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GIGFY – Spring into Action!

GARDENING IS GOOD FOR YOU!
MARCH

SPRING INTO ACTION

#GIGFY


Spring is in the air, and there’s no better time to start planning and planting colourful displays to enjoy over the months ahead. 

For instant impact choose plants at their best through spring including daffodils, tulips, fragrant hyacinth and other flowering bulbs, all perfect for partnering in patio pots and flower beds with seasonal bedding like pansy, viola, wallflower, bellis, forget-me-not, primula and polyanthus.

Growing flowers, crops and herbs from seed is also a rewarding way to grow, and perfect if you’re gardening on a budget. Many gardening activities like sowing, potting, watering and planting bring with them the rewards of nurturing and watching plants grow and flourish. By producing wonderful displays and enjoying the fruits of your labours you’ll be satisfying an intrinsic need for creativity and achievement, both important for our mental health and wellbeing.

Gardening is excellent exercise, too. Gently stretching and bending while planting and weeding helps keep you fit and flexible. More active gardening like digging, clearing, raking, sweeping and lawn mowing will also raise your heart rate, and burn off more calories too. Just an hour of active gardening could use around 250 – 500 calories. So, forget joining an expensive gym and get active outdoors in your garden instead. 

If your borders lack structure and impact why not plant some bold evergreen flowering shrubs this spring. A wide range is available now to suit all sites and situations, from viburnum and camellia, to holly and hebe. Hedging plants surround a garden all year with a natural, living screen, or buy evergreen box to clip into fun topiary features.

Always prepare the soil thoroughly, enjoying the gentle exercise of digging deeply while adding organic composts to improve the drainage, structure and composition of your soil. Not only does regular gentle gardening in the fresh air keep you active it also helps release stress and improve mental health, connecting you with the soil and natural world to provide grounding and a sense of wellbeing.

So, spring into action and get your body and garden into shape for the year ahead.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Green Gym run by The Conservation Volunteers uses natural exercise to promote community health. These fun and free outdoor sessions involve activities like tree planting, sowing flower meadows and creating wildlife ponds. By connecting with nature the Green Gym enhances mental wellbeing, helping people contribute something positive to their community. Find out more at www.tcv.org.uk/greengym.

PLANTS OF THE MOMENT:  SPRING COLOUR & SPRING PLANTING

Whether it’s drifts of golden daffodils or a multi-coloured kaleidoscope of tulips, spring bulbs are the perfect choice to fill borders, patio pots and window boxes. Many fill the air with their heady fragrance too, like hyacinth, making them an ideal pot plant to grow indoors.

Keep the colour coming by mixing bulbs with seasonal bedding plants including long-flowering wallflowers, frothy forget-me-nots, bold daisy-like Bellis perennis, pansies and dainty violas, or primulas and primroses. Also choose early flowering hardy perennials like brunnera, epimedium, bergenia, hellebores, euphorbia, and a host of others.

For many, camellias are the plant of choice for classy spring colour, and although they require an acid soil to flourish they can be planted into large pots of ericaceous compost instead.

PLANT SUGGESTIONS:

Any plants providing Spring Colour eg

Spring flowering bulbs

Spring bedding plants, including Senetti

Hardy Perennials such as Perennial Wallflower (Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’ AGM), Hellebores, Euphorbia, Bergenia and Bruunera ‘Jack Frost’ AGM

Green perennials to plant now such as Paeonia, Lupin, Delphinium, Hollyhock (Alcea), Digitalis.

Spring flowering shrubs:

Erica x darleyensis eg ‘Ghost Hills’ AGM

Clematis armandii ‘Apple Blossom’ AGM

Oregon Grape – Mahonia aquifolium ‘Apollo’ AGM

Pieris japonica eg ‘Passion’, ‘Flaming Silver’ AGM

Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’ AGM

Camellia, Azaleas, Rhododendrons, etc,

INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT MORE?

 

GARDEN ORGANIC & SUSTAIN

The benefits of gardening and food growing for health and wellbeing

https://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/sites/www.gardenorganic.org.uk/files/GrowingHealth_BenefitsReport_0.pdf

 

HOW MANY CALORIES DOES GARDENING BURN?

SEE:  https://www.fitnessblender.com/articles/how-many-calories-does-gardening-burn-calories-burned-gardening

 

CALORIE LAB

See: http://calorielab.com/burned/?mo=se&gr=08&ti=lawn+and+garden+activities&q=&wt=150&un=lb&kg=68

 

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GIGFY FEBRUARY – Create your perfect Garden.

#GIGFY, GARDENING IS GOOD FOR YOU – CREATE YOUR PERFECT GARDEN!


Gardens mean different things to different people, and while some want a secluded space to unwind in and relax others want a place to entertain, chill out with family and friends, or simply enjoy pottering around their plot. Spending time outside helps to lower stress and anxiety, improves your mood, and is beneficial to mental health and wellbeing. 

To start creating your perfect garden it’s best to write down what you want from it. Should it be inviting and welcoming, vibrant and fun, private and protected, or perhaps a spiritual space to meditate? 

Set out the style, features to include, colours you love, and plants that appeal. Use books, magazines, and websites like Pinterest for inspiration, and then sketch out your ideas. Different plants lend themselves to different garden styles, whether clipped, clean and formal, or big, bold, bright and tropical, so visit local nurseries and garden centres to talk through ideas with their expert staff. 

Perhaps you’re drawn to a traditional cottage garden, paths lined with lavender*, borders packed with seasonal colour, or a seated arbour clad with a fragrant mix of roses, honeysuckle and clematis. With calming soft shades and scent filling the air, these are restful gardens to sit in and ponder – an escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. 

