It is well documented that gardening can help you improve your health in many different ways, but this has been brought home to me more than ever this week.
One of my customers has, earlier this year, been diagnosed with alzheimers. This terrible condition causes the sufferer to loose their memory she often becomes confused and is very withdrawn. When I visit the carers warn me not to expect much as she is having a bad day.
Very often though I find that after a brief pause she remembers me and knows exactly what we have planned for the garden. She loves to come out and talk to me about all the plants and how she came to have them and how her father grew veg and her mother loved clean soil, as she puts it, and how her husbands favorite place to be was their allotment.
I think its incredibly important to remember how a persons garden can keep them grounded in life, scuse the pun.
We are increasingly finding retirment homes and care homes who include their residents in the garden to improve their quality of life and make them feel more at home even entering the ‘In Bloom’ competitions.
But it is not only the elderly who are benefitting from our gardens and green spaces people of all ages are joining the green revolution.
Over the last couple of years we have seen an increasing number of schools using veg gardeing and wild or environmetal gardening as an important teaching resource. We are even seeing forest schools and outdoor classrooms. Inially developed in Sweden more recently study’s have shown that
‘A 13 month long study carried out in Sweden on children from similar backgrounds found that children attending forest school kindergartens in the countryside environment are far happier than children in kindergartens located in the urban environment. The study concluded that children in the forest school are more balanced with greater socially capability, they have fewer days off sick; are more able to concentrate and have better co-ordination than the city kindergarten children’ http://www.forestschools.com/history-of-forest-schools.php
The general public are coming to expect a lot more of their parks and gardens and as a garden professional the responsibility of designing and maintaining these special places is a proffession I am proud to belong to.
After all my