Gardening for Health & Well-being

There are so many benefits of gardening, beyond creating beautiful outdoor - and indoor - spaces. From exercise to fresh air to lessons in patience, it is a hobby and a passion that gives so much. 

 Here are just some of the wonderful ways gardening can boost your physical and mental well-being.

1. Healthy Eating with Grow your Own

If one of your goals is to eat more healthy food, what better way of knowing your food is fresh and additive free than by growing your own? There’s something about food that you’ve grown yourself that tastes that little bit more special.

Leafy salad is one of the simplest things to grow and beans, onions, garlic and carrots are also popular. If you plan ahead you can ensure you have something cropping all year round. You can even set yourself the challenge of growing your Christmas dinner! 

Find out what to plant, when and the best time to harvest with our seed sowing calendar

If you are looking for healthy recipe ideas, we can recommend the following books, available from Hillier Garden Centres

  • Clean Eating Alice. Eat Well Every Day by Alive Liveing
    A selection of 100 new healthy and delicious recipes by Clean Eating Alice, the Sunday Times bestselling author who already enjoys a huge following on Instagram. 

  • Cook Yourself Young by Elizabeth Peyton-Jones
    Naturopath and food and health expert, Elizabeth Peyton-Jones, delivers her follow-up book to the popular Eat Yourself Young. The book includes more than 100 'Youthing' recipes, with the concept that, by changing your cooking, you can live a healthier, more balanced and energized life - and rejuvenate your looks. 

  • Five: 150 effortless ways to eat 5+ fruit and veg a day by Rachel de Thample 
    We know we are meant to eat our 'five a day' of fruit and vegetables, but most of us aren’t even getting half that. In Five, Rachel de Thample offers over 150 easy, delicious recipes that will boost your daily fruit and vegetable intake.  

Hillier Tip: You can also find a number of 'healthy eating' food ranges in Hillier Garden Centres. These include hummus, lentil and quinoa chips from the 'Eat Real' range, gluten and wheat free biscuits from 'lovemore' and sugar-free chocolate bars and biscuits from 'Free'ist'.  

2. Bringing the Outdoors In with Houseplants

You can still experience the benefits of nature when it’s too cold for a stroll around the garden by having houseplants. 

Shades of green are recognised as being restful, so introducing houseplants to your home can help ease stresses and boost mental wellbeing. As well as looking good, houseplants also improve air quality by trapping and capturing pollutants, allowing you to breathe in cleaner air.

3. A Physical Workout

Gardening can be quite an energetic task, particularly when spring comes around and the garden needs preparing. Digging, clearing, raking and mowing can all be strenuous work. The upside? It’s a great calorie burner and really boosts your heart rate. 

Our top tip: it’s not just you that needs to be up to the task, make sure your tools are too. Winter is a great time to clean and sharpen your tools and replenish any that need it before the new gardening season arrives.

4. Plants with Holistic Benefits

Garden plants have far more uses than simply looking pretty; many have holistic health benefits too. 

Thyme, Valerian, Chamomile, Mint, Rosemary and Aloe can all be grown at home and are said to have benefits such as lowering blood pressure, boosting immunity, soothing nerves and anxiety, conquering insomnia, aiding digestion, calming itchy skin, boosting memory and increasing focus. 

With many of these also producing enticing fragrances, you are in for a treat for all the senses!

5. Mindfulness

Gardening and mindfulness go hand in hand. Mindfulness is all about being more aware of and taking enjoyment in what is happening both inside and outside ourselves at that very moment. It’s about disconnecting from the stresses of everyday life and taking pleasure in simple things. 

Surely nothing encapsulates that more than gardening?

6. Continuous Learning

The government has published a booklet outlining ‘five ways to mental wellbeing’, suggesting we all connect, be active, take notice, keep learning and give to improve personal wellbeing. 

Gardening can play a role in every single one of these, including the opportunity to keep learning. There is always the opportunity to improve your skills or find out more about specific plants and how to care for them.

We hold a number of talks and workshops at Hillier Garden Centres every year. Come and join if you would like to learn something new this year.