A continuously connected lifestyle can drain internal batteries quickly, but digging into the world outside may be the best way to rejuvenate, revitalize and recharge. The gadgets of gardening aren’t flashy: a shovel, pruners, hoses and bags of seeds. All are simple yet practical, and useful but not at all high-tech.
Gardener responses to a National Garden Bureau survey about why they garden hailed the health, economic, and social benefits of gardening. They also extolled the many joys found in working the land. With so many advantages to gardening, it’s not surprising the top 10 reasons are so diverse.
Garden to produce safe, healthy food
Consumers are increasingly aware of food-borne illnesses, food contamination, and the additives and preservatives found in processed food. This, coupled with interest in organic gardening, has increased the availability of organic produce.
Studies show that an hour of moderate gardening can burn up to 300 calories for women and almost 400 calories for men, Mowing the grass mimics a vigorous walk. Planting requires bending and stretching, just like an exercise class. There are also devices that can help people with physical limitations enjoy the advantages of working in their garden.
A thing of beauty
A well-tended garden enhances any setting of any size, and provides a pleasurable vista, and trees and shrubs provide color and shade, as well as shelter for birds and wildlife.
Garden to learn
Gardening helps individuals learn by doing while building knowledge, gardening expertise and problem-solving skills. Gardeners find that the more they learn, the more they want to know.
Garden to earn
The love of plants can lead to anything from a job at a local garden center to owning a landscape business. Gardeners also can sell their products at local farmers markets or craft show, and landscaping projects can increase property values by up to 15%.
Sharing knowledge, broadening horizons
Gardeners love to share their gardens and their knowledge, thus expanding their social circle. Even during a pandemic, meetups with other gardeners can take place in socially distanced environments or online, and provides a way to gather information, ask questions and get involved.
Tapping into creativity
For many, gardening is an outlet for inspiration and artistic expression. Attention to design can produce everything from the serene, contemplative mood of a Japanese garden to the romantic feel of an English cottage.
Gardening to win
If you’ve got a competitive streak, gardening may be a friendly way to show off your skills. County and state fairs provide opportunities for adults and children to show off their skills as they grow giant pumpkins, beautiful bountiful beans or the perfect zinnia.
Benefits to emotional health
Gardens play an important part in our wellbeing. A garden may serve as a tranquil retreat or private escape from the demands of your daily life. A healthy harvest provides a sense of achievement and feelings of success. Gardening builds confidence and self-esteem.
Grow lasting memories
Gardening is an intergenerational activity that’s appropriate for all ages. Memories of your garden and gardening with you may help motivate young horticulturists to become the master gardeners of tomorrow. Each year, as they harvest their own crops, they’ll recall the sweetness of your cherry tomatoes or the beauty of the hydrangeas that you cultivated together.
That’s one of greatest gifts that a garden can give.
Article by Martha A. Smith, Horticulture Educator, Illinois Extension