Running out of things to do in self-isolation during the coronavirus pandemic? It’s the perfect opportunity to get in the garden. The benefits of gardening go beyond providing us with food, limiting the number of trips we make to the local shops, and whole-body movement. It is a therapeutic activity during this anxious time, it teaches us patience, anticipation, appreciation and so much more. If growing veggies are not the kids’ ‘thing,’ encourage them to grow flowers that will attract beneficial insects. Happy gardening!

 

1. Movement

 

‘Gardening requires lots of water –
most of it in the form of perspiration’
– Lou Erickson

 

Digging, weeding, raking and sweeping are all great workouts. What’s more, they use a variety of muscles and offer whole body movement. And like other outdoor activities, it gives a boost of vitamin D in the easiest and healthiest way.

 

2. Therapeutic

 

‘There is something incredibly restorative
about being in a garden,
particularly a kitchen garden’
 – Janelle McCulloch

 

Gardening promotes a sense of well being. It has the ability to dissipate tension and stress. So much so, that for some, simply looking at nature is known to lower the heart rate almost instantaneously.

 

3. Patience

 

‘A garden is a grand teacher.
It teaches patience and careful watchfulness;
it teaches industry and thrift; above all, it teaches entire trust’
– Gertrude Jekyll

 

Gardening taught previous generations the precious virtue of patience. Sowing, watering, growing and harvesting all had their time and season. Gardening taught them that, to reap, you had to wait. In turn, the process of waiting develops patience.

 

4. Anticipation

 

‘One of the most delightful things about a garden
is the anticipation it provides’
– W. E. Johns

 

Each stage of a plant’s growth builds anticipation. Our initial anticipation is the emergence of the seedling from the soil in which the seed was buried. The seedlings rapid growth provides the next round of anticipation, followed by the formation of buds, flowers and fruits. Harvesting is then the ultimate anticipation.

 

5. Appreciation

 

‘Salads taste better when they come straight from the garden
to your salad bowl. What’s more, the experience of growing your own
may make you appreciate it even more
– Susan Wittig Albert

 

If you have assembled, built or made something from scratch you know the amount of pride, sense of accomplishment and connection you feel. It is the same feeling when we grow our own. Growing our own is a humbling experience.

 

6. Inspiration

 

‘When you have a crop you grew yourself,
you take such pride in it, and you learn to cook with it’
– Julie Coon

 

When you have grown something yourself, you’ll then want to be able to relish it! Growing our own fruits and vegetables inspires us to find ways to eat them. When we have an abundance of a particular produce, we are inspired to find new and innovative ways to eat it.

 

7. Senses

 

‘Salads taste better when they come straight
from the garden to your salad bowl. What’s more,
the experience of growing your own
may make you appreciate it even more’
– Susan Wittig Albert

 

What’s the one benefit of gardening that everyone agrees on? Aroma and taste! When it comes to taste and aroma, freshly picked garden greens, herbs, tomatoes, fruits … will always win over mass produced fresh produce.

 

8. Nourish

 

‘Fresh, tasty, nutritious food is our birthright.
And what better way to have great food
than to grow it yourself?’  
– Charlie Nardozzi

 

Have you ever experienced being in a farmers’ market, seeing fresh produce and feeling the urge to just bite into a piece of fruit there and then? or keen to take the fresh produce home and immediately make a dish with it? Seeing fresh produce beacons us to eat it. It’s nature’s way of tempting us to eat a predominantly plant based diet.

 

9. Environment

 

‘The ultimate goal of farming is not to grow crops to nourish us,
but to nourish our planet, so it can continue
to nourish us for decades to come.’
 – Josephine Mollica

 

The great power of gardening is that in preserving the cycles, following the seasons, nourishing the soil, gardening can be Nature’s gift that keeps on giving.

 

10. Awe

 

‘The first act of awe,
when man was struck with the beauty or wonder of Nature,
was the first spiritual experience.’
 – Henryk Skolimowski

 

In the modern world we’re all too often gazing at our computer screens and smart phones. Gardening connects us to the world around us. When we stop to think how a small seed can provide multiple pickings from one sow, how a seed can grow into a strong, tall tree bearing an abundance of fruit or at the variety of edible plants, we cannot help feeling in awe of Nature.

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