This week (27 April to 3 May) is National Gardening Week, the nation’s biggest celebration of gardening (run by the Royal Horticultural Society).
Caring for plants can do wonders for your wellbeing. Gardening is considered moderate intensity exercise – digging, weeding and planting helps burn around 330 calories an hour, which is more than if you were walking at a moderate pace for the same amount of time.
Gardening, or just being around a green environment, can also be a great stress reliever, helping to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Often planting and flower arranging is used to help people recovering from surgery, injuries or health conditions. Horticultural therapy can help people gain a new skill, restore some self-confidence and a sense of community.
Spending time outside is good for you. When you’re outdoors and exposed to the sun (remember the sun screen though!) your body makes vitamin D. This helps your body to absorb calcium and keep your bones, teeth and muscles healthy.
Gardening can take many forms and with some creative thinking even small spaces can be transformed into an oasis with plants in borders or pots. Houseplants are also very popular and especially valuable for people who don’t have a garden or find it hard to access.
Growing your own produce with your children is a good way to show them where some of their food originates, plus it’s another way to encourage them to try vegetables they’ve not eaten before.
Even if you don’t have a lot of space, you can grow salad leaves, herbs or chillies on a balcony or a window sill, or be more adventurous with tomatoes, strawberries and other produce if you have a garden.
The easiest vegetables to grow are salad leaves, tomatoes, dwarf and climbing beans, peas, courgettes and potatoes, and think about how much money you could save by growing your own!
The Royal Horticultural Society have great advice for growing all sorts of vegetables https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/grow-your-own/vegetables
If you’re looking for garden ideas whilst we’re in lockdown, Gardeners’ World have some top tips:
A lot of the advice is about making do with what you have, rather than a special trip to the garden centre.