Urban gardening could significantly improve our health. Pass the trowel…
Think all cacti are pricks? Think again.
By Sophie Swift
‘Scientists have recently discovered that spending two hours a week in nature is linked to better health and wellbeing’, according to a recent article published by The Independent. Similarly, RHS Gardening have noted that ‘the number of calories burnt from 30 minutes of gardening is comparable to playing badminton, volleyball or practising yoga’.
Due to these findings, it’s not at all surprising that doctors and the NHS have taken to prescribing time with nature as a non-medical, one-size-fits-all ‘treatment’. It’s being prescribed to tackle anxiety, loneliness, depression, as well as physical ailments such as heart disease, cancer, and musculoskeletal conditions. An independent charity, known as The King’s Fund, is working towards improving the wider health and social care systems in England. The King’s Fund has released a report looking into the impact gardens and gardening can have on health and wellbeing, and they have noted that working in gardens can promote ‘reduced levels of obesity’ due to high levels of physical activity, as well as a ‘higher self-related mental health’.
And while some of us may have picked up a trowel for the first time during lockdown (#guilty), if all of these benefits really are true, how can we incorporate gardening into our post-lockdown – dare we say it, ‘normal’ – routines?
With more and more of us living in cities, finding green spaces can be considered a challenge. But no matter what the size of your outside (or even inside!) space, we’ve gathered together a few tips and tricks on how to get your fingers nice and green.
Centre your garden design around portable containers. If your urban space is on the smaller side, we recommend using movable pots or, if pots aren’t your thing, tupperware is actually a great alternative! Having a garden that is mobile means you can switch plants out with the seasons – this means you have a beautiful, colourful garden all year round, no matter what the size!
PANE = GAIN
If you have no outdoor access because of city living, create your own urban jungle by lining your windows! This is especially great for south-facing windows; fill them with window boxes or pots and watch your plants grow – as you, no doubt, start to glow.
CACTI AREN’T PRICKS
An increasingly popular option for those new to gardening is to begin with houseplants. Now, we know many studies recommend getting outside and focusing your gardening out there, but indoor gardening has its health benefits too. Having something to look after other than yourself can really focus the mind. RHS Gardening have noted that looking after house plants can massively relieve stress and improve your mood
GET TOGETHER, RIGHT NOW
If you’re an urban dweller, another way to get involved in gardening is to look into community gardens in your local area. Social Farms and Gardens is a UK wide charity supporting communities to farm, garden and grow together. They have a massive presence in the North East; from Berwick to Gateshead, Sunderland, to Durham, community gardens really are right on our doorsteps! Social Farms and Gardens offer a variety of ways to garden and welcome people of all ages and backgrounds.
Already a gardening goddess? Share your tips and tricks with us @high_life_north