Give your children the gardening bugAlison Marsden
As Spring gets into gear (at last), we may be glad to see the back of winter colds and bugs but there is one ‘bug’ that will benefit your children, grandchildren or school pupils for their whole lives – and that is the gardening bug.
There is a raft of evidence that green spaces and gardening can have huge benefits to maintaining and improving our mental as well as physical health.
Any gardener, however long their experience, will tell you that they never stop learning and never lose the excitement of seeing the first green tips of a germinating seeding or the satisfaction of picking the first tomato or the year. Creating a garden, whether it be an ornamental space for relaxing or a vegetable plot producing a glut of courgettes, is also a joy to share with family and friends.
The very act of being outside in nature can have an immediately restorative and calming effect on our brains. And this is equally true for an anxious or frustrated child. Spending ten minutes in a safe, green space and allowing yourself to be distracted gently by the view, trees, flowers or birds reduces the level of the stress hormone cortisol and improves concentration for a return to work or classroom.
It makes perfect sense that we want to protect what we care about and this extends to our environment as well as people and things. Research published in 2022 by the University of Derby shows that actively engaging with nature, getting hands on, creates a deeper connection then simply going for a walk in the woods. And people who feel more connected with the natural world are much more inclined to act in the interest of both the planet as a whole and nature locally through wildlife friendly gardening, community spaces and involvement in local planning.
Sow a few more seeds this spring: the seeds of a lifelong habit that will benefit personal health, community and our planet.
Happy Gardening from Alison
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