It’s January 1st and with pen poised over a sheet of paper, we’re planning how we’re going to make the very best of 2020. Some of us are focused on losing weight, getting fit and becoming more active. Some are thinking about enriching our social lives, helping others, giving back to the community. Other people are bent on starting a study course, setting up a business, or facing some sort of individual challenge.
The beginning of the year is also the time when Governments send out warnings and launch campaigns to encourage people to change their behaviour for their own good. This year, Public Health England, a Government agency, has issued press releases alerting people to the impending “Middle Age Health Crisis”. It seems that eight in every 10 people aged 40 to 60 in England are overweight, drink too much or get too little exercise.
In recent years the previously taboo subject of mental health has been catapulted into the limelight, with charities such as Heads Together, set up by the younger members of the royal family, achieving widespread awareness. The BBC ran a season of programmes called In the Mind, exploring a very wide range of mental health issues and in the same year, the Mental Health Foundation took as its theme, the role of relationships in maintaining a healthy and fulfilling life.
In these blogs, we have returned time and again to the role that gardening can play in our own wellbeing. It’s no secret that gardening is as good as, or even better, than going to the gym. Gardening helps you to lose weight and stay physically active. But research has also shown that time spent in the natural environment fosters creativity, improves mood and self-esteem. GPs are even beginning to prescribe gardening instead of medication for those suffering from depression.
Gardening with others, such as in community gardens, gives you all of the physical and mental health benefits of your own garden, as well as opportunities to make friends and get involved. Police departments and social services agencies all recognise the role of community gardening in forging local bonds, integrating diverse groups, and reducing crime.
Gardening is an escape, a feast for all of the senses and an opportunity to experience and facilitate growth. The Genus team is out there, even in the middle of winter, thermals under our gardening trousers, cosy in our gilets and busy tidying the beds.
So let’s all go for it. Let’s do even more gardening in 2020.