Posts tagged 'gardeners'
It’s the month when resolutions are made and so very many people think about dieting to lose the extra pounds gained over the festive season. A recent survey showed that about 6 in 10 people were planning to shed weight or concentrate on improving their fitness for their New Year promise. The good news for gardeners is that gardening substitutes for diets. Yes REALLY! Getting out there and involving yourself in digging, bending, walking, lifting, planting, weeding, pushing and kneeling makes gardening a moderate to strenuous kind of exercise. Estimates vary according to how much you do of which kind of gardening activity, but gardening for more than 30 minutes can help to lose between 150 and 300 calories. Gardeners will be exercising all the major muscle groups as they undertake different gardening jobs, so toning happens as well of course! Clyde Williams of Loughborough University believes that an hour of heavy work in the gym would use about 700 calories, something that can be achieved by three hours gardening varying tasks. You might even consider a gardening weight loss and exercise routine (Wiki has an example and even Bunny Guinness devised one too ). So, all in all, there IS a reason for getting out into the cold January garden and doing a little bit of this and that for the gardener’s sake as well as the garden.
It’s the end of June and we are getting excited about Hampton Court Flower Show which starts next week. One of the specialties of the show is the grand display of roses as well as the Rose of the Year award. Roses are at their very best at this time of year, and, we challenge any gardener not to fall in love with their variety, beauty and scent. Gardeners have cherished roses for hundreds of years. As early as 500 BC, Confucius wrote about roses in the Imperial gardens, and there were over 200 volumes of books about roses in the emperor’s library. During the Han dynasty the popularity of rose gardening began to threaten the take over of agricultural land to the point where an imperial order demanded they be ploughed back into the soil.
This long history of rose growing has seen a steady revival in recent years since expert gardeners such as David Austin began to introduce roses, blending the characteristics of old fashioned roses with modern demands for repeat flowering and a wide range of colours. Its not just garden beauty that roses bring us. They can also contribute to our wellbeing in other ways.
Many uses were recorded in Persia over 2000 years ago, and in 75 AD Pliny the Elder listed 32 diseases the roses could be used to cure. Rose oil can nourish mature skin and help with wrinkles, and manage hormones, grief and emotional distress or depression. Rose petals are known to be antiseptic, and Chinese tea made of dried rose buds can help with flatulence, and stomach pains and cramps. Rose hips have astringent properties and have been used to treat colds, flu and gastric problems because of their vitamin content. How gratifying to know that flowers have such health giving powers. Roll on the festival of the rose!
Some inspirational gardeners have names and achievements that are well known. However, the less familiar may have influenced and changed landscapes and gardening practice just as much as the famous.
One such gardener is Patrick Geddes. A Scotsman born in Aberdeenshire in 1854, he trained to be a botanist but was unable to carry forward this profession after contracting an illness that partially blinded him. He moved to Edinburgh where he developed a revolutionary approach to regenerating the Old Town tenement slum areas. His answer lay in preservation of historic buildings, at the same time as partially removing buildings in over crowded areas opening up spaces for gardens. He believed that poorer people living in industrialised cities, particularly the children, were “nature starved”. So he went on to promote a theory of education that advocated equal emphasis on the hand (physical/manual), heart (compassion/political) and head (learning /psychological /analytical).
Gardening was a key part of this. He established children's gardens that were located on more than 10 “gap sites” across Edinburgh’s Old Town that were derelict as a result of Council led tenement demolition. The gardens were to provide an outdoor nature filled experience, including the physicality of gardening work, the head through learning skills and techniques and knowledge of food and flower production, and a lot of heart through love and response to the garden and nature. Some of these Geddes gardens continue to exist today, although they now exist as local wildlife reserves, community gardens or private green spaces. His ideas about urban green spaces, maintaining community and mixed housing styles, all went on to influence town planning and urban architecture.
Geddes said 'This is a green world with animals comparatively few and small, and all dependent on the leaves. By leaves we live. Some people have strange ideas that they live by money. They think energy is generated by the circulation of coins. Whereas the world is mainly a vast leaf colony, growing on and forming a leafy soil, not a mere mineral mass: we live not by the jingling of our coins, but by the fullness of our harvests.'
The Genus gilet is proving very popular. The Sunday Telegraph of 8th December includes it in a list of unforgettable gifts to give your nearest and dearest, and says it is an "ideal present for the all-weather gardener".
The Genus gilet is one of the Christmas gift ideas for gardeners featured in the winter edition of Grow It magazine.