If a lawn isn’t practical in small or shaded areas, develop a relaxing patio garden using paving, decking or aggregates. Leave planting pockets around the edges for evergreen climbers and shrubs to cover walls and fences, using large tubs and baskets to add drama and seasonal colour. And include furniture to tempt you outside, whether a simple bench to perch, table and chairs to dine alfresco, or something soft and comfortable to sink into, de-stress and meditate. 

Boost your ‘five a day’ by growing tasty organic fruits, veg and salads fresh from the garden, perhaps designing an ornamental and productive potager, or mixing crops into borders with flowers. In small spaces grow crops and culinary herbs in pots within easy reach of the kitchen or barbecue. 

 Your garden could be a peaceful sanctuary or welcoming social space, boosting the health and wellbeing or all those who use it. And by styling different areas with plants to suit your mood you’ll be able to enjoy seasonal colour throughout the year. 

Keen gardeners will enjoy the challenge of nurturing plants, relishing the fun of growing more ‘fussy’ or tender plants. This satisfies a creative spirit and proves mentally rewarding. However, there are plenty of ‘tried and tested’ favourites at garden centres now, perfect to produce beautiful displays with instant impact. These plants that are hardy, reliable, easy to maintain, and great value for money! 

DID YOU KNOW? 

Flowers can make you feel calm and relaxed, reducing stress and improving mental health. Fragrant flowers, like lavender*, have been shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure, too, aiding restful sleep. While the style of garden and colours used can affect mood and emotions, just looking out onto plants has healing properties, and can boost performance, productivity and creativity. 

PLANTS OF THE MOMENT: PLANTING STYLES 

Gardens can be created in many popular styles, so choose one to suit your mood. Perhaps you want a relaxing patio garden packed with colour where the family can play, or somewhere more modern, vibrant and stylish to sit out and entertain. Flowery and fragrant cottage gardens can include traditional favourites like roses, lilies and sweet peas, while a natural wildlife garden will create habitats with plants that will attract birds, bees, beneficial insects and other welcome friends.  

If space allows try developing different themed areas divided by paths, clipped hedges, planted trellis screens or archways. Be creative and play with colour themes or celebrate a season, having fun and expressing your own personality. 

PLANT SUGGESTIONS

*  Cottage garden favourites. 

*  Reliable and easy to maintain shrubs and perennials. 

*  Bold, leafy and evergreen shrubs, bamboos, grasses, etc, to create privacy. 

*  Any shrubs, hedging, perennials and trees with flowers, fruits and berries of value to wildlife or that can be used to create habitats for nesting and feeding birds and insects, etc. 

* Plants to include in this month’s selection could include: Bergenia, Brunnera, Cyclamen coum, Doronicum ‘Little Leo’, Nandina domestica and Photinia ‘Red Robin’. 

 

 

INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT MORE? 

 

UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT 

Garden Design to Reduce Stress 

https://pss.uvm.edu/ppp/pubs/oh82stress.htm

 

PUSH DOCTOR – September 2018 

6 mental health benefits of plants: 

Does Flower Power boost your mood? 

https://www.pushdoctor.co.uk/blog/6-mental-health-benefits-of-plants-does-flower-power-boost-your-mood

 

RHS 

Choose your style 

https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/design/Garden-themes

 

LIVING COLOUR LANDSCAPES 

USING COLOUR THERAPY IN GARDEN DESIGN 

http://www.livingcolourlandscapes.com.au/using-colour-therapy-in-garden-design/

 

SCIENCE DAILY – July 2018 

Living in greener neighbourhoods is associated with slower cognitive decline 

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180711182741.htm

 

BETTER HOMES & GARDENS 

Elements of Good Garden Design 

https://www.bhg.com/gardening/design/styles/line-garden-design/

 

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Grow Yourself Healthy

GARDENING IS GOOD FOR YOU!
JANUARY 2020

GROW YOURSELF HEALTHY

#GIGFY


Research from around the world has confirmed something many gardeners already know – gardening really is good for you!

Both gardens and gardening bring benefits to our physical and mental health, from providing exercise and keeping us active and fit, to getting us outside and connecting with plants, soil, and the natural world around us.

Gardens are great places to relax, and just being in or looking out onto gardens and green spaces has been shown to relieve stress, improving wellbeing and creativity. By creating a beautiful garden outside your own back door you’ll have a personal sanctuary to step out into, and somewhere to grow healthy food, welcome in wildlife, and spend time with family and friends.

Gardening is a creative, rewarding and productive pastime, with opportunities to learn new skills, find out about exciting new plants, share ideas and make new friends. All these have a positive and restorative effect on mental and physical health, keeping mind and body active, whatever your age. 

In fact, gardening could be described as the Natural Health Service, as doctors recognise the numerous benefits gardening brings without the need for costly therapies and drugs, with their unwelcome side effects. 

For instance, eating well can start by growing your own organic homegrown crops – all part of the ‘5 a day’ we all need to provide nutrients, health-boosting vitamins and minerals, and essential phytochemicals that help protect our bodies against disease. Herbs not only add wonderful flavours to our home cooking and teas, but bring many health benefits too. 

Crops can be grown in even the smallest of spaces, providing the reward of picking fresh produce you’ve raised yourself. Combine these with colourful plants and fragrant flowers and any outdoor space will be transformed, giving you somewhere relaxing to sit or a vibrant space to socialise and entertain with family and friends.

Month-by-month the HTA’s ‘Gardening Is Good For You!’ campaign will explore many of the benefits of gardens and gardening to our health and wellbeing. They’ll also feature topical gardening activities and ‘Plants of the Moment’ to help create rewarding gardens for work, rest and play.

DID YOU KNOW?

By choosing the right plants we can design gardens that encourage birds, bees, butterflies and other wildlife to drop in for food, water and shelter, or even take up residence. Developing an all-year-round wildlife-friendly garden satisfies our own creativity and feeling of achievement, bringing us outside and closer to nature to reduce stress and improve our wellbeing. Contact with plants and the soil also enhances our health and boosts the immune system, too.

