Why do people like gardening?
A few years ago I switched on the TV one evening and was greeted by Monty Don on Gardeners World. I sat and scoffed at what I saw… Monty’s unrealistic and unachievable garden. I thought how gardening is really difficult to understand never mind getting results that look half decent. Why do people bother with gardening at all? There’s so much jargon, the plant names are confusing, it seems very complicated and if you pardon the pun, I couldn’t see the wood for the trees.
Fast forward a year or so, and I was in a dark place. I had recently experienced terrible personal loss, was struggling to cope day to day, wasn’t enjoying life and I’m pretty sure other people weren’t enjoying my company either. I had a headache that wouldn’t go away and was 3 days into that constant dull pain, it was making me nauseous. I glanced into the garden and saw a lot of weeds overtaking my nice pretty flowers. So, I thought 20 minutes of gardening wasn’t going to do me any harm. I got my trowel and knee pad out and set to work. 3 hours later I came back inside feeling like a new woman, the weight of the world had lifted from my shoulders and that headache…. What headache?!
I could smile again, I felt lighter and brighter, lifted. Not only had gardening helped my physical health, but it had drastically improved my mental health.
The power of nature
This experience of almost-instant health improvement got me thinking about how gardening is more.
It is more than someone’s huge, gorgeous expensive and unrealistic garden. It is more than confusing jargon. It led me to the question “Can gardening be a path to happiness, to healthiness and maybe even to contentedness?”
I started to do some research online. What I found filled me with happiness and I knew I was on the right path. So many people have shared their stories, like I have shared mine with you. I discovered that there are a lot of scientific studies, real facts about gardening and our health. So many fantastic facts, they’ll come in a blog post of their own.
I hope reading this has helped you, however you feel today. And I do hope that you might go into the garden this weekend with an open mind and hopefully you’ll return to the house with a happy soul.
Are you interested in finding about other peoples experiences with gardening and mental/physical health improvement? Here are a few stories and articles that I found noteworthy.
Psychology Today - 10 Mental Health Benefits of Gardening
Thrive (the gardening for health charity) - Why Gardening is Good for our Health
The National Garden Scheme - Gardens and Coronavirus report