable patch.
From basic cardio to clearing your head to dealing with chronic pain to even just meeting other gardening souls, what do you have to lose?
Seriously. I am a cancer survivor. Today is the first day of hideous PinkTober. I hate it and I wrote about it already today. So instead of buying pink plastic crap or cereal and unhealthy energy drinks in Pepto Bismol pink shrouding, why not do something positive? Like get out in your garden? Celebrate nature and celebrate life? How about that for true and helpful #PinkPowerTODAY and #BreastCancerAwarenessMonth and #IFightToday ?
I have always been a gardener and a rabid one at that. No big secret. But during and after breast cancer is when I started to want to up my gardening game. No one had ever told me gardening was proven to help you feel better, I just know that when I garden I actually feel better and am more productive in my life. Gardening also makes you happy.
But people have a million excuses as to why they can’t even garden on their windowsill or via a couple of pots of flowers or herbs or whatever on a front stoop. And so many people are buying into developments where by the laws of the community you can’t actually garden. Yes, seriously, in a lot of developments it goes against the HOA (Homeowners Association.) Something good for you is forbidden. But have a drink, or a cigarette, or lots of fried food, right?
Garden people! It is sometimes frustrating yet always rewarding. It is a God given pleasure to play in the dirt.
Monty Don rarely makes it through the winter months without wondering whether he should move to a brighter climate. The 64-year-old gardener and television presenter has suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) for much of his life, and around this time of year he begins to long for sunnier climes.
“Between the end of February and the beginning of October I have no desire to move my home at all,” he says of his home at Longmeadow, Herefordshire, from where he hosts BBC Two’s Gardeners’ World. “But I’d love to spend November, December, January and maybe February somewhere where the sun shone.”
Don has long spoken candidly about his battles with depression and SAD, and for more than a decade he has promoted the healing abilities of gardening, which he claims can alleviate the symptoms of mental illness by helping you connect with nature. On this, Don is something of a prophet: as early as 2008, when scientific research looking into the impact of gardening on depression was in its infancy, he championed the power of the great outdoors, telling an interviewer that year: “Earth heals me better than any medicine.”
Now, it seems as if doctors have caught up. A meta-analysis published by the US National Library of Medicine in 2017, which claimed to be the first major study of its kind, found “robust evidence for the positive effects of gardening” on both physical and mental health, and the UK charity Growing Health now counts 1,500 local initiatives that are using horticulture to boost wellbeing.
In the U.K. they really DO prescribe gardening. It helps people with mental disorders, depression, Parkinson’s, chronic pain, PTSD, and more. Seriously.
Here in the U.S.A. we need to do this more. Less big pharma and more good old fashioned fresh air and gardening.
WHY NOT? We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
People laugh because I go to garden when things are bothering me too. It’s like I dig in the dirt, prune some plants and work stuff out. Gardening is where I feel closest to God. I chose not to talk to him in church these days, but it’s easy to talk to him looking up at the majesty of my tall trees in my woods.
Here read more below and get gardening. Stop the excuses. Try it.