With gardening being declared the new wonder drug by the BBC’s Health Correspondent, Nick Triggle this week, we thought we’d take a closer look at these mighty claims.

Of course, here at the Garden Style Company, we were in on the great revelation all along. We know all too well that gardening has crazy benefits for body and mind. We know how some deep breaths in the fresh air of the early morning can fill our senses and soothe the soul before the onslaught of the day begins. We know equally that a quick potter about with a watering can and a trowel after a long day stuck in the office, can make us feel like a human being again rather than a machine.

Exercise
We also know that gardening is a great form of cardiac exercise, a great stress reliever, and has the added bonus side effect of improving your diet thanks to the vegetable growing process. Win, win win, we say.

The BBC claim that digging, raking, and mowing for half an hour can be as intensive as a 2K run. Crikey, pass me the rake!

They also claim that there are many much more subtle benefits to the green fingered habit. Improved balance, anxiety and stress relief – all found to be improved by gardening – especially useful to the more experienced amongst us. As it is such a gentle form of exercise, gardening can also be great exercise for those of us with additional needs or physical restrictions.


Report Findings
The King’s Fund report, Gardens and Health: Implications for Policy and Practice, published in May, advocates for ‘social prescribing’ and claims that gardening is the most useful way to improve wellbeing. The report goes on to describe how gardening has been shown to improve wellbeing and peace of mind in dementia and end of life patient care.

There is something intrinsically human about being outdoors and at one with nature. In fact, around half of adults state that gardening is part of their downtime activities. With another significant amount stating that visits to formal gardens and watching gardening shows on TV are also a big part of their leisure time.

In short, there has never been a better time to get out there and pull your gardening gloves on.

Wellbeing
Recent years have seen the health and wellbeing market positively explode. It seems we can’t get enough of health bloggers, YouTube meditations and spiralising. We gardeners however, know that some down time in a green space – whether it’s your own, or a more public park or garden – really is the best way to regain calm and tranquillity. Next time you’re in the pits of an epic stress session at work, try it out for yourself. Take a walk to your nearest park and let the power of nature work its magic.


Cunning Plan
If you don’t have a garden, and you have a bit of spare time on your hands, why not volunteer your expert gardening skills to someone who could really benefit? Look out for schemes that pair willing volunteers with elderly folk who need a little help when it comes to the garden. This can only double the effect of gardening on your mental wellbeing – not only are you getting all the magic of nature, but you’re doing your bit for other human beings as well. Perfect.