Gardening for wellness

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“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food, and medicine for the soul.”

Luther Burbank

We do many things to maintain our mental and physical wellness. Among these many things are hobbies, arts and crafts, physical exercises, yoga, meditation and so forth. These work differently for different people in different ways.

Among them, gardening is a hobby that has great mental and physical benefits that helps maintain our wellness. But how does it work? How can gardening help us to maintain our mental and physical health?

Let us find out.

Physical health benefits of gardening

It is exercise

Gardening cannot be done by just sitting around comfortably. It is a task that needs to be done with some hard work. Digging the ground, moving pots, planting, pruning trees, cleaning the garden, collecting dead leaves, mixing soil and compost, shopping for garden needs, arranging the garden and so forth are tasks that require a great number of physical activity.

Hence gardening is good physical exercise for the entire body.

Mental health benefits of gardening

Relaxing

Growing a garden is relaxing. To see plants grow, bloom, and bear flowers, fruits, and vegetables is greatly relaxing. It brings happiness. To watch wildlife that is attracted to your garden is relaxing like no other.

Teaches you the valuable lesson of patience

One of the best lessons that gardening teaches us is patience. When some plants refuse to grow, some wither and die, and when some are destroyed by snails, bugs, or fungus, your heart might break. But always remember that there is always a second chance. There is always a new beginning. There is always hope. Gardening teaches us the lessons of hope, new beginnings, and second chances, never giving up on hope, and patience in the hard way.

A true gardener never gives up; they will always keep trying until they are successful.

The beauty of the garden adds beauty to the soul

When your roses and pentas bloom and when your little delicate ferns turn a new velvet leaf, you learn to appreciate them. You learn to see the beauty of the smallest little wildlife in your garden including dragonflies, little snails, and the smallest bug. You admire every single leaf that comes out of your plants.

Gardening teaches compassion

A true gardener is a compassionate person. He/she understands the balance and harmony between humans and nature and sees the delicate, strong, and invisible bond between every living being whilst seeing the value of every living being. A true gardener sees the value of little worms, bacteria, and insects.

It brings satisfaction

To see that your hard work is finally successful, slow yet growing is a satisfaction that cannot be exchanged for money. A garden is a place where you can be proud of your hard work.

Planning and organising; exercise for the mind

Gardening includes planning and organising. Starting from managing your expenses, deciding which pots and containers to use for which plants, where to plant certain plants, how to match colours, sizes, heights, and even types of plants, planning planting and harvesting seasons, deciding when to prune, when to add fertiliser and when to water involve lots of planning.

This is an exercise for the mind.

Also, remember that you do not need acres of land to have a successful garden. The smallest space can be turned into a little green haven. You only need some imagination, planning, will, and of course green thumbs.

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.”

 – Alfred Austin

By Ama H. Vanniarachchy