Stories from the Barn
A hive of activity in the Hampshire downlands
The Importance of Gardening For Our Wellbeing
The Importance of gardening.
There can be no doubt that the British are a nation of gardeners. Even if we don’t have a garden of our own to attend we like to watch gardening programmes and visit open gardens. The importance of gardening in these tricky times cannot be undersetimated.
In March 2020, during one of the best Springs in decades, garden centres had to close their doors. The result was the destruction of hundreds of millions of carefully reared plants that were destined to be planted out by happy gardeners up and down the country.
The negative impact of this on peoples sense of well being was huge and surprising. So it was decided in May 2020 to allow garden centres to be one of the first retailers to re-open. The outside space with social distancing etc deemed it be a safe environment to browse in. The powers that be also decided that having access to plants, seeds and composts would keep us at home.
Suddenly gardening became the hot hobby and social media was awash with us all showing off our produce and flowers. What a wonderfully uplifting experience for us all. From indoor plants to balcony tubs, small gardens to large allotments, growing things was absorbing us all.
Using gardening to promote physical and mental health.
The stresses of lockdown mean that many people are rediscovering the appeal of gardening. This is something the charity group ‘Thrive’ have known about for a long time. Thrive are on a mission to help us understand how gardening can improve our lives. There is a growing body of evidence that tells us that gardening can benefit our mental health. There are a number of reasons that maybe explain this.
- Just being out of doors feeling the wind, sun and yes even rain on our skin, decreases levels of anxiety.
- Becoming absorbed in a mechanical task, using sets of muscles (gently does it) we don’t normally engage
- Being alert to different smells, triggers different responses in our brains
- Being alert to the different sounds of nature, birdsong, insects, wind through trees also triggers different brain responses
- Giving us time away from our screens – essential
- Providing an opportunity to break away from work critical for home workers
- The feeling of accomplishment when we grow things lifts our self esteem
- Being amongst beautiful things with lots of colour
- Having something to share with others
- Doing something positive not just for ourselves but to make our environment a better place
- Learning new skills give us another sense of accomplishment, yet again raising our self esteem
The importance of growing vegetables.
Nothing beats the thrill of growing something to harvest and eat. Being able to pick say your tomatoes, dig your potatoes or gather those tasty young beans is the best feeling ever. The sense of accomplishment, not to mention the wonderful taste of freshly picked vegetables cannot be underestimated. All this is possible from pots, you do not need a full blown garden. Then there is the fun of sharing your success or disaster with others. Growing vegetables is a community thing. We all have a glut of produce at some time, what is nicer than to be able to give it away. We will post out on our own efforts to grow vegetables this year.
Plant for the good of the bees, butterflies and other pollinators.
We all like to feel like we are doing some good. Planting a garden to attract as many pollinators as possible into our gardens is one of the best things we can do. It is easy to attract insects by choosing flowering plants that will attract them, where the insects go the birds are sure to follow. Plant a garden for bees and butterflies.
The importance of gardening in lockdown.
Nurturing plants is a proven way to divert our attention from the stresses of life. Although lockdown has placed limitations on our movements we can use gardening as a way to look forward to better days to come.
Now the days are getting longer (yes they are honestly). In January each day gains between 90 seconds and 2 minutes of daylight a day. This adds up to a whopping 10+ minutes each week. By the time we get to February we gain about 2 and a half minutes a day. Plants start to prepare for Spring and that is a signal for us that Winter is on the turn.
Therefore although we might have physical limitations on what we can do, mentally we can reconnect with the cycle of plants in our garden and escape the stress and anxiety that Coronavirus and lockdown restrictions have placed on us.
We will continue to keep abreast of news from our gardens and what we can do to help ourselves and others feel better about life in the coming months.