Gardeners have long known that the garden, the outdoor space, the nature within it and exposure to fresh air, are elements that combine to combat stress.
And now there is the science to prove it. From a child to the elderly, from the vulnerable to hardworking parents, the garden can be a haven of peace and tranquillity, the perfect place to de-stress. No matter what the season, the garden has something to offer.
But if you garden looks is a myriad of weeds, a place that lacks colours and scent, the time has come to roll up your sleeves and start digging. Gardening is good for you and a pleasant garden is a perfect antidote to stressful, modern life.
The Science of Gardening
The elderly can reconnect with memories as they garden, children can learn mathematical and scientific principles in the garden, parents and teenagers can enjoy the garden too from enjoying the latest podcast to reading the latest best seller.
Use Your Senses
When it comes to creating a stress-relieving garden, design the experience around your senses;
Let’s start with the obvious: gardens, filled with fragrant blooms, immediately grab the nose. Scents are subtle, not over powering and there are some that are known to help us relax and unfold away from stress.
Lavender has long been added to bath products and sleeping remedies, all to slow the whirling mind before sleep. Along with other fragrant blooms, plant them at the edge of flower beds so as you walk around the garden, you knock the blooms, releasing the fragrance.
Growing vegetables is good for you in so many ways. Half an hour of digging and mulching sheds calories, as well as giving your body a workout. The vegetables you grow, free from pesticides and insecticides are good for you. Sitting under the pea vines and eating peas straight from the pod is the stuff of memories and there is nothing like the sweet taste of peas, freshly plucked from the plant.
Plant vegetables and fruits with companion plants to get the best from nature.
What could be more mesmerising than watching a dancing, buzzing bee as it goes about its business, hopping from one fragrant bloom to another?
What is more beautiful than seeing a garden full of colour, insects scurrying about going about their rituals?
Instead of staring at a screen, why not stare at the garden? Allow yourself to drift away, gently swinging in a hammock in the trees or comfortable on a rattan day bed, and watch nature at its best – and marvel at the fact that all this is in your garden! Who would have thought it?!
Textures are important too. For stress relief, there are many elements that combine together and yet, we give little thought to how touch affects the mind, body and soul.
We know that human touch can be restful and reassuring. In effect, this is what you want to create in your multi-sensory garden.
There are, of course, some experiences of touch we don’t want, such as the sting of a nettle but there are other plants that are more conducive to being touched by the human hand.
When was the last time you ran your fingertips through the dancing fronds of reeds or tall grasses? What abound gently fondling the soft, fragrant leaves of a geranium?
The garden, with clever planting, can be a haven of stress relief and touch is one sense that you shouldn’t ignore.
And the final sense, hearing.
At the end of the day, give yourself 20 minutes to enjoy the peace and quiet of the garden. Lie on the rattan day bed or sit in the bistro chair, close your eyes and train your ears to focus on the sounds of nature and not those of man-made origin.
Block out the sounds of car engines and trains, or the dull roar of planes overhead and instead listen for the rustling of the leaves on the trees and the grasses as the wind gently moves their fronds. Listen to the birds, their calls to one another and the buzz of an insect as it whizzes past you. Listen to the gentle movement of water as it tumbles and frolics down the waterfall.
The garden, no matter how big or small is a truly wondrous place, where stress simply peels away.
Rattan Direct is an online retailer, specialising in high-quality rattan furniture. Hard wearing and robust, rattan is a perfect material for outdoor furniture and with a growing choice for the modern consumer, any garden can quickly become a stress-free haven.