'The garden suggests there might be a place where we can meet nature halfway.' – Michael Pollan (2007)

Gardening is an activity that some may enjoy and others find slightly 'tedious' perhaps, unless you have experienced it for yourself. During this period of COVID we found ourselves staying at home more often than not, and experimenting with things at home. For me personally, spending a lot of time outside and in the garden gave me the idea to take up a little gardening activity here and there.

Watching my grandfather enjoy the activity I was curious as to what a war veteran found so interesting about plants and flowers, but then I started seeing that there is more to gardening than we think.

'My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.' – Claude Monet

We Have No Control

It may sound unnerving to a few, having no sense of control over the result of what you grow, nature has a mind of its own. Even if we plant a seed, the result can look different than what we expect, which is in turn a freeing experience after the initial uncomfortable sensation.

Photo: Proven Winners Plants
Photo: Proven Winners Plants

According to Seth J. Gillihan, who wrote about his understanding of gardening and what it does for your mental health in Psychology Today, we can create the best environment and let go of the rest as 'nature takes its course'. There's something liberating about letting things come into place themselves after you've created the space for them to.

Strategising

It may not seem like so but gardening is a great way to work on our organisational skills, thinking of plant placements, where to plant which, the colour combinations, aesthetic appeal and so many factors to keep in mind when mapping out ones garden.

Slowly but surely we can brush up our planning and strategising skills, keeping notes of saplings, seeds, counting them and then following up as it requires patience, bringing us to our next benefit...

Patience & Acceptance

Patience and acceptance aren't biological gifts, but are worked on consistently until we reach a place where we can feel satisfied with the way things are, without having an impending sense of urgency. With gardening, we can both consciously and subconsciously build our patience.

Photo: A Piece of Rainbow
Photo: A Piece of Rainbow

As we all know, nature waits for no one, nor can it be rushed, things take time, such as the seasons transitioning. With this activity we need to mentally prepare ourselves not to expect instant results, but to appreciate to process of growing something which continues to bloom

Physical Activity & Psychological Wellbeing

Staying physically active has proved to have many numerous health benefits for our health, including our mental health. When we focus on gardening we may subconsciously be spending more time out doors, moving around and enjoying nature (a necessary break from the screen). The movement can help break a monotonous cycle by changing up our routine and adding in something productive we could invest ourselves in!

De-Cluttering

Fresh air, flowers, and greenery improve air quality and humidity levels; also managing to reduce stress, anxiety and minor ailments. Having plants around our homes and workplaces promote productivity and concentration, also resulting in reducing negativity, keeping an overall calmer and happier environment.

According to Deborah Wood, the the director of Premier Polytunnels, “Gardening has proven to lower stress levels, lower the risk of dementia, and reduce feelings of anxiety. Seeing a garden that you have tended and nurtured thrive is definitely rewarding and gives you a sense of pride,”

Gardening is a way to escape the stress of everyday life and clear our minds.

Photo:  Stocksy/Jovo Jovanovic
Photo: Stocksy/Jovo Jovanovic

Perfectionism, what's that?

When we go into the garden or body of nature, perfectionism goes out the window! We have no control or compulsion over nature, unable to change the outcome or predict it. Not only do we adapt our mindset to continue growing and prospering, we are also able to let go of any misconceptions surrounding the 'ideal image' when referring to our selected garden.

With nature we cannot control nor can we exercise judgement but we can simply just be.

Photo: Joyful Butterfly
Photo: Joyful Butterfly

When it comes to gardening there are numerous health benefits which we may not even be aware of. Whether we want to be involved in a new project, create something, clear our minds or take a much needed break. It could be something new to try and super fun.

Sowing the seeds for success in achieving greater things can be a relevant metaphor; happy gardening!

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