Health Benefits of Gardening

Have you ever noticed that stories of paradise often feature descriptions of lush, tropical gardens? There’s a reason for that.

Studies have shown that simply seeing a garden has healthy psychological effects. Growing and tending your own garden can be a powerful stress reliever. Medical professionals have long agreed on the therapeutic effects of gardening, back to the 19th century. In fact, there’s an entire medical journal dedicated to the topic.

A garden can provide a serene, peaceful escape from the everyday stresses of work and family. The time you spend researching and planning your garden uses your mind and allows you to flex your creative muscles. With a garden, you are always in control. You decide what gets planted where and even what gets planted at all. Your boss can tell you to rewrite that report, but not where to plant your carnations. Pulling weeds and hauling mulch can even burn up to 500 calories an hour. After you’ve finished the hard work, you can relax in your garden and enjoy healthy fruits and veggies you’ve grown on your own.

We’ve all come a long way since growing beans in paper cups in grammar school science class. Admittedly, not all of us have sprouted a green thumb in that time. Here are some ideas to get you started on a stress-free spring garden:

– An herb garden is great for beginners, or those with little space to garden. Start with parsley or rosemary for your next romantic dinner.

– Your local garden center can help you pick out blooms that appeal butterflies, a pretty edition to any spring garden.

– Try adding cat grass to the mix for furry four-legged friends. (Pets are a great stress reliever, too. See the article on page 4.)

– Fill your garden with handmade stepping stones, a fun project for all ages. Handprinted pavers are a great to watch your family (and garden) grow.

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