It’s a scientifically proven fact that gardening and planting flower bulbs is a wonderful therapy for stress. What can you do in the garden in autumn? Most people see their gardens as being in the process of falling asleep for the winter. But if you don’t garden in autumn, you won’t have wonderful spring-flowering bulbs, so be sure not to miss out.
Reading or gardening, which is the most relaxing
Returning to the therapeutic effects of planting and gardening, a study conducted in the Netherlands produced interesting results. All the study participants were subjected to a stressful activity. Afterwards, half the group were told to relax with a good book while the other half were sent outdoors to do some gardening, like weeding, mowing or planting flower bulbs.
After 30 minutes of stress-relieving activity, both groups were asked to report on their mood, and they were tested to see what their cortisol levels were. Cortisol is a hormone that’s associated with stress, so we have both reported mood and a physical measurement to examine. Guess which group had the least stress? Well, this isn’t a blog on reading good books, is it?
Depressed? Go and plant some bulbs!
A study that is often cited when discussing the therapeutic effects of gardening, tested the effect of gardening on Norwegian patients suffering from Bipolar disorder and clinical depression. The group gardened for 6 hours a week over a period of three months. Half of them exhibited a decrease in depression symptoms. Three months later, they were still feeling better, even though they weren’t gardening any more.
Exercise helps you de-stress – go dig over your flower bulb beds!
Everybody knows that exercise helps us to let off steam – and it has been proven by science too. Admittedly, gardening isn’t a particularly punishing workout, but it still gets you moving, and who wants to punish themselves anyway?
Reboot your brain with gardening
Is gardening good for your brain? It certainly is. There even seems to be evidence that it reduces the chances of developing dementia later in life. Could it be the stress-reduction benefits that causes this effect? Whatever the reason, that’s just one more reason to see every minute you spend gardening as time invested in your health and wellness.
A sense of accomplishment and a sense of wonder
The best thing about gardening, however, is that wonderful sense of achievement when your garden begins to bloom. You flit from flower to flower like a butterfly admiring the colours, the perfect forms of the flowers and the way the dew glistens on every petal.
A lot of experts will tell you that “mindfulness”, living in the moment, is a wonderful way to let go of stress. Well, when you’re admiring the results of your gardening success, there’s nowhere else for your mind to be but in the here and now!
The feeling never fades. After more than twenty years as a commercial horticulturist, I still marvel at every new shot, the freshness of new foliage, and the magical way in which a rather plain looking flower bulb transforms itself into a vision of beauty.
What are you waiting for?
Autumn is on its way! Don’t let the grass grow under your feet. It’s time you started preparing your garden for the glories of spring. So order your flower bulbs now, get out there and plant some bulbs!