Get gardening to boost your mental health
It’s World Mental Health Day on 10th October and this year’s theme is ‘mental health for all’. Many studies have shown that gardening can do wonders for your health and wellbeing. It can help reduce depression, anxiety and stress, and improve your mood, concentration and positive outlook.
In a survey of nearly 2,000 people by Squire’s Garden Centres, 94% of respondents said that gardening was good for their mental health and wellbeing, and 66% said that it was a great stress reliver.
There are so many reasons why gardening is great for positive mental health, here are just some of them:
- It allows you to nurture nature – Growing and caring for plants is very rewarding, it gives you purpose as you’ll have something to look after and watch grow.
- It’s enjoyable – A hobby like gardening can help you forget your worries for a while and change your mood. Achieving something, no matter how small, can boost your self-esteem.
- It provides focus –Gardening helps to ground you in the present and provides focus, allowing you to notice the small things like colours, textures and the sounds around you. Surrounding yourself with plants can really lift your mood and spirit.
- It gets you moving – Gardening is great exercise. Activities such as wedding, digging and raking will all help to keep you fit and well. Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you to concentrate, sleep, and feel better.
- It gives you time to think – You don’t have to dash around in the garden, simply sit and enjoy its beauty and take time to contemplate nature. Being outside in the fresh air gives you the chance to rest and recharge your brain.
What to plant to boost your mental health
- Plants for wildlife
Welcome wildlife to your garden by growing plants that attract bees, butterflies and birds. The gentle buzzing of bees can bring a sense of calm, and listening to bird song is soothing and uplifting. Some of the best plants for wildlife include:
- Verbena (Vervain)
- Helenium (Sneezeweed)
- Buddleja (Butterfly bush)
- Choisya ternata (Mexican orange blossom)
- Lonicera (Honeysuckle)
Plants for wildlife – Verbena, Choisya ternata & Honeysuckle
- Plants for colour
It’s hard not to be cheered up by bright colours, so inject a splash of colour into your garden this autumn by choosing bold, bright plants such as:
- Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan)
- Japanese anemones
Plants for colour – Chrysanthemum, Hebe & Heather
- Plants to eat
It’s so rewarding to eat produce that you’ve grown yourself. Here’s a range of robust vegetables that are suitable for growing this autumn:
- Spring Onions
Plants to eat – Carrots, radishes and spring onions can all be grown in the autumn
- Plant a tree
Create a beautiful focal point in your garden by planting a tree. They add height and interest to your garden and are very low maintenance. Trees not only attract pollinators and birds but they also improve air quality and protect your garden from wind damage. Some of the best trees for small gardens include:
- Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)
- Mountain Ash (Sorbus ‘Autumn Spire’)
- Hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata ‘Paul’s Scarlet’)
- Crab Apple (Malus)
- Smooth Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis ‘Snowflakes’)
Plant a tree – Acer, Mountain Ash, Hawthorn, Crab Apple
- Plants for the home
You don’t need to have an outdoor space to get into gardening. Many plants can be grown indoors. All you need are some pots and compost, a sunny windowsill and occasional watering. Some of the most popular houseplants include:
- Cacti & Succulents
- Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)
- Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera deliciosa)
- Orchids (Orchidaceae)
Plants for the home – Aloe Vera, Orchid, Cactus, Cyclamen