Gardening and wellbeing in 2020

We asked Annabelle Padwick, the founder of Life at No.27 to share her expert advice on how gardening is a powerful therapy for positive wellbeing. Annabelle is a professional gardener, wellbeing therapist, gardening writer, public speaker and potato growing addict. Her therapeutic and educational programmes for children and adults, are proven to build confidence, teach new skills, help you make new friends and ultimately, have fun….

Gardening has incredible powers; it’s healing, comforting, joyful, exciting and totally absorbing. Getting out in the garden builds your confidence, gives you time for yourself, keeps you active, feels good between your toes and makes you both physically and mentally healthier.

It is also hard work at times and doesn’t always go to plan, just like life. I will always praise how gardening can help improve your life, as it totally changed mine. But I also recognise it isn’t always bright sunflowers, perfect roses and juicy tomatoes. This is exactly why I teach gardening to children and adults, alongside wellbeing discussions and games. Growing your own food safely teaches resilience; if a seed doesn’t germinate or a plant dies, you can try work out why and just try again. Sowing little seeds teach the power of self-care, love and nurture; give a seedling or yourself the right amount of water, food, sunlight, shade and love, then see what happens. You thrive! Plants and humans are very similar, some might just say that we have more complicated emotions. But, through experience with some of my plants, I think I find them very complicated too.

Here is just a few of my tips on how gardening can benefit you:

Time out

We aren’t designed to cope with the chaos, demand, expectations and pressures we put on ourselves. In order to cope mentally and physically, we need to take time out. Whether you choose to get out in the garden, read a book or watch a movie; we all need to take time to slow down. Personally though, I love to get lost in the actions, colours, smells and tastes of the garden. My thoughts disappear and my smile reappears.

Grow confidence

You don’t need to set out to re-design your whole garden for a confidence boost! Start simple by planting up a few pots, raised beds or borders. As your plants begin to grow, so will your confidence. Take your time and gradually build up to more complicated tasks like sowing seeds and pruning. If you ever get stuck, ask a friend or local garden centre for help.

Get active

We all want to be physically fitter, which in turn can help make us mentally healthier. Gardening gets your body moving at your own pace, boosts your metabolism up a gear and increases your heart rate. What’s great about gardening for fitness is that it is cheaper than the gym (unless you are a plant addict), you get double the rewards and it is adaptable for many abilities and lifestyles! Raised beds are great if moving around and working the ground isn’t possible. You can sit on the edge or in a chair by the side and still get stuck in. The arms, abs and shoulders are working and your plants are growing. WIN, WIN!

Meet new people

Gardening is great to do on your own, but sometimes it can be even better in a group. When you want to make new friends, gardening with others gives you an automatic common interest to start up conversations. You can get lost in the plants, say a few words, then get back to the soil. There isn’t any awkward silences and you can build up conversations when you are ready.

Eat healthier

I love running outside to the containers and raised beds full of vegetables, immediately snacking on the nearest bean or tomato… yummy! Growing and storing your own produce keeps the winter stews coming too. The odd takeaway treat or junk cupboard dash will always stay I’m sure, but learning to grow your own food makes delicious goodness easier to grab, cook and eat!

If Annbelle's tips have given you the urge to grow something, start gardening or just make the most of your own garden then check out some of our other helpful blogs or head to the main website to find out more about about beautiful and easy to build raised beds.

To find out more about the work Annabelle does as part of the Life at No.27 social enterprise click  the logo below.