A study of over 4,000 people in Stockholm, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, has showed that regular daily gardening can prolong life by up to 30 per cent for those over 60, whilst cutting the risk of heart attacks or strokes. Gardening was voted the favourite pastime for pensioners in a recent Age UK survey, and this study shows that it provides the same health benefits as regular exercise.
The research showed that those who were most active day to day had 30 per cent less risk of death and 27 per cent lower risk of heart attack than those who led a sedentary lifestyle, even if they didn’t take any type of formal exercise. The 60+ age group spend much of their day performing routine activities, and it can often be difficult for them to exercise intensively, which is what makes these findings so important.
Taking place over 12 years, the study showed that those who were more active on a daily basis also had lower levels of blood fats as well as lower insulin and glucose levels. The study clearly indicates that gardening is an excellent form of exercise for the over 60s, increasing energy expenditure and metabolic rate. This is good news for older adults who don’t want to join the gym or take up running – a moderate activity such as gardening will provide plenty of health benefits.
November is proving a bumper month for Genus in the press. Here we're featured in the Dig In news section of Gardens Illustrated. We're very happy they mentioned the trousers' special stab-proof pocket for secateurs!
Monty Don, presenter of the BBC Two programme Gardeners' World, has put forward his views that everyone in the UK should have access to a garden or allotment, especially young people between the crucial ages of 10 and 30.
The popular presenter told the Cheltenham Literature Festival that it was essential to introduce gardening to the younger generation, pointing out that there are not enough young people inspired by gardening: “It’s very easy to get people interested in primary school but by the time someone’s 13 or 14, they don’t want to be thought of as a kid,” he said.
“We have a huge drop-out rate at about the age of 10, and then they come back to it about the age of 30. There is a real gap.”
Monty Don said that he would like to see compulsory gardens or allotments provided to flats and houses, because it was important to give people “a stake in this land”, and that hands-on activity such as mowing the lawn, tending land and growing vegetables is what really gets people interested in gardening.
The presenter also advocated a sharing scheme “where people who can’t manage their garden, can’t manage all their garden or are simply happy to share it in some way could do so with people who register. It does happen where people dig up a garden, grow veg, they have all the vegetables they want and so do the household who owns the garden. Also the grass is cut.”
The concept of colours influencing our moods has been around for a long time. If you are interested in learning about popular interpretations of different colours with a view to designing your garden, you may find these examples useful:
Green is a calming, relaxing colour which instils a feeling of tranquillity. It’s also regarded as restorative and health-giving, so it’s the perfect colour for your garden. Ensure you have plenty of greenery – leafy shrubs, bamboo or even a hedge will give your garden that vibrant, lush green appearance.
Choose bright yellow daffodils, cheery sunflowers and pale yellow Graham Thomas roses if you want to lift your spirits. Yellow is said to be an uplifting colour and creates a happy, cheerful vibe in your garden - so yellow flowers could be just the thing to help you stay positive on dark, dreary days.
Pink and red
Choose pink roses, red geraniums or gorgeous deep pink foxglove flowers if you’re looking for a romantic, feminine feel in your garden. Red is thought to intensify whatever emotions you are already feeling, so use it sparingly. Pink, o the other hand, is said to help you stay light-hearted and playful.
It's possible to create areas of your garden for specific moods. You might want to grow green or blue plants around a pond, for example, to create a calming atmosphere.
Sustainable gardening is nothing new: the concept actually came about during the First World War (1914-1918) with the invention of so-called ‘Victory Gardens' in which vegetables, fruit and herbs were grown in public parks as well as private residences. Victory gardens were utilised in the UK, the US, Canada and Germany during both world wars to reduce the pressure on public food supply.
A century later, sustainable gardening is still popular, and still easy to accomplish for those wanting to use their gardens to make a positive contribution to the environment.
Protect the planet
Sustainable gardening is all about maintaining nature’s balance. This means using naturally available resources without harming the environment with chemical pesticides or supplements. Rotating crops so that the soil remains productive, using organic fertilisers or soil additives to keep the soil healthy and choosing plants with the highest resistance to local pests and diseases will all help you to make your garden sustainable, whether you have a tiny urban plot or a huge orchard!
One of the first steps towards sustainability is growing your own fruits, vegetables and herbs, and there are plenty of blogs and websites out there with tips to assist you.
You should also create a compost area; use waste from your plants and lawn to create your own mulch – this will keep the ground moist, whilst nourishing the soil with natural nutrients. You should also weed your garden regularly to eliminate the need for chemical pesticides.
A sustainable garden should not only protect the environment, it should also be low maintenance and save you money.
Herbs are a versatile ingredient for cooking, but they also have many therapeutic benefits, and can be used in a variety of health and beauty products. Here are some reasons why growing your own herbs will make you smile.
Your window box will look beautiful
Nothing looks more stunning than a window box filled with herbs. Whether you choose aromatic Thyme, fresh Mint or colourful Purple Sage, you’ll enjoy opening your window every morning to a beautiful window box.
Your food will taste divine
Your friends and family will wonder how you’ve created such a mouth-watering dish – the secret is in the herbs! Popular herbs for cooking include Rosemary, Mint, Thyme, Basil and Parsley, but feel free to mix and match.
You’ll enjoy breathing in the soothing scents
The aroma of herbs is soothing to the senses; just crush a mint leaf between your fingers and breathe in the fresh scent if you don’t believe us! Herbs such as Camomile can be used to make a delicious tea that’s perfect to help you relax.
You’ll feel close to nature
Gardening is good for your mind, body and spirit, and growing your own herbs is absolutely part of that. If you’ve got a garden, head out into the sunshine and start planting those herb bushes. If you’re an apartment-dweller, go with a window-box or balcony display. Wherever you live, you can indulge in the pleasure of growing your own herbs.
You’ll have an opportunity to be creative
You can use your herbs to create beauty products, make delicious soup or herbal tea or add flavour to your cooking. There’s no end of ways to be creative with your herbs!
Gardens don’t have to be at ground-level: there are plenty of city dwellers making the most of their available space by creating picture-perfect gardens on rooftops and balconies. Here are 5 ideas for your roof garden that are sure to inspire:
1. Lovely lawns
Whether you lay a real lawn or opt for realistic artificial grass, a lawn can make your rooftop feel like a luxurious and relaxing space – and it will look fantastic!
2. Create a snug
Use wicker or metal furniture with comfy cushions to create a snug – an area for drinking, eating and hanging out with friends and family, or just reading your favourite book.
3. Add some shelter
You may want to use your roof garden in the autumn and winter months, so add a retractable awning or parasol to benches and tables to create shelter from the elements.
4. Appeal to your senses
Planting a rooftop herb garden not only ensure that you’ll have fragrant, fresh herbs for use in your cooking year round, it will also create a relaxing aroma that you can enjoy on sunny days.
5. Relax in the tub
A hot tub is a great addition to your rooftop garden, surrounded by stylish decking. The sound of water is known for its calming qualities, and you can even enjoy a dip in the hot tub during the winter months – but make sure you have a fluffy towel to hand!
Genus' press coverage is gathering momentum.
The Daily Mail Weekend section on 28 October showed a great photograph of our orange jersey and suggested that its readers might like to "Buy this..."