Gardening Week celebrates the feel-good power of plants

The biggest annual celebration of gardening takes place this week from Monday 26 April to Sunday 2 May, with the Royal Horticultural Society encouraging the public to get out in their gardens or local green space to get a dose of vitamin G!

The focus of the week is to celebrate the feel-good power of plants and gardens, and how important gardening is for wellbeing.  During the pandemic, we’ve been spending more time in our gardens and green spaces than ever. The importance of connecting with nature for our mental and physical wellbeing has been publicised widely during this last year, and garden centres have found themselves extremely busy throughout the lockdowns.

Gardens are great for the environment and wildlife – and for people too. Research has shown that spending time outside is good for our minds and bodies. A 2013 Mental Health Journal report cited on said gardening is able to reduce stress and improve mood, and a reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety was seen. And it’s great exercise too – gardeners might be delighted to learn that the number of calories burnt from 30 minutes of gardening is comparable to playing badminton, volleyball or practising yoga! (stat from Harvard Medical School.)

You don’t have to have a large space to grow vegetables and flowers. Gardeners World wrote an interesting article about space-saving veg to grow when you have a small space, and containers and pots are great for growing  vegetables on a patio. If you want a larger space to grow flowers and veg, Nailsea has two allotment sites; Engine Lane and Whitesfield Road. The Engine Lane site has around 60 plots and Whitesfield Road has over 200, with costs at 23p per square meter.

Man digging allotment

Max has an allotment plot on Whitesfield Road. The plot he received a year ago was very overgrown. “It was very therapeutic working on it and getting to what it looks like now.” Max grows potatoes and onions, and he has a number of fruit trees.

“Gardening is so good for your mental health, and there is a freedom you get from doing it.”

Man digging allotment

Malcolm has had an plot since 2016. He and his wife grow a wide selection of vegetables including carrots, potatoes, spinach, broad beans, raspberries and rhubarb.

“Gardening is good for two reasons: you know what you are eating because you’ve grown it, and gardening is good exercise.”

Annette has had her allotment plot for three years. She enjoys coming to her plot whenever she can. “My daughter is coming tomorrow to help me put up the canes for the beans,” she said. Annette currently has onions and potatoes growing. Her grandchildren also like gardening and there is a section of the plot where they have planted their own seeds and flowers.

“Gardening is good for your mental health, it’s good to be out in the fresh air. And it’s good to know what you are eating.”

There is a waiting list for allotment plots (at 65 people currently) but you can complete our allotment form here to be put on the waiting list. All plots are required to have insurance, Nailsea Allotment Association charges only £4 per year, and you need to be a Nailsea resident.

To find out more about National Gardening Week and tips on how to grow flowers and vegetables, visit the Royal Horticultural Society website.