Britain is a nation of both keen gardeners and green fingered novices – but how does time in the garden benefit us all, from the very young to the older generation?
With spring in full swing and National Gardening Week just behind us, there’s never been a better time to explore how working with plants can support our health, wellbeing and learning.
Research has found that spending time gardening not only makes us feel happier by releasing endorphins but can also improve physical wellbeing through activities such as digging, planting and weeding. A Dutch study discovered that gardening was much more successful in significantly reducing stress levels and improving moods compared to other calming activities such as reading.
There has also been evidence to suggest that gardening can prove beneficial to those suffering with Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Gardening helps stimulate the senses through sensation, smell and sight and can improve cognitive processes thanks to planning and the enjoyment of being able to focus on the here and now.
Gardening also benefits children, as it develops reasoning, planning and organisation skills, whilst teaching patience and even social skills. Allowing kids to grow their own produce will also encourage healthy eating and has a positive impact on physical and psychological wellbeing.
Open Study College offers a range of courses that can support people wanting to embark on careers in horticulture or floristry – or simply hoping to develop their skills as a pastime or hobby.
Samantha Rutter, CEO at Open Study College, said: “The RHS and the Horticultural Trades Association are doing a wonderful job inspiring both young and old to get out and learn more about plants and gardening through events such as National Gardening Week and National Children’s Gardening Week.
“We are very proud to support these goals of inspiring passion and excellence in the world of horticulture by offering three of the RHS certified courses alongside our wider catalogue of flexible floristry, gardening and horticultural courses.”
Open Study College has also noticed an interest by students taking up courses to improve their wellbeing outside of having a specific career growth goal.
Samantha added: “We want to encourage, both new and seasoned gardeners to do more with what nature has to offer; whether it’s learning something completely new for your trade or whether it’s inspiring the next generation of gardeners by growing their own food or taking up gardening to support better wellbeing.”