Outdoor leisure activities have always been important to us Brits-come rain or shine! However, one activity which has seen a huge uptake is gardening. In the midst of the lockdown, this time last year, many of us took to our spades and shovels and got green fingered! According to The Horticultural Trades Association almost 3million new growers sprung up during the first lockdown, Between April and June 2020 and this number seems to be growing steadily. In March 2020, the Royal Horticultural Society reported that searches for advice on ‘how to grow seeds’ had doubled on their website as people dived straight into this new found pursuit.
A study conducted by the University of Exeter last year concluded that gardening in an open space has a positive impact on mental health, physical wellbeing and overall better health in people up and down the country. Particular favourites include, growing from seed, allotments and bedding plants. In fact, the positive impacts of gardening are being taken so seriously that the NHS is now prescribing outdoor activity as part of long term care plans for some patients.
In our latest igtv episode, we spoke to Stefanie Gross, who is a horticulturalist and owner of Arcadia Garden Design. Although she is now based in Italy, her passion started here in the UK where she describes caring for a much smaller urban garden before having the opportunity to start her business. She has had a profound impact on people around her with her landscape techniques and the chance to transform outdoor spaces. But gardening is more of a passion and simply being outdoors really helped her, and her clients, get through lockdown too.
One of the points we asked Stefanie about was gardening for those who don’t have gardens-not unusual here in London right? Giving us some great inspiration, she suggested window boxes and herbs to start with. These do not take up a huge amount of space, they are fairly easy for beginners and relatively inexpensive too. Certain herbs like coriander, for example, can be grown by popping the seeds into a pot, ‘sandwiching’ the in soil, watering and away you go!
There was a 34% uptake of gardening supplies in June 2020 (HTA Garden Retail Monitor) with many people turning to growing their own fruit & veg due to shortages in supplies in supermarkets. Our interest in gardening inadvertently led to more sustainable practices which all came off the back of a ‘new’ lifestyle that was adopted by many of us-much simpler, more frugal and definitely more meaningful. We learnt to appreciate the food cycle from start to finish and so wasted less.
As life slowly returns to normal and time becomes more and more of a scarce commodity again, we are pleased to say that many people who found their passion in gardening are still going strong! Many have realised the psychological and physical benefits of it not to mention the impact on sustainability and reducing food waste.
We hope you enjoyed the igtv and would love to hear your thoughts and comments!