On Sunday, 11 October South Africans across the country will celebrate Garden Day – their unique green spaces and gardens in every shape and size. Created by gardening app Candide, Garden Day is a growing movement uniting people in their love for plants and flowers since 2016. This year, Garden Day is especially poignant. Over the past few months, South Africans have turned to their green spaces to find solace and balance. Gardening has been proven to boost both mental and physical well-being and create a sense of belonging and connection. With spring in the air, it offers a chance to pause, reflect, and celebrate a season of new beginnings.
The Happiness Effect of Gardens
According to a recent survey by the gardening app Candide, 96% of people said they felt happier when spending downtime in their gardens. The findings revealed the most popular garden activities are spending time in a favourite spot admiring plants, listening to birdsong and watching the wildlife, breathing in the fresh air and garden scents, enjoying a cuppa and a chat, taking me time with a quiet bite to eat, playing with the children, reading a book, or lazing on the grass. But that’s not all that’s good about gardening and anyone from a newbie gardener to a gardening guru can benefit from the calming effects of mulching, potting, pruning or weeding. Here are a few good reasons to get gardening:
Improves immune system – Spending time in the sun increases the absorption of vitamin D, which in turn helps the body absorb calcium to keep your bones and immune system healthy.
Burns calories – Gardening is hard work and can burn as many as 330 calories in one hour. Swopping your gym membership for gardening five times a week might be a very feasible idea.
Relieves stress – Gardening requires a lot of physical activity and helps to release a group of feel-good hormones (endorphins) which makes one feel relaxed and satisfied. Also, being outside in sunlight is an instant mood booster.
Reduces the risk of stroke – Numerous studies have shown that gardening lowers the risk of stroke and heart disease, and can prolong your life by up to as much as 30%.
Improves diet and gut health – Several studies show that gardeners eat more fruits and vegetables than their peers and people who grow their food tend to eat (and be) healthier.
Anger therapy – Ever wanted to get rid of that built up tension after a rough day? Simply doing some heavy digging or serious pruning can help you blow off some steam. Did we mention it’s free?
Creates a sense of responsibility – Growing and maintaining a garden creates a sense of responsibility, purpose and ownership.
Enhances the sensory system – Gardening engages all senses, like smelling fresh herbs, feeling the soil between your fingers and listening to the bees buzzing around the blooms.
This is especially valuable for the development and education of young children as it stimulates their sensory awareness.
Channels your inner creative – Gardening helps inspire creativity and allows individuals to express themselves in unique ways. It offers an outlet to connect with oneself, one’s dreams and one’s passions by creating a space to reflect, nurture and grow.
Stay connected – Community gardens bring people together and create a common purpose. Everyone has a need to belong. Being a part of a community fulfils this and with that comes a range of health benefits for the individuals involved.
For more information visit www.gardenday.co.za