PLANTS OF THE MOMENT: YEAR-ROUND COLOUR & INTEREST

By creating a garden that looks great all-year-round you’ll not only have a beautiful outlook but more opportunities to be tempted outside throughout the year to stay active and grow yourself healthy.

To give your garden structure and form choose plants that offer more than one season of interest. In particular, pick evergreen plants and architectural shrubs with green, coloured or variegated foliage that also produce seasonal flowers, and perhaps fruits or berries too. 

Plant these to form the backbone to your garden, giving it structure, and adding height at the back of borders. Use their bold shapes and sizes to obscure eyesores and cover boring fences, cut down noise from roads and neighbours, and create a sense of privacy and seclusion.

PLANT SUGGESTIONS:

Any plants that provide year-round colour and interest eg

Choisya eg ‘Sundance’ AGM, ‘Aztec Pearl’ AGM

Hebe ‘Red Edge’ AGM

Skimmia x confusa ‘Kew Green’ AGM

Skimmia japonica ‘Fragrans’ AGM

Photinia eg ‘Red Robin’ AGM

Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’ AGM

Japanese spotted laurel – Aucuba japonica ‘Crotonifolia’ AGM

Osmanthus x burkwoodii AGM

Elaeagnus x submacrophylla ‘Limelight’

Euonymus, Pieris, etc, etc.

INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT MORE?

 

THE ORNAMENTAL ROUNDTABLE HEALTH AND HORTICULTURE CONFERENCE 2016

https://www.rhs.org.uk/science/Ornamental-Horticulture-Roundtable/health-and-horticulture-conference-2016

 

GARDEN ORGANIC & SUSTAIN

The benefits of gardening and food growing for health and wellbeing

https://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/sites/www.gardenorganic.org.uk/files/GrowingHealth_BenefitsReport_0.pdf

 

THE KING’S FUND

Gardens and health: Implications for policy and practice

https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/gardens-and-health

VISIT 

www.hta.org.uk/gardeningisgoodforyou

 

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GET DOWN TO EARTH NOVEMBER 2019

NOVEMBER

GET DOWN TO EARTH

It’s all change in the garden this month as autumn colour and falling foliage transforms trees, shrubs and borders. It’s a wonderful sight that brings the gardening year to a spectacular end. Autumn is a busy season, with plenty to tempt us outside to keep us active, even if early frosts force us to dress up warm.

There’s summer bedding to clear away, border perennials to cut down, veg plots to clear, and leaves to collect and convert into valuable leaf mould to use for mulching and feeding the soil. Pots and baskets can be planted with evergreens and hardy bedding like pansies, and a host of spring flowering bulbs including tulips and narcissus planted for colourful early displays.

Gardening throughout the year brings with it many benefits, like keeping us active in the fresh air, while direct contact with soil has been shown to be valuable to our mental health and wellbeing. Research has demonstrated the value of ‘earthing’ or ‘grounding’ in the alleviation of health problems, relieving stress, and improving our mood and restful sleep.

Digging compost and manure into your soil provides exercise while at the same time improving soil structure, fertility and composition. In addition it’s been found that working with soil can also boost our immune system, probably by exposing us to beneficial bacteria. Studies have shown that children exposed to a variety of microbes have decreased incidence of allergies and asthma. One reason could be that in our increasingly clean and sterile homes and surroundings that children aren’t exposed to the ‘bugs’ that help them develop strong immune systems. Getting dirty in the garden could be just what everyone needs.

As the saying goes ‘We are what we eat’, and there’s an increasing body of evidence that shows that by eating organically grown produce we’ll be ingesting higher levels of beneficial ingredients like vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. What better reason can there be to start growing your own, and enjoy the benefits of feeding your family with fruit and crops you’ve raised yourself … and probably save money too!

Research around the world continues to highlight the many benefits of gardening, and although the benefits of direct contact with soil and friendly bacteria aren’t yet fully understood they indicate what many people believe … gardening is great therapy!

DID YOU KNOW?

Some friendly bacteria found in the soil may act on our brain like antidepressants. Research on mice by University College London and Bristol University found that a common soil bacteria acts on brain cells to stimulate production of the ‘happy chemical’ serotonin, altering mood in a similar way to antidepressants.

Other studies have shown that patients treated with the friendly bacteria Mycobacterium vaccae experienced less pain and increased vitality and cognitive function. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression, and although the role of this chemical in our body is a complex one perhaps breathing in or ingesting these friendly bacteria bring benefits to our health and wellbeing.

PLANTS OF THE MOMENT: AUTUMN PLANTING

Autumn is a good time for planning and planting, establishing plants into warm soil before the onset of winter. The soil in new borders should be prepared, digging in generous quantities of compost and bulky organic material to improve its structure and drainage, getting conditions right for new plants.

Always choose plants suited to the soil, site and conditions you can provide. And that’s where the experts at your local nurseries and garden centres can help out, so visit them now to pick their brains for the best advice and suggestions.

Large patio pots, tubs, troughs and baskets can also be planted with a selection of evergreen, flowering and berrying plants to provide colour and interest over the cold winter months ahead, such as skimmia, gaultheria, ivy, viburnum, euonymus, plus flowering bedding like pansies and violas.

Some seasonal favourites include:

Skimmia varieties e.g. Skimmia ‘Magic Marlot’

Gaultheria mucronata

Cyclamen hederifolium AGM

Mahonia ‘Charity’ and ‘Winter Sun’ AGM

Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ and ‘Charles Lamont’ AGM

Autumn Flowering Camellia e.g. C. sasanqua ‘Narumigata’ AGM

Callicarpa ‘Profusion’ AGM

Dogwood varieties (Cornus)

Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’ AGM

Heathers

INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT MORE?

