There is one proven way to lighten the mood and relax the mind, and the solution lies no further than the back garden.
Research from the Horticultural Trade Association suggests that 20 minutes spent outside each day, whether just enjoying green space or tending to plants, can help reduce stress and improve our mood. Find out why gardening is good for you…
A physical workout
Gardening can help our physical well-being by providing a great form of all-round exercise, with digging, raking and mowing utilising all major muscle groups. Add to that all the bending and stretching required for pruning and weeding, and all the walking involved in getting round your garden, over the course of a year you’ll have experienced a great outdoor workout. It all adds up and is probably why avid gardeners are amongst the most fit and supple of their generations.
Calm the mind
And it’s not just the physical benefits that a garden can bring. Spending time outdoors, after the hustle and bustle of our daily lives can help calm the mind. Find a quiet spot for your most comfortable piece of garden furniture, or maybe just lie back on the cool, fresh grass, but most importantly leave your phone behind! Breathe in the peace, listen to the sounds of nature and inhale the scents and fragrances that surround you.
Clean air machines
And the benefits plants can bring aren’t restricted to the garden. Considered to be ‘Clean Air Machines’, houseplants can also have a huge impact on mood and concentration. Continuously working, they help filter out pollutants and release oxygen and moisture into the atmosphere, adding to the overall health benefits offered by mother nature.
Growing your own
And if you add ‘growing your own’ into the equation we believe there’s no better combination; fresh air, exercise and home grown produce.
You’ll find lots of ideas for growing your own in our Open Skies Glass House, from fruit trees and berries to salads and vegetables; crops to grow in beds and borders as well as choices for container gardening, perfect for the patio. One of the easiest crops to achieve are herbs, and following on from our last blog on creating your very own herb haven here are a few more of our favourite choices and - if you’ve not ventured into the world of grow your own before - an easy way to take those first steps…
A signature flavour of the Mediterranean, oregano is an easy-to-grow hardy perennial. This bushy, dark green herb can grow to 2ft tall and its leaves can be used fresh or dried as a store cupboard ingredient. It makes an excellent seasoning for egg dishes, meats, poultry and breads and can be used in pastas, pizza toppings, sauces, soups and stews. Enjoys a light well-drained soil in full sun.
- Oregano is a natural insect repellent
A hardy biennial grown on a yearly basis and a must for any herb garden. Whilst the curly leaf variety makes a great garnish, flat leaf parsley is a popular choice for cooks thanks to its stronger flavour. Parsley makes a great addition to spice up veggie dishes and as a tasty ingredient for pesto, tabbouleh and salad dressings. Prefers full sunlight and fertile soil.
- As a natural anti-bacterial remedy parsley can bolster your immune system& neutralise bad breath!
Common thyme with its attractive bushy shape is the easiest to grow variety of this hardy perennial, but for a more zesty citrus flavour try lemon thyme or lime thyme. In the kitchen, thyme pairs well with other herbs such as parsley, onion, garlic and ginger and on its own, its tiny, pungent leaves add a mild tang to fish, pork, poultry and vegetables. Enjoys a well-drained, light soil in full sun.
- A good source of antioxidant vitamin A, beneficial to eye, skin, hair, and nail health. Sip thyme-infused tea for an effective natural remedy against colds, coughs, and sore throats
A great hardy herb that is very easy to grow. Its robust nature means it can be quite invasive so best grown in its own container. Mint is often used to season salads and sauces as well as a healthy addition to flavour tea. And as a garnish, add a sprig of peppermint leaves to berries, fruits, coffee or hot cocoa. Enjoys moist, fertile soil and plenty of sun.
- As a herbal remedy, peppermint tea can help clear sinus congestion, sooth a headache and relax you after a hard day.