This article is a special feature by David Domoney, professional horticulturalist and television presenter, and our Ambassador for Miracle-Gro.
If you’ve often thought that connecting with nature lifts your mood but couldn’t explain why, this article is for you. Perhaps you’re a green thumb at gardening, or maybe you’re all thumbs in the garden. Either way, gardening can enrich both mind and body and play a key part in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Here’s why you should make 2020 the year you garden your way to better health.
Growing a healthier you
Whether inside or out, growing plants makes us feel happier. A study by Texas A&M University found that reconnecting with nature and watching things grow has a positive impact on the quality of life.
Gardening is the golden ticket to so many beneficial rewards. Through gardening, we have access to the ‘Five ways to mental wellbeing’ recommended in the Mental Capital and Wellbeing report by the Government Office for Science. These are:
Connecting with others
The simple act of being outside can connect you with others. Not only does gardening open doors into a community of like-minded people, but it also sparks conversations with neighbours and people within your neighbourhood. Gardening gives a backdrop for socialising with your loved ones too; spending time in the garden with members of your family or your friend group provides the perfect setting for some quality conversation.
Being “mindful” is taking the time to notice the little things that are all around us, that we sometimes take for granted. Through growing plants, we witness every day the smallest of changes and take note of beautiful sights, unusual sounds and the delicate fragrances that surround us.
Opportunities to learn
One of the most rewarding things that gardening gives us is an opportunity to learn. None of us become a virtuoso overnight, it’s a process. And that process can lead to higher feelings of wellbeing, self-esteem, hope and purpose, according to the NHS.
Tending to your garden can be quite a physical undertaking. There are things to trim, mow, and prune. Through gardening, there’s opportunity to work your whole body and this physical activity is so good for us. According to nutritionists at Loughborough University, digging can burn up to 200 calories per hour!
Giving to others
We feel good when we do good things for other people and, once again, gardening comes up trumps for this. Whether it’s volunteering your time to better communal green spaces, bolster local wildlife, growing flowers to give someone, or mowing the lawn for your kids to play on, through gardening we contribute to something bigger than ourselves.
Not only do these elements of gardening make us feel better on the inside, they have physical benefits too. And your garden’s biggest benefit on physical health is that it’s a non-stop source for better nutrition.
Gardens can give us access to fresh homegrown food and encourages us to diversify our diets by growing new fruit and vegetables! If growing your own is a new step, fear not. You can incorporate a few easy growers, like herbs and salad crops, in amongst ornamentals or in pots to start.
This way, you can sample some of your own crops to ignite an interest in growing more. These plants can also be grown indoors on your kitchen windowsill.
Houseplants bring the joy of gardening inside our homes and have even been proven to clean our air of toxins. The average person in the UK now spends around 90% of their time indoors, so the quality of our indoor air matters a great deal.
Growing a healthier world
Of course, it’s not just our own health that can reap the benefits of gardening. Tending to your garden keeps soils healthy. Now gardeners have the option to garden sustainably without comprising on the end result and making a change about how you approach gardening like this can make it a far more gratifying experience.
That’s where Miracle-Gro’s Performance Organics range comes in. This range takes the best in performance and marries it with an organic and sustainable gardening method. It’s the best of both worlds and is going to give a lot of people a chance to shake up their gardening routine to benefit the health of the environment—with ideas of reusing the bag even listed on the back of the packet!
Local wildlife populations are key to ensure your garden remains healthy and in balance. For instance, hedgehogs are known to be great garden bouncers; protecting our hard work from slugs, but it doesn’t just stop there. The more wildlife you attract into your garden the more your plants benefit.
Birds, butterflies and ladybirds all play their part in keeping pests in check and keeping plants looking their best. So, their health directly feeds into that of your garden’s, and for this reason, more and more gardeners are reaching for gardening products that are wildlife-friendly.
Many of the Miracle-Gro Performance Organic products are bee, pet and child-friendly too. Pour this high-performance liquid plant food into pots, containers, beds and borders to grow plants that are twice the size and this plant-based recipe is great for vegan gardeners as well.
However you focus your gardening efforts toward health for 2020, there is so much to be gained from gardening. Start small if you’re new to it, even germinating seeds onto some damp kitchen roll will ignite confidence to keep learning and engaging in the great outdoors.