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.

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! 

Recommended read:

  • Davina's Kitchen Favourites by Davina McCall

Bestselling author David McCall shares no-fuss, sugar-free recipes full of food she loves to cook for family and friends in this book. Perfect for times when life gets hectic, or you want a nutritious meal but don't have hours to spare in the kitchen. 

If you are looking for help with your grow your own efforts, find expert advice in the Grow Your Own section of this website. 

Bring 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.

Read our guide to foliage houseplants for advice on varieties and how to grow and care for them 

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.

Recommended read:

  •   Run for Fun, 5K, 10K, Half and Marathon by Justin Bowyer

If you are looking to boost your fitness even further, running is one of the simplest and cheapest forms of exercise. This book looks at reasons to run, technique and maintaining motivation among other things. It is ideal for beginners through to intermediate runners. 

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!


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?

Recommended read:

  • 50 Mindfulness Series by Dr. Arlene K. Unger 

With editions including 'happy', 'calm', 'courage' and 'sleep', the 50 mindfulness series are practical guides that offer techniques and exercises to help you achieve that particular topic each day.   

  • Nature Puzzles
When you are enjoying a break from gardening, research has shown that regularly doing puzzles, such as crosswords, can keep the brain active and sharp, as well as being a great stress release. Combine these with a love of the botanical with beautiful nature puzzle books. Find versions for crosswords, sudoku, wordsearches and brain training puzzles

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, workshops and cooking classes at Hillier Garden Centres every year. Come and join if you would like to learn something new this year.