If you don't have a garden, this is a good time to start one. If you live in a house with a small backyard or in an apartment with no yard at all, you can still enjoy the benefits of gardening. Grow flowers and fresh herbs in pot and windows. Or join a gardening club. There, you'll meet others with a similar desire and you can help out in their garden. Many larger cities have public gardens and allow volunteers to help tend to the many plants that grow there. Some cities even have garden space available to rent for a nominal fee each year.
So why should you want to spend time in a garden? The biggest reason is that it's just plain fun to watch something grow; to help it along and nourish it until it produces fresh, delicious vegetable or beautiful blossoming and fragrant flowers. But gardening is also a natural stress reliever. "Whether you have a small patio to decorate or a vast amount of space to tend, the act of making your particular stretch of nature into a haven can be a stress reliever in itself, and the garden that you create can bring you even more peace." Several studies have been done on this subject. In one study, the participants were asked to either read for 30 minutes or work in a garden for 30 minutes. At then of the half hour, both groups showed reduced stress but those that chose to work in the garden showed a greater decline in their stress levels. If you need more proof as to why gardening is a great stress-reliever, here are a few additional benefits that one gets from tending to a garden.
1. Sunlight. Getting outside into some natural sunlight lifts our moods. Humans, too, receive an influx of vitamin D from that sunlight and let's not forget about breathing in some nice fresh air! That's always a health-booster!
2. Getting in touch with nature. "Being in touch with nature and the great outdoors can help you feel more removed from the stressors of daily life. With the amount of time we spend indoors (at work, watching t.v., etc), many people feel an urge to connect with nature that goes unfulfilled." While you may not have time for a long camping trip, or an all-day hike outdoors, most humans can squeeze out 30 or 40 minutes at a time to work on tending to a garden.
3. Creating beauty. You don't need to be an artist to create a work of art. Having your own bit of beauty available as a place for meditation, contemplation, and relaxation can provide quite a bit of relief from stress. It’s all part of making your home a haven from stress.
4. Attracting interesting wildlife. Gardens draw butterflies, bees (Remember, they're good to have!), and birds, as well as the occasional toad or frog...especially if you put in a small pond. I think I remember my mom telling me that my second cousin Ralph Ribbit lives near you. Why not invite him over to your yard for a while? Frogs make lovely neighbors. Being able to to provide a safe habitat for these critters, whatever kinds your garden attracts, is fulfilling and helps the ecosystem thrive! it's a win-win for everyone.
If you can't get out into a garden to celebrate today, please plan on spending some time tending plant over the weekend. You'll feel better for doing it. But whatever your weekend plans include, please have some fun and, as always, plan on joining me back here on Monday for another week of blogs. Until then, Ralph and I wish you