Each year the RHS run National Gardening Week, the country’s biggest celebration of gardening. This year it is taking place from Monday 27 April – Sunday 3 May 2020, and the RHS have picked the theme ‘Keep growing at home’ to encourage people to get out into their outdoor space as a way to look after both their mental and physical health. This is especially important during lockdown when we are all spending much more time at home; getting outdoors is a really good mood boosting exercise.
Gardening and being around plants can be a form of therapy and is associated with positive emotions, self-esteem and hope. The process of planting and nurturing plants can give people a sense of purpose and once the plants are thriving, a sense of achievement too.
Did you know, just spending 5 minutes a day working on your garden can boost your outdoorphins?
“Yes outdoorphins really are a thing! These microbes release the same feelings of happiness and energy as endorphins but they are found in soil*. Outdoorphins work as an antidepressant and are scientifically proven to lift moods and combat negative emotion.”
Spending time in the garden gives us the chance to escape the TV, our smartphones and laptops. A study in the UK showed that just 5 minutes in a green environment (like your garden) reduces depression in 71% of participants.
“Gardening is a way of caring for something; sometimes just the satisfaction of keeping a houseplant alive, and the responsibility that comes with it, is enough to give us a sense of purpose and pride.
Scientifically, there is evidence that suggests that there are two main modes of attention: focused attention, which is what we use when we are at work, and fascination, which is what we use when we take part in hobbies such as gardening. In this theory, too much focused attention can lead to stress, and fascination then plays a part in restoring our attention and alleviating that anxious feeling we get when we are put under too much pressure, or feel like we can’t cope.
Studies have also shown that humans are instinctively more at ease and relaxed within a natural environment.
On top of all that, plants release oxygen which helps our brains to function better.” David Domoney
No matter your age, working up a sweat in the garden is a fantastic way to get vital exercise for your heart. Mowing the lawn with a hand-push lawn mower, tending to weeds and planting gives combined stretching and reaching movements toning muscles and help improve balance, dexterity and hand-eye coordination.
What can you do indoors?
You don’t even need to be outdoors, something as simple as having a plant on your office desk or in a location where you spend a lot of time in your home can be of great benefit. A plant nearby can reduce stress and help you feel more energised and able to think more clearly. They also help reduce sickness whilst cleaning the air.
Nurturing indoor plants can be as fulfilling as getting outside and there is nothing better than seeing your plant flourish and grow while adding to the overall beauty of your home.
Our article on greening up your home is full of useful advice to get you started and help you choose the right houseplants.
Here’s a list of some of our favourite houseplants including wonderful air purifying plants featured on the NASAs best air cleaning houseplant list:
Aloe – Fantastic air purifying properties
Chamedorea (Parlour Palm) – A fantastic easy to care for palm
Chlorophytum (Spider Plant) – Great to brighten up those shelves of files
Crassula (Money Plant) – Easy to care for in bright light
Dracaena (Dragon Tree) – A great specimen plant for the office that has air purifying properties too
Philodendron – So many varieties will fit great into office spaces
Sansevieria (Snake Plant) – The easiest of all to care for with great air purifying properties
Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily) – Great for a shadier spot
Succulents – Great for creating a collection along the windowsill
Zamioculcas (ZZ Plant) – Easy to care for and loves bright light or shade
It’s easy to get started!
‘Green Nurturing’ can be enjoyed all year round literally anywhere – you could be indoors in a small flat or outside in a huge garden, it really doesn’t matter. You don’t need to be knowledgeable in the garden, there are so many activities that you can try. From a small project like growing herbs on your windowsill or weeding a garden bed, to a larger project for example creating a new garden border or getting creative with interesting and unusual houseplants. If you like the idea of gardening but you don’t have your own garden, there are many community gardens that would appreciate your assistance, find more information on community gardening here