MEDICAL NEWS TODAY – April 2007

Soil Bacteria Work in Similar Way to Antidepressants:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/66840.php

WIKIPEDIA

Mycobacterium vaccae

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycobacterium_vaccae

PERMACULTURE COLLEGE AUSTRALIA

WHY GARDENING MAKES YOU HAPPY AND CURES DEPRESSION

https://permaculture.com.au/why-gardening-makes-you-happy-and-cures-depression/

HEALTH on NBC News.com

Soil bacteria can boost immune system

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/18082129/ns/health-livescience/t/soil-bacteria-can-boost-immune-system/

EVERYDAY HEALTH

What is serotonin?

https://www.everydayhealth.com/serotonin/guide/

THE GUARDIAN – April 2016

Gardening is good for you, by James Wong

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/apr/10/gardening-is-good-for-physical-and-mental-health

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IN TOUCH WITH NATURE OCTOBER 2019

OCTOBER

IN TOUCH WITH NATURE

Gardens are valuable spaces not only for us but a wealth of wildlife too. It’s estimated that the millions of gardens in Britain cover around 10 million acres – an area bigger than all the country’s nature reserves combined! Viewed from the air you can see how they link together into green corridors, providing wildlife with a range of habitats and the ability to move from one area to another to feed, breed, shelter and hibernate.

Every garden can be enriched to become a home for local birds and wildlife, planting flowering meadows for butterflies and insects, hedges for nesting birds, and blossom and blooms throughout the year to bring in bees, butterflies and insects.

To encourage wildlife try developing ponds and bog gardens for frogs, toads, newts and dragonflies, sow annuals and meadows to feed hoverflies and insects, provide shelter for ground beetles, and put up bird feeders, baths and nesting boxes. There are many ways to make wildlife welcome, and most of these creatures are the gardener’s friend, feeding on pests like slugs, snails, caterpillars and greenfly to control problems without the need to spray.

Planting a wildlife-friendly garden is also a great way for children to watch the antics of birds and insects up close, interacting with the natural world around them. Many gardening activities will encourage kids outside, from sowing flowers and crops, building log piles and insect homes, photographing flowers that bees and butterflies visit, feeding birds, or keeping a diary of garden visitors and seasonal changes.

Gardens bring us closer to nature, allowing us to nurture and protect our small piece of the environment that really makes a difference to local wildlife. They also have valuable restorative qualities to help improve our physical and mental health. Just looking out onto a garden can significantly decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body, reducing stress and anxiety, raising our mood and increasing our feeling of wellbeing.

So this month get planting to create a wildlife-friendly garden, and reap the benefits of surrounding yourself with nature.

DID YOU KNOW?

Experts believe we have an innate need to connect with the natural world – something they call ‘biophilia’ – bringing with it better physical and mental health. People who interact with nature tend to feel better, exercise more, eat better, and connect with others. Being out in a natural environment is relaxing and restorative, helping to lower blood pressure and reduce stress.

Gardens and therapeutic landscapes around our homes, schools, hospitals and communities play a valuable role in both our physical and mental health and wellbeing. They connect us with nature, improving our knowledge and understanding of environmental issue, and providing opportunities for outdoor activities that help increase biodiversity in our area.

10 THINGS TO DO TO MAKE A WILDLIFE GARDEN

  1. Grow fruiting and berrying trees and shrubs for birds
  2. Plant year-round flowers for bees and insects
  3. Feed the birds all-year-round
  4. Make a pond, water feature or bird bath
  5. Plant native hedges around the garden
  6. Put up bird nesting boxes
  7. Sow annual flowers, meadows and crops
  8. Build log piles at the back or borders
  9. Install bee boxes, insect hotels and hibernation homes
  10. Plant wildflowers, native plants and meadows

PLANTS OF THE MOMENT: PLANTING WITH NATURE IN MIND

So many of the plants we love wildlife will too. Start by choosing shrubs, trees, herbs, perennials and other plants that produce flowers in each of the four seasons, providing a ready source of pollen and nectar for honeybees, bumblebees, hoverflies, butterflies and other insects. Many flowers go on to form fruits and berries, both valuable sources of food for birds and other creatures.

Ornamental grasses, annuals and perennials often end the season by forming attractive seedheads, which in turn provide food for garden wildlife. Shrubs, climbers and hedging plants also help create protective habitats for birds and wildlife to shelter, nest or hibernate.

Plants with fruits, berries & seedheads include:

Beauty Berry (Callicarpa ‘Profusion’ AGM)

Skimmia japonica ‘Nymans’

Cotoneaster

Pyracantha

Gaultheria (Pernettya)

Ornamental grasses e.g. Miscanthus, Pennisetum, Stipa.

Late flowering plants for late flying insects:

Asters

Japanese Anemones

Chrysanthemums

Ivy (Hedera)

Japanese Aralia (Fatsia japonica AGM)

Mahonia

Plant ornamental garden trees that produce fruits and berries including varieties of rowan, cherry and crab apple.

INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT MORE?

BIOPHILIA HYPOTHESIS

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biophilia_hypothesis

 

THE WILDLIFE TRUSTS

https://www.hiwwt.org.uk/sites/default/files/2018-04/150318%20Wildlife%20gardening%20Butterfly%20border%20NB.pdf

 

RHS

HEALTH & HORTICULTURE CONFERENE 2016

https://www.rhs.org.uk/science/Ornamental-Horticulture-Roundtable/health-and-horticulture-conference-2016

 

MIND for better mental health

Nature and mental health

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/nature-and-mental-health/ideas-to-try-in-nature/

 

FRAMEWORK SERVICES (NOTTINGHAM)

https://www.selfhelp.org.uk/uploads/Nature_in_Mind_Activities_April_May_2018.pdf

 

FEDERATION OF CITY FARMS & COMMUNITY GARDENS

The True Value of Community Farms and Gardens: social, environmental, health and economic

https://www.farmgarden.org.uk/system/files/true_value_report.pdf

 

Influence of an outdoor garden on Mood and Stress in Older Persons  By Susan Rodiek

https://scholar.googleusercontent.com/scholar?q=cache:mfHFZjdP6i0J:scholar.google.com/&hl=en&as_sdt=0,5

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SEPTEMBER 2019 GROWING TOGETHER – LET’S GET SOCIAL

Simply pottering around your plot, nurturing plants and being lost in the moment can be very relaxing, providing time for mindful contemplation. But gardening doesn’t have to be a lonely or solitary affair, with great benefit derived from bringing people together to talk gardening, sharing their gardening experiences and the crops and flowers they grow.

