As the lockdown continues and more and more of us find that we have more time on our hands than ever before, getting into the garden and falling in love with your outdoor space is a wonderful and therapeutic way of passing the time. Even if you require the use of straight stairlifts or other mobility aids, keeping active in your green space is a manageable option.
There are a plethora of activities that can keep you occupied in your outdoor space, whether that is a large, green garden, a balcony or just a windowsill. Keep on reading to find out how you can get green-fingered during isolation.
We spoke to M.T. O'Donnell, the face behind The Pink Wheelbarrow, she told us a little more about how enjoying your garden can benefit your health and wellbeing:
“Studies have shown that simply being in a garden is good for mind, body and soul: it lowers the heart rate, calms brain activity, and makes people feel more connected to the world around them. Just thirty minutes of gardening activity will give you physical exercise, fresh air, a dose of vitamin D and will relieve stress and lift your mood – all of which will lead to a better night’s sleep. Gardening is a physical activity which gets the body moving, be that only in gently walking around the garden or in more strenuous activities like digging or mulching.”
She continues to explain a little more: “The calming sound of the outdoors helps also to reduce stress which can be a common reason for sleepless nights – just think how nice it is to hear the sound of birdsong. Levels of the stress hormone cortisol are thought to reduce after half an hour in the garden or on the allotment.
“Getting out into the garden allows you to breathe fresh air and the better the air quality, the better your brain works and the calmer your mind can become. The very act of being in natural light allows the body the best chance of producing vitamin D and regulating hormone levels.”
One of the simplest way to get into your garden and give yourself a rewarding task is to start planting some basic fruit and vegetables. Some may think that growing your own fruit and vegetables is a difficult task, but if you pick the right ones, you’ll soon have fresh produce to use in your kitchen.
Catherine Hughes from Growing Family thinks growing fruit and vegetable is a great way to keep occupied: “Now is a great time to have a go at growing your own vegetables. It’s an easy way to become less reliant on shop-bought produce, and it’s also an ideal garden project to keep the whole family busy. Easy crops to get started with are potatoes, courgettes, onions, French beans, herbs and salad. If you’re tight on outdoor space you can grow all of these in containers too.”
She continues to explain why enjoying your garden in lockdown is a great way to pass the time:
“Spending time in the garden during lockdown has so many benefits. It gives us the opportunity to engage with nature and enjoy all the mood-boosting benefits that come with this. The garden can also provide a calm space to organise your thoughts, or just escape from the world for a while. And tackling a garden project can give you a huge sense of achievement, which is perfect for lockdown when we’re all feeling a bit demotivated and distracted.”
Some of you may find that you already have some fruit trees or bushes in your back garden, but some of the other simple produce to grow include:
Tomato plants and their seeds are easy to get hold of on websites like Amazon or from your local garden centre. Easily grown in small brown pots, you can grow a variety of tomato plants in your windowsill or in a compost bag in your garden.
If you have a little more space in your back garden and your mobility allows you to dig a few small holes, potatoes are an easy and rewarding vegetable to grow and often revive themselves year on year.
Gardeners World explains a little more on their website about how to grow potatoes: “Potatoes are surprisingly easy to grow in large pots, or even a large bag such as an old compost bag, and they require less maintenance this way, too. Simply add a few seed potatoes to a layer of compost, cover with more compost and leave to grow. When the leaves start to appear, cover with more compost.”
A lovely fruit to grow, strawberries are not only delicious, they are also pleasing to the eye when producing their buds. Similarly to tomatoes, strawberries can be grown indoors or outdoors in small tubs or in compostable bags and they are known for returning year after year for up to four years!
Something many haven’t experienced, stargazing is a lovely way to explore the skies of the universe and requires little to no equipment. Sitting in your garden or in your outdoor space as the sun goes down can reveal secrets of the skies that have often gone unnoticed.
Keep a lookout for the significant constellations and shooting stars as you gaze at galaxies light-years away. You’ll be able to see some of the most significant stars and planets with your naked eye, without the use of a telescope.
If you’re a lover of birds and are keen to watch the birds in your own garden, what better way to keep yourself occupied than by making your very own bird table for them to enjoy?
Creating a bird table doesn’t have to mean getting the hammer and saw out, you can use a flat and steady surface as your base and add a few finishing touches to entice your favourite varieties. Add a small bowl or container of water for the birds to drink and bathe in, add a few treats for them to enjoy like bird balls or stale bread. Especially in the spring and summer months, birds like to collect small materials to make their nests with, so placing out some old materials, feathers and dog hair is also a great idea.
There are a selection of birds you will commonly see in your garden, these are some of the most popular:
You may be a keen gardener already, but there is probably a lot more to learn about some of your favourite flowers and plants than you may think, so using this time to get to know your favourite buds is a great way to pass the time. We spoke to Nick from Two Thirsty Gardeners, he explains a little more about examining your flowers:
“The best thing about a garden is that it offers a window to a whole new world in which you’re allowed to get up close to nature. Look at things in more detail: examine a flower and see what an amazing structure it is; pick a few leaves and see how they all feel and smell different; turn over sticks and stones and see what wildlife lurks underneath. If you have the desire to grow things, then go ahead and do so, but even a small patch of weeds can provide ample escape from the monotony and stresses of life associated with lockdown”
Find out a little more about the Two Thirsty Gardeners and their new venture, tea brewing in their new book Wild Tea.
Garden and outdoor spaces are a great place to enjoy some meditation and relaxation. Meditating in the garden is a wonderful way to enjoy your days during isolation.
Very Well Mind reports about the benefits of meditation: “Meditation involves sitting in a relaxed position and clearing your mind or focusing your mind on one thought and clearing it of all others. You may focus on a sound, like "ooommm," or on your own breathing, counting, a mantra, or nothing at all. A common thread among the many meditation techniques is that the mind stops following every new thought that comes to the surface.”
Meditating is a wonderful new hobby that requires no demanding movements and is something that can be continued as lockdown is lifted.
No matter how you plan to spend your time during isolation, getting out into your garden can be realty beneficial for physical and mental health and can fill you with a sense of achievement and accomplishment and not to mention some delicious homegrown fruit and vegetables.
This news article is from Companion Stairlifts. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.