Spirits can flag as quickly as gardens can fade, so follow Glen Headland’s advice and put the heart back into both with a garden full of soul where you can slow down, feel, think and just be…
Today’s frenetic lifestyles can sap our energies and leave us feeling disorientated and out of sorts but gardening has the power to put the brakes on stress and anxiety by reconnecting us with the natural world. Nature provides a respite from the constant effort to screen out competing stimuli in our busy lives. Because humans find nature inherently engrossing, in the garden we don’t have to make an effort and this reduces mental fatigue and refreshes the mind.
It’s a known fact that gardens are medicine for the mind and scientists have found that spending two hours a week outdoors is linked to better health and well-being. Being in a garden employs all five human senses, and more, for when man and nature are in harmony, the magic starts, our natural rhythms are restored, we forget our worries and tune into life on a more intuitive level.
Scientific research has shown that gardening contributes to both physical and mental health and that gardeners have the same brain wave patterns as people who meditate. Taking part in community gardening can also encourage people to adopt healthier behaviours. It may be, for example, that neighbourhood projects can be reached on foot or by bicycle – prompting people to take up more active transport options in their daily lives. Eating the produce from a community garden may also help people to form the habit of eating fresh, locally grown food.
So tuck in, tune in and let your garden work its magic.
Use scented plants, flowing lines, healing herbs for a garden that has it all. A meandering path will ensure you appreciate the journey – with no destination in sight you simply have to enjoy the here and now. Designed to delight all the senses, create a corner that boasts musky roses for summer interest and Viburnum bodnantense Charles Lamont to please your nose from October through to March, touchy-feely lavender will add extra zing whatever the time of year and the visual impact of reds and pink flowers – life’s energising colours – will revitalise. Add the crunch of gravel and a selection of herbs to tease the tastebuds and round off this sensory sensation
The shape of the earth, the centre of a flower, the cycle of life – circles are everywhere. They have no beginning and no end and thus represent the everlasting. Recreate this ancient symbol in your garden and appreciate its calming influence. A circular pond or fountain, round seating areas or curved borders all encourage relaxation. Reconnect with the earth’s energy by walking barefoot on fragrant camomile paths, brushing cool, blue lavender as you go
The medicinal power of herbs has been utilised for centuries, but Queen of cure-alls is surely Echinacea. North American Shaman still use it to treat wounds and snakebites, but it also strengthens the immune system and wards off infection. The long flowering season of eye-catching Echinacea purpurea makes it a popular choice for the borders and just knowing it’s there will no doubt make you feel better!
A comfy chair, a cuppa and some climbing plants are all it takes to convert your garden into a private oasis, where you can hide away and tune into nature’s symphony. Listen to the birds, leaves russtling and singing in the breeze and maybe, install wind chimes, to peal with resonant base notes.