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Social side of gardening is just as healthy

By Features Reporter

Alstroemeria. Picture: Adam Pasco Media
Alstroemeria. Picture: Adam Pasco Media

Simply pottering around your plot, nurturing plants and being lost in the moment can be very relaxing, providing time for mindful contemplation.

But gardening doesn’t have to be a lonely or solitary affair, with great benefit derived from bringing people together to talk gardening, sharing their gardening experiences and the crops and flowers they grow.

Togetherness has great value for our mental wellbeing, relieving boredom and providing opportunities to interact with others. Joining a gardening club and enjoying talks and events at your local garden centre brings like-minded gardeners together.

They are a place to share gardening ideas and experiences as well as learn valuable skills and discover exciting new plants.

More community gardens are popping-up around the country too, providing opportunities for people to garden together and share produce, improving their levels of activity, physical, mental and social health. For many this leads to improving diet and consumption of fruit and vegetables, helping with weight loss, decreasing stress, improving mood and levels of energy, plus benefits for integration and independence, local communities and the economy.

With so much to gain it’s no wonder health professionals recommend gardening for therapy and rehabilitation, with measurable reductions to local healthcare resources and budgets as a result.

Many groups also run shows that bring people together to celebrate growing and creative achievements. They may run outings to beautiful gardens and events where you can enjoy a day out in great company, making new gardening friends.

Got a glut of produce? Share it with fellow gardeners and others.
Got a glut of produce? Share it with fellow gardeners and others.

Interacting with others has valuable social and community value, combating loneliness, and improving health and wellbeing.

Plants provide a great opportunity to engage with others to share your love of gardening. Many gardening adventures have started with a single plant, sparking a journey of discovery and lifelong passion for gardening.

And there’s nothing better than learning about new plants from someone who has grown them, sharing their hands-on knowledge to give you confidence to nurture them too. Flourishing plants create lasting friendships, plus an outlet for creativity and expression.

And when ‘grow your own’ endeavours result in bumper harvests, why not share these with friends, neighbours or charitable groups in your area, along with your favourite recipe ideas for them to try.

Whether you’re swapping seeds, seedlings and spare plants, passing on problem solving advice, growing and gardening with others, or gifting beautiful plants to friends, by sharing our love of gardening we’ll all be growing together.

Plums aplenty? Don't keep them all to yourself...
Plums aplenty? Don't keep them all to yourself...

Did you know?

Do you fancy getting hands-on and helping in one of the finest gardens in the country? Many gardens welcome volunteers who can help in their gardens, including the National Trust and Royal Horticultural Society which value the work of the thousands of volunteers who join them each year.

Some need garden guides who can meet and interact with visitors to answer gardening queries. You’ll make new friends, work in amazing places, and help a great cause too. Approach gardens in your area to offer your services, or contact organisations directly.

Plants of the month: the gift of growing

Plants are the perfect gift, whether for family, friends, to celebrate birthdays and special occasions, or just to treat yourself!

Not only does giving a living plant encourage someone to care and nurture their gift, it’s also something that goes on giving, providing enjoyment for so much longer than cut flowers.

Plants grow and flourish – possibly for many years to come – proving a constant reminder of the person who gave it to them.

So share your love of gardening with others by giving a plant they’ll enjoy and cherish.

Garden centres and nurseries are full of beautiful plants this month, some with meaningful and personal names, so why not start your friends off on their own gardening adventure.

Look out for plants carrying seasonal colour, fruits and berries such as Chinese Plumbago (Ceratostigma ‘Forest Blue’ AGM), long-flowering alstoemeria, bluebeard (Caryopteris), hydrangea, hebe, Camellia sasanqua ‘Versicolor’, pansies, violas and heathers.

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