Togetherness has great value for our mental wellbeing, relieving boredom and providing opportunities to interact with others. Joining a gardening club and enjoying talks and events at your local garden centre bring like-minded gardeners together. They’re a place to share gardening ideas and experiences as well as learn valuable skills and discover exciting new plants.

More community gardens are popping-up around the country too, providing opportunities for people to garden together and share produce, improving their levels of activity, physical, mental and social health. For many this leads to improving diet and consumption of fruit and vegetables, helping with weight loss, decreasing stress, raising mood and levels of energy, plus benefits for integration and independence, local communities and the economy. With so much to gain it’s no wonder health professionals recommend gardening for therapy and rehabilitation, with measurable reductions to local healthcare resources and budgets as a result.

Many groups also run shows that bring people together to celebrate growing and creative achievements. They may run outings to beautiful gardens and events where you can enjoy a day out in great company, making new gardening friends. Interacting with others has valuable social and community value, combatting loneliness, and improving health and wellbeing.

Plants provide a great opportunity to engage with others to share your love of gardening. Many gardening adventures have started with a single plant, sparking a journey of discovery and lifelong passion for gardening. And there’s nothing better than learning about new plants from someone who has grown them, sharing their hands-on knowledge to give you confidence to nurture them to. Flourishing plants create lasting friendships, plus an outlet for creativity and expression.

And when ‘grow your own’ endeavours result in bumper harvests why not share these with friends, neighbours or charitable groups in your area, along with your favourite recipe ideas for them to try.

Whether you’re swapping seeds, seedlings and spare plants, passing on problem solving advice, growing and gardening with others, or gifting beautiful plants to friends, by sharing our love of gardening we’ll all be growing together.

Our very own community group can be found on Facebook – Friends and Greening Fishguard & Goodwick / Gwyrddio Abergwaun ac Wdig  @greeningfishguardandgoodwick

DID YOU KNOW?

Do you fancy getting hands-on and helping in one of the finest gardens in the country? Many gardens welcome volunteers who can help in their gardens, including the National Trust and Royal Horticultural Society who value the work of the thousands of volunteers who join them each year. Some need garden guides who can meet and interact with visitors to answer gardening queries. You’ll make new friends, work in amazing places, and help a great cause too. Approach gardens in your area to offer your services, or contact organisations directly:

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/volunteer.

www.rhs.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer/community

www.indeed.co.uk/volunteer-gardening-jobs

volunteeringmatters.org.uk

PLANTS OF THE MONTH: THE GIFT OF GROWING

Plants are the perfect gift, whether for family, friends, to celebrate a birthday’s and special occasions, or just to treat yourself!

Not only does giving a living plant encourage someone to care and nurture their gift, it’s also something that goes on giving, providing enjoyment for so much longer than cut flowers.

Plants grow and flourish – possibly for many years to come– proving a constant reminder of the person who gave it to them.

So share your love of gardening with others by giving a plant they’ll enjoy and cherish.

Garden centres and nurseries are full of beautiful plants this month, some with meaningful and personal names, so why not start your friends off on their own gardening adventure.

Look out for plants carrying seasonal colour, fruits and berries such as Chinese Plumbago (Ceratostigma ‘Forest Blue’ AGM), long-flowering Alstoemeria, Bluebeard (Caryopteris), Hydrangea, Hebe, Camellia sasanqua ‘Versicolor’, Pansies, Violas and Heathers.

INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT MORE?

GARDEN ORGANIC

THE BENEFITS OF GARDENING AND FOOD GROWING FOR HEALTH AND WELLBEING:

https://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/sites/www.gardenorganic.org.uk/files/GrowingHealth_BenefitsReport_0.pdf

FEDERATION OF CITY FARMS & COMMUNITY GARDENS:

THE TRUE VALUE OF COMMUNITY FARMS AND GARDENS

https://www.farmgarden.org.uk/system/files/true_value_report.pdf

LOVE THE GARDEN.COM

THE BENEFITS OF GARDENING

https://www.lovethegarden.com/community/ideas-inspiration/benefits-gardening

THE SOCIAL BENEFITS OF A GARDEN:

https://www.bordbia.ie/consumer/gardening/itsgardentime/pages/socialbenefits.aspx

THRIVE: Using gardening to change lives:

https://www.thrive.org.uk/

https://www.thrive.org.uk/what-is-social-and-therapeutic-horticulture.aspx

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AUGUST 2019 The Sensory Experience

Immerse yourself in a sensory experience by filling your garden with plants that excite the senses. Whether it’s their exciting colours, evocative scents, delicious flavours, tactile appeal or just their calming rustling and movement, we benefit in many ways from having plants in our lives.

Plants can create vibrant and stimulating gardens for families to play out and entertain, using bold shapes and bright colours that stimulate the senses. Children can be encouraged outside to explore, interacting with sensory plants and the natural world around them.

In complete contrast plants can be used to make calming, private and secluded spaces. A tranquil garden that calms the senses is the perfect place to sit and relax, or just meditate and practice mindfulness … relieving stress and improving mental health and wellbeing.

