The health benefits of gardening – Grady Newsource
From planting gardens to baking bread, the COVID-19 lockdown has taken interesting turns in the name of boredom. Now, not only are plants continuing to thrive thanks to our country’s newfound interest in gardening, but people have also started to see the positive changes horticulture has to offer for mental health.
Why it’s newsworthy: The COVID-19 gardening trend that has outlived our short-term quarantine, but continues to benefit the long-term mental health of those involved in gardening.
According to this recent Statistic study, “The market size of the plant and flower growing industry in the United States reached US $ 15.34 billion in 2020 … The industry is expected to grow by 1.8% in 2021.”
The health benefits of horticulture have been around long before the words “coronavirus” and “pandemic” became buzzwords every day.
Wellstar Cobb Hospital has been using Horticultural Therapy (HT) to help seniors cope with the harsh realities of aging since November 1992.
In addition, a study for the Journal of Environmental and Public Health Research concluded “Evidence supports that HT is effective in increasing mental well-being, engagement in meaningful activities. “
Leaving the national framework, our Athens bubble has certainly contributed to the increase in sales of plants and gardening since the pandemic.
Willow Samsel, director of Sunrise Nursery in Winterville, Georgia, recently opened for the fall season and admits sales have increased since the pandemic.
“We saw people buying food plants and things to garden and things to do at home,” Samsel said.
Using his green thumb wisely, Samsel has even rehabilitated his own family garden, but it’s not just an aesthetic appeal.
“I quit work and just dug in my backyard, I think people are just starting to come out for their sanity,” Samsel said.
The Athens region is no stranger to large lawns and green spaces thanks to the expansive University of Georgia campus. Not only do these lawns, gardens and spaces provide an aesthetically pleasing place to study, they also help students concentrate more.
According to this study in Applied psychology: health and well-being, “The previous results collectively suggest that it is time for randomized clinical trials to test the impacts of regular exposure to green spaces as a treatment for ADHD.”
Green spaces have been proven to help elementary school students focus and reduce ADHD symptoms. Fortunately, these green space benefits don’t just apply to schoolchildren.
State Master Gardener Sheri Dorn studies the human side of horticulture. Dorn likes to dig deeper when it comes to understanding why people garden and advocates for people of all ages to benefit from greenery.
“That’s what’s cool about plants. We can study specific age groups, whether you are in third year, a second year college student, or a senior in a residential facility. We can study all of these age groups and we still see the positive impacts, the positive influence of plants, relaxation and mental restoration, ”she said.
The county of Athens-Clarke also participated in the construction of outdoor spaces for residents. The Oconee River Greenway is a family-friendly trail system that features a variety of points of interest.
The short-term benefits of gardening include a healthier diet, physical activity, and relaxation.
“So in the short term we can obviously eat fresh food. Maybe we can diversify our diet and definitely get some exercise, ”Dorn said.
Dorn especially enjoys being able to come home after a long day at work and stay focused on what really matters.
“You can have immediate mental change. You can get involved with what’s going on in your garden and really reduce the stress and mental fixation on your job, ”she said.
In the long run, people may see lower stress levels and a higher level of well-being.
One notable benefit of gardening can even benefit an entire community. As Dorn said, studies show that people who actively garden are more aware of what is going on in their community and neighborhood.
“This is an important food for thought at the moment given the level of social conflict we face every day. It is quite important to think about how the simple flowerpots on our porch have been connected to reduced crime rates in communities. As people garden and take care of their landscapes, property values increase and communities become desirable places, ”said Dorn.
On the other hand, green spaces face certain limitations with regard to negative externalities affecting the success of the garden.
These negative results include invasion of the privacy of some residents who live near these green spaces and an increased number of strangers near the premises. Additionally, some residents noted an increased fear of noise, litter and vandalism.
The American Association of Community Gardening tells readers that most gardens cannot afford disturbing neighbors or garden crimes at all.
To tackle these issues for a more sustainable future, the organization recommends that communities “… choose bylaws carefully so they have procedures to follow when members fail to keep their plots clean and up to code. A well-organized garden with strong leadership and committed members can overcome almost any obstacle.
Now vaccine distribution is underway and the COVID-19 quarantine has passed, but all plants are here to stay.
According to this Axiom study, more than 80 percent of those surveyed felt good about their gardening. This prompts many new gardeners to continue to reap the rewards of caring for their plants.
Citizens living in city apartments often do not have access to an outdoor green space or garden. Fortunately, these benefits also work for indoor gardening.
Cat Comis, an Atlanta resident, doesn’t have a lot of options for building a large gardening space.
“I love gardening. I’m gardening on my patio because I live in a small box right now and it’s my only outdoor space, ”she said.
Another recent study by Axiom reveals that 46% of people say indoor gardening with houseplants is a meaningful activity.
Whether it’s an indoor booth or an outdoor garden, people get their attention back with plants.
“It’s in these spaces that people connect, and it’s the plants that provide common ground. People of all nationalities, faiths, skin colors, genres… they meet and get to know each other. It’s the plants that are kind of the proverbial glue that brings people together, ”said Dorn.
Gianna Perani graduated in Journalism and Minor in Communication with a Certificate in Sports Media at the University of Georgia.