Beat the January blues and get gardening
The health benefits of gardening are not just physical, gardening for mental health can help to keep a clear and focused mind, reduce stress levels and banish the January blues until the longer, warmer and sunnier days of summer arrive.
At Bents we’re big believers in gardening for health benefits – both mental and physical – not to mention the welcome distraction for many of our customers of a visit to their local garden centre to enjoy our Food Hall or the warmth of our Open Skies Glasshouse.
When the air is cold and the sky is grey, even going just as far as your own garden can get you some all-important Vitamin D from the sunlight and some fresh oxygen into your lungs from the crisp winter air.
How long should I spend outside?
You don’t need to be outside for long in order to reap the health benefits of gardening. Research from the Horticultural Trades Association suggests that even just 20 minutes outdoors per day can improve your mood and reduce your stress.
With less to maintain in the garden in winter, it’s easier to spend just a few minutes here and there tidying up, checking bird feeders and cutting back winter shrubs at the end of their growing season.
It’s also proof that you don’t need a gigantic garden in order to spend meaningful time outside. A small area, a balcony or a patio can all provide more than enough entertainment for 20-30 minutes per day.
How can I garden with hard surfaces?
If you don’t have any soil – only a paved area or balcony – then pots and planters are your friends and can help bring some life to a cold, hard, wintry space.
As your plants grow towards maturity, you’ll see the hard surfaces transform behind a blanket of foliage and flowers – and there’s a huge sense of achievement to be found from knowing you grew it all yourself.
How to cut corners with winter gardening
If you want to transform your garden without waiting for everything to grow in from seed, consider buying more mature plants, shrubs or even small trees that will give an immediate sense of an established garden.
You can keep them in pots at first (if appropriate for the plant) and then transfer them into the ground as the days get warmer.
Mature plants, shrubs and trees from your local garden centre are one of the fastest and easiest ways to create a fully fledged garden, and are ideal if you get mental health benefits from the garden itself, rather than from the physical activity of gardening.
We all feel down from time to time, especially in winter when the days can start to drag, but by filling your days with activities like gardening and visiting your local garden centre, you can pass the time until spring much more easily.
Give it a chance – you might find that by the time summer arrives, your garden is in better shape than you ever imagined.