Colour plays a big part in garden design (see the April promotion). Bold and bright colours like yellow, orange and red are vibrant and uplifting, perfect for family gardens designed for play and entertaining. In contrast, cool colours like blue, mauve, violet and green are more calming, and good to use around areas designed for rest and relaxation.

Tall and dense boundary hedges and planting can reduce annoying man-made noise from roads and neighbours, creating a feeling of shelter and protection, but don’t ignore the importance of sound in a sensory garden either. Perhaps it’s wind gently rocking and rustling the branches of trees, a robin perched high-up entertaining us with its song, bees busily harvesting pollen and nectar from beautiful blooms, or the calming sound of trickling water.

Whether you’re creating a stimulating garden or relaxing sensory environment, all gardens have the power to heal and contribute to a healthier and happier life. And getting outside gardening provides exercise as well as a sense of achievement.

Research has highlighted how valuable contact with plants is to our health, whether through the beauty and colour we can see or non-visual stimulation by touching, tasting, smelling or hearing the natural sounds around us. A multi-sensory garden evokes a direct physiological response, both consciously and unconsciously, affecting our mood, relieving stress, evoking memories, relieving boredom, stimulating conversation, and tapping in to the healing power of nature.

DID YOU KNOW?

Do you fancy some quiet ‘me time’? Silent Space is a project promoting peaceful time in green and tranquil spaces – somewhere to switch off your phone, escape and the hustle and bustle of everyday life, stop talking, avoid social media, and let your body and mind wander.

Several gardens are supporting Silent Space including Waterperry Gardens and Greys Court in Oxfordshire, and the Island Pavilion at Croome in Worcestershire, with others are invited to join them.

Whether you want to walk in silence or just sit and contemplate the beautiful garden around you, in just a few minutes you’ll be reaping the restorative benefits of being in a peaceful green space. For more information visit www.silentspace.org.uk.

The Quiet Garden Movement also creates opportunities to experience silence, restfulness and contemplative practices for rest, reflection and prayer. See http://quietgarden.org.

PLANTS OF THE MOMENT:  PLANTS TO EXCITE THE SENSES

Virtually every plant will stimulate one sense or another, so this month we’re celebrating plants for all their diverse sensory appeal. Whether you’re looking for something colourful, tactile, fragrant or flavoursome there are plants available to enjoy all-year-round.

Be creative by developing displays along paths and around areas you sit outside, so you can get up close and personal with the plants you choose.

Sensory plants could include:

Colourful Plants:

Highlight plants for both seasonal colour impact and year-round value. Consider colour theming plant displays, and recommending planting partners.

Tactile Plants:

Plants with soft, hairy or textured leaves, stems or bark such as Ornamental grasses, Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’, Santolina (Cotton Lavender), Phlomis fruticosa (Jerusalem Sage), Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear), Itea illicifolia.

Scented Plants:

Plants with fragrant flowers and foliage like Lavender, scented leaf Pelargoniums, Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ (Catnip), Artemisa ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

Swaying and Rustling Plants:

Tall, graceful ornamental grasses like Miscanthus, Stipa, Pennisetum, Cortaderia (Pampas grass) and Bamboo.

Tasty Plants:

Culinary herbs like sage, thyme, chives, parsley, basil and ornamental angelica, plus fruits from trees and bushes, soft fruits like strawberries, and vegetable crops and delicious fresh salad leaves straight from the garden!

Sound:

Sedum and Wild Marjoram will attract bees, adding the sound of insects and seed heads and berries (Cotoneaster) will attract birds

INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT MORE?

 

PLANET NATURAL

Many benefits of sensory gardens

See:  https://www.planetnatural.com/sensory-gardens/

 

RHS Campaign for School Gardening

Plants for a sensory garden

See:  https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk/Resources/Info-Sheet/Plants-for-a-sensory-garden

 

THRIVE

Sensory Gardens

See:  https://www.thrive.org.uk/Files/Documents/Sensory%20Gardens%20Nov%2008%20-%20PDF.pdf

 

LIVING COLOUR LANDSCAPES

Using colour therapy in garden design

See:  http://www.livingcolourlandscapes.com.au/using-colour-therapy-in-garden-design/

 

HortScience

Physiological and Psychological Response to Floral Scent

See:  http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/content/48/1/82.full

UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT

Garden Design To Reduce Stress

See:  https://pss.uvm.edu/ppp/pubs/oh82stress.htm

 

WYEVALE GARDEN CENTRES

How to Create a Sensory Garden

See:  https://www.wyevalegardencentres.co.uk/tips-and-advice_how-to-create-a-sensory-garden

 

Photos

Tactile – Phlomis, Echinops

Scent- Roses, Dianthus

Taste – Herbs, Tomatoes

Movement – Phormium, Grasses

Sound – Sedum, Cotoneaster

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JULY 2019 ENJOY SUMMERTIME IN THE GARDEN

Whether starting the day with tea and toast on the patio, relaxing in the shade, dining alfresco, or watching the sun setting with a cool drink, what better place to spend summer than in the garden. Bright mornings, sunny days and warm balmy evenings tempt us outside to enjoy a dose of green therapy, boosting our mood and recharging the batteries.

Designing social spaces into your garden creates opportunities to play and have fun in the sun, entertain over a tasty barbecue, or chill out with family and friends. Comfy furniture helps you relax in style, whether its reclining chairs, a hammock strung between trees, or a gently swinging seat in the shade.

Surrounding yourself with plants brings you closer to nature, improving mood and relieving depression. Looking out onto a garden provides a dose of ‘green therapy’, taking away aches and pains, speeding-up rehabilitation after illness, and improving mental health. That feeling of wellbeing you get from just being outside comes from a boost of what have colloquially been called ‘outdoorphins’, similar to the endorphins your body produces during exercise that reduce pain and raise the spirits.

Scientists also call this ‘biophilia’, an inbuilt need for humans to connect with nature and other forms of life, and have demonstrated how gardening and being outdoors in a natural setting can satisfy this intrinsic need.

Gardens can be vibrant outdoor rooms with space to entertain, socialise and play. They can also be places of peace and solitude to escape into and relax, or somewhere comfortable to unwind, practice mindfulness and recharge.

Both gardens and houseplants absorb pollutants from the air we breathe, while dense boundary hedging reduces noise from roads and the general surroundings. And by planting shrubs, trees, hedges and climbers around our homes we’ll provide shelter from scorching sun and wind that in turn reduce heating and cooling costs, producing a much more comfortable environment to sit out and enjoy summertime in your garden.

DID YOU KNOW?

SUMMER SUN VITAMIN BOOST

When UVB radiation in sunlight reaches the skin it helps the body create vitamin D, which in turn helps us absorb calcium and phosphate from food that’s needed for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. From October to March the UVB levels in sunlight are too low to form vitamin D, and we rely on vitamins from our diet instead.

While sunshine is certainly good for you, always take care to protect skin against its harmful effects by covering-up, putting on a hat and sunglasses, and wearing sunscreen.

PLANTS OF THE MOMENT:  PLANTS FOR INSTANT COLOUR & DISPLAYS

There are plenty of plants available in nurseries and garden centres now to add instant colour and impact to summer displays. Many are ready-planted in larger patio pots that can be put straight outside to enjoy.

These bigger plants are often already in bloom, making them easier to colour-coordinate and match with planting partners, furniture and accessories.

And as well as ornamental plants you’ll find productive ones too, from pots of tomatoes, chillies and strawberries to vegetables, salads, fruits and herbs. Picking crops you’ve grown yourself boosts the brain, creating a feeling of wellbeing, and providing tasty produce to feed the family.

Look for:

Bedding plants like Begonia, Verbena, Petunias, Pelargoniums, Lobelia, Argyranthemum, Dahlia and Zinnia.

Hardy perennials like Geranium, Echinacea, Anthemis, Phlox, Astrantia, Salvia, Penstemon, Monarda, Helenium and Heuchera.

Shrubs like Hydrangea, Brachyglottis, Nepeta, Lavender, Hebe, Choisya, Phormium, Cordyline, Yucca or climbing Clematis, Roses, Honeysuckle and Jasmine.

Fruit and Veg like Strawberries, Tomatoes, Chillies and Peppers, Squash, salad plants and potted herbs.

INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT MORE? WELLBEING GARDENING:

 

GARDENING FOR THE BODY, MIND & SPIRIT

https://permaculturenews.org/2013/06/05/wellbeing-gardening-gardening-for-the-body-mind-spirit/

 

RHS

Let’s get Greening Grey Britain!

https://www.rhs.org.uk/get-involved/greening-grey-britain

 

RHS

HEALTH & HORTICULTURE CONFERENCE 2016

https://www.rhs.org.uk/science/Ornamental-Horticulture-Roundtable/health-and-horticulture-conference-2016

 

HOW TO GET VITAMIN D FROM SUNLIGHT

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/how-to-get-vitamin-d-from-sunlight/#

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JUNE 2019 FILL YOUR GARDEN WITH FRAGRANCE

Step outside and smell the roses, plus a host of other scented flowers too. Choosing plants shouldn’t just be about their size, shape and colour but embrace their full sensory appeal, including the most evocative of all … fragrance!

Plants evolved fragrant flowers to attract pollinating insects, rewarding them with nectar and pollen they’ll discover within, but we enjoy their wonderful scents too. They have adapted to bloom at different times of year and varying times of day to suit their insect companions, such as moths attracted to evening primrose, pinks or honeysuckle. Gardeners can take advantage of this by picking fragrant plants to enjoy at the times of year they’re outdoors most.

Research on floral scents has highlighted their benefit to both mental and physical health by relieving stress and depression.

Scent can also improve memory, focus and wellbeing, particularly in combination with other sensory engagement with plants and gardening activities.

By growing fragrant plants we can enjoy these benefits too, whether you’re looking for something rosy and relaxing, oriental and intoxicating, or fresh and invigorating. Consider which scented plants to choose for creating the desired effect, such as the welcome fragrance of honeysuckle and roses around an entrance, the uplifting scent of lilies or lilac catching the breeze, or aromatic oils from Mediterranean herbs filling the air on a balmy summer’s evening.

For relaxation, the scent of lavender has been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate to promote sleep, while aromatic rosemary keeps you alert, improving focus and memory. Sometimes a scent can even unlock a childhood memory, transporting you back to a time or place to help remember people and events in the past.

So forget the scented candles and grow your own aromatherapy plants instead, enjoying the simple pleasure of filling your garden with fragrance!

DID YOU KNOW?

The Fragrance Wheel was developed by the perfume industry to categorise different scents, giving them a descriptive language they can use. Fragrance directly changes our mood, too. Fruity and spicy perfumes are uplifting and reinvigorating, while floral and rosy perfumes reduce stress and anxiety, promoting mental balance. Fresh, green, herbal and citrus perfumes keep us mentally active and creative, while earthy scents can be comforting and nurturing.

PLANTS OF THE MOMENT: SCENTED PLANTS

There are scented plants to enjoy during every season, including pot plants and cut flowers like sweet peas to bring indoors. Summer scents are particularly valuable, enjoyed while sitting outside and relaxing in your own garden. Include shrubs with highly fragrant flowers, like mock orange (Philadelphus) and lilac (Syringa) in borders, and grow scented climbers like roses, jasmine and honeysuckle over arches and pergolas or around doors and windows. Also position plants with fragrant foliage, like lavender and herbs, close to paths, doorways and seating areas so you can run your hand over them to release their aroma as you pass.

PLANT SUGGESTIONS:

Develop displays of plants with scented flowers or foliage e.g.

Lavender & Butterfly Lavender

Fragrant roses

Mock Orange – Philadelphus vars e.g. ‘Belle Etoile’ AGM

Daphne x transatlantica Eternal Fragrance AGM

Escallonia ‘Iveyi’ AGM

Abelia x grandiflora

Lilac – later flowering Syringa varieties

Aromatic herbs e.g. rosemary, sage, thyme, lemon verbena, oregano, etc.

Perennials like Salvia ‘Carradonna’, Phlox divaricate ‘Clouds of Perfume’ and varieties of Verbasum.

Scented paeonies, shrubs, climbers, bulbs, Verbena rigida, etc, etc.

INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT MORE?

PSYCHOLOGY OF PERFUMES

See:  https://www.scentbird.com/blog/psychology-perfumes/

 

FRAGRANCE WHEEL

See:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fragrance_wheel

 

PYSIOLOGICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL RESPONSE TO FLORAL SCENT

See:  http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/content/48/1/82.full

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May 2019

May 2019

GET SET GROW

Being creative brings with it many benefits and gardening is the perfect pastime to produce wonderful floral displays and relaxing outdoor spaces, with opportunities to nurture crops and watch plants grow to perfection.

Gardening is a rewarding outlet for individual creativity, connecting us to plants, the soil and surroundings, and health experts now agree that these are all beneficial to our health and wellbeing. Whether you’re creating summer patio displays, sowing crops on the veg plot or allotment, or planting a cutting garden to produce beautiful flowers to pick and bring indoors, there are plenty of exciting projects to start this month.

Now’s a great time to sow and plant flowers, veg, salads, fruits and herbs to enjoy over the months ahead. Gardening outside in the fresh air is a good way to get some gentle exercise while nurturing crops and patio displays to perfection. By growing your own you’ll pick the freshest, healthiest, nutrient-rich produce possible …. from plot to plate in minutes!

While ‘5 a day’ has become has become a mantra for many, experts at Imperial College London say most people still aren’t eating enough fruit and veg, and should be eating more. Fruits and vegetables provide a rich variety of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fibre. These help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer, boosting the immune system, reducing cholesterol levels and blood pressure, plus many other health benefits too.

One of your ‘5 a day’ is defined as an 80g (3oz) portion, and the most beneficial crops to grow at home include apples and pears, salads and green veg like spinach and lettuce, yellow sweet peppers, and cruciferous crops including cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.

For a healthy balanced diet, aim for a rainbow of colours on your plate too – both raw and cooked – as different coloured fruits and crops contain varying beneficial ingredients. For instance, it’s anthocyanins that give beetroot, blackberries, red cabbage and purple and blue crops their colour, while the distinctive orange/yellow colour of carrots, peppers and squash comes from carotinoids, used in our body to form Vitamin A.

Gardening and growing your fruit, herbs, crops and cut flowers are beneficial to health and wellbeing in many ways. It’s rewarding and productive, provides exercise, and helps feed the family with freshly picked home-grown, organically grown produce – the perfect way to keep you healthy and save money too!

DID YOU KNOW?

Perhaps gardening and growing your own could reduce the million prescriptions for anti-depressants issued every week. Picking your own fruit and crops can give you a harvesting high! Researchers have found that seeing, smelling and picking fruits and berries can release dopamine from the brain’s reward centre, resulting in a feeling of mild euphoria and wellbeing.

EAT THE RAINBOW WITH COLOURFUL CROPS

For flavour and freshness grow a rainbow of colourful and nutritious fruit, veg and salads in your kitchen garden.

RED: Tomatoes, Red Onions, Rhubarb Chard, Sweet Peppers, Chillis, Strawberries, Rhubarb.

ORANGE: Carrots, Squash, Pumpkin.

YELLOW: Golden Courgettes and Tomatoes, Sweetcorn, Yellow Beans and Sweet Peppers.

GREEN: Asparagus, Spinach, Peas, Beans, Mangetout, Rocket, Lettuce and salad leaves, Kale, Romanesco, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cucumber, Pak Choi.

BLUE: Blueberries.

PURPLE: Beetroot, Broccoli, Aubergine, Purple Beans, Purple Asparagus, Red Cabbage, Radish, Kohl Rabi, Plums

WHITE: Cauliflower, Celery, Leeks, Onions, Garlic, Shallots, Spring Onions, Potatoes, Parsnips, Celeriac, Turnip.

PLANTS OF THE MOMENT:  PLANTS FOR SUMMER DISPLAYS & CROPS

Now is the perfect time to plan and plant for bright, colourful displays and productive plots. Flowers attract bees and insects into our gardens, vital for the pollination of many fruits and crops. Hoverflies feeding on the pollen and nectar will be encouraged to breed, with their larvae eating greenfly to keep plants pest free.

Flowering plants available now for immediate colour include Nemesia, Poppy varieties, Pinks (Dianthus), Polemonium, and shrubs including Berberis darwinii AGM, choisya, ceanothus, weigela, lilac and many viburnum.

Young plants of many crops including tomatoes, peppers, chillies, cucumbers, strawberries, courgettes and squash can be planted directly into large pots or growing bags in the greenhouse or on a warm, sunny patio. Dozens of other crops like salad leaves, beans, rocket, spinach, beetroot and carrots can be grown from seed, so check the full range at your local garden centre now.

INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT MORE?

SUSTAIN – the alliance for better food and farming

Growing Health

https://www.sustainweb.org/growinghealth/

BBC NEWS

Fruit and veg: For a longer life eat 10-a-day

See:  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39057146

British Heart Foundation:

https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-matters-magazine/nutrition/5-a-day/colourful-foods

https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/18/ask-well-does-boiling-or-baking-vegetables-destroy-their-vitamins/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/raw-veggies-are-healthier/

Why gardening makes you happy and cures depression

https://permaculture.com.au/why-gardening-makes-you-happy-and-cures-depression/

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