How gardening can promote feelings of wellbeing

Gardening has been linked many times to personal and community wellbeing, through spending time outside in a garden or cultivating plants on a terrace or windowsill -

as your plants flourish so too will you.

Audley Villages has many opportunities to hone your gardening skills, whether that be in the communal gardens, allotment or your private balcony or terrace. It is even possible to bring some of the beneficial effects of the garden into your home.

Bringing the garden indoors

If you have limited outdoor space, a windowsill is a great option to use for plants that can have a positive impact on you. There are certain house plants that provide a brilliant service, from purifying the air we breathe, to simply adding colour and fragrance to our indoor space. It is even possible to grow your own herbs and vegetables, many of which will thrive in the warmer indoor temperatures.

Herbs

Herbs can be planted all year and add real depth to your cooking, all from the convenient location of your windowsill. Basil, parsley and chives are a great choice and can be grown from seeds.

Potted plants

Potted plants are an easy way of bringing the feeling of each season into your home. A nice example of this are miniature narcissi and daffodils. They are emblematic of spring and also offer a beautiful splash of colour following the winter months.

Fresh air

It is even possible to grow your own ‘fresh air’ by introducing plants that are said to have air purifying properties. NASA conducted a Clean Air Study and found a variety of species could help remove certain toxins, including the spider plant, aloe vera and peace lily.

Planting with more space

Many properties at Audley Villages come with a private terrace, which give owners more space to support a larger range of potted plants.

Search retirement properties with a balcony or terrace.

If you have a terrace or balcony then as well as growing flowering plants outside, this allows you the space to grow your own vegetables including tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, salad leaves and chilli plants. If you have the space for a climber, then a French bean plant is a great option, offering both edible produce and attractive flowers.

Vertical gardening is another idea that is gaining more attention, particularly for balconies and terraces. Purpose made grow bags with pockets make a perfect home for herbs, salad greens, ferns and trailing plants such as ivy, pelargoniums and lobelia.

Gardening has a positive influence on personal well being, which is why every Audley retirement village has abundant communal gardens and many of them have allotments available to owners.

The shared gardens benefit from the expertise of green fingered owners, as well as those who would like to learn new skills. Getting involved with ongoing gardening projects in this way, is the perfect opportunity for owners to socialise and meet like minded friends, helping to combat loneliness.

The RHS further endorses the link between wellbeing and gardening, which was a key theme at the Chelsea Flower Show in May. The positive power of plants on our mental and physical health was a theme seen across many of the gardens, including a garden co designed by the Duchess of Cambridge. Her playful, family friendly design encouraged generations to get back to nature and play together. The Duchess of Cambridge said: “I really feel that nature, being interactive outdoors, has huge benefits on physical and mental well-being particularly for young kiddies.”

Planning a planted space and learning how to look after your plants keeps the mind active, which not only improves mood but also helps to manage problems such as anxiety and depression. Many gardeners say there is a huge sense of achievement in watching your garden grow and working to create a beautiful space for others to enjoy. If you choose to grow your own vegetables, then you can literally see (and eat) the fruits of your labour. This not only enriches your diet, but if you have a glut of a particular vegetable, you can share them with your friends and neighbours.

Physical activity is recommended for everyone; it helps keep the body fit and also releases endorphins, which further improves well being. Gardening in retirement can be gentle or more strenuous, depending on your preference.

Planting in July

If you feel inspired and want to start gardening then the RHS is a helpful resource, giving you a monthly list of jobs and recommended plants. In July, it recommends sowing spring cabbage, turnips, Oriental vegetables, chicory, fennel, and autumn/winter salads.

Ready to enjoy

And of course lots of fruits and vegetables are now ready to harvest. Look for a pick your own (PYO) farm near our retirement villages for a great day out and perhaps some inspiration to sow your own crops. There are also plenty of garden centres and local horticultural society gardening groups.

Ask about gardening as an owner in an Audley Village.

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