Predicting the future and fashion trends is something of a mug’s game but I am interested in the general direction of travel for gardening; not the cat walk world of show garden design but the role of gardening in people’s lives and communities. Over the last few years I have seen three influences develop that can complement and combine to make parks and gardens even more beneficial.
Firstly, the move away from harmful chemicals for wholesale weed and pest control through a greater understanding of their far reaching, and often unintended, effects. This does not mean allowing free range to weeds and slugs: just that the options for gardeners and the choices that we make are starting to change. We are seeing many more householders encouraging wildlife to co-exist in the garden, feeding birds, providing insect hotels and leaving corners undisturbed. We have finally moved beyond the irony of getting rid of nature in a garden in order to create a beautiful ‘natural’ space. Read more on Wildlife friendly gardening.
The second influence is a greater understanding of the wellbeing benefits of green spaces and nature related activities and in particular the familiarity and accessibility of gardens and gardening. This will not come as a new revelation to most of you, after all, why are we all gardening at home? The change in the last few years is the emergence of evidence from research projects that creative and productive activity in a green space is a key contributor to good mental health. The term Nature Deficit Disorder was coined in 2005 and now, over 10 years later, gardening either at home in at a community garden is becoming key to wellbeing. Read more on Gardening for Wellbeing.
The final influence on gardening comes from busier lives, greater choice of leisure activities and less inherited gardening knowledge or experience in today’s adults. Gardens for most people need to be simple to look after and attractive all year round. There is no wellbeing benefit if you hate your out of control plot.
I see no difficulty in a garden satisfying all three of these themes. A green space that enables us to feel part of nature, appreciate the wildlife around us, relieve stress, constantly learn and see the beautiful results of our labours. Don’t you deserve a great garden?
Happy Gardening from Alison.