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National Gardening Week 2022

The Lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, particularly those in the Spring, made many of us much more appreciative of our outdoor spaces with a lot of people spending more time gardening and others taking up the activity for the first time or with renewed enthusiasm.

National Gardening Week 2022 is held between 2nd and 8th of May and is run by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) to raise awareness of gardening and horticulture, and to encourage more people to take part in the healthy and productive outdoor activity of gardening.

Gardening provides us with numerous health benefits, both physical and mental. Obviously it is good exercise but it also encourages us to be more mindful and appreciative of our surroundings – outdoor sounds and the workings of nature. It can be really satisfying to see a seed that we have planted sprout and grow.

Gardening really can provide a full body work out – all that bending and stretching exercises and strengthens muscles and bones. It also helps to strengthen the heart, reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke. Tending our plants reduces stress and the activity can help to improve sleep levels too. More detailed information on the health benefits of gardening can be found here: The Benefits of Gardening

You don’t have to have a lot of space to garden; a balcony, patio or a windowsill will do! A packet of seeds is relatively cheap and you may even double the benefit by growing things you can eat. It is wonderful to have your own supply of fresh herbs or lettuce leaves to cut as you need them. It will save you money and reduce packaging waste too.

And of course, looking after your houseplants is gardening. Indoor plants are said to ‘clean’ the air by absorbing toxins and just looking at them can help to induce feelings of wellbeing as well as reducing blood pressure. Indoor plants are also helpful for those with dry skin conditions as they add moisture to the air. In addition they can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety and lower fatigue as well as generally improving focus on tasks.

New or lapsed gardeners may find the following tips from BBC Gardeners World useful: Gardening for Beginners - 10 Tips and for the indoor gardeners: Beginners Guide to Houseplants.

By Nicola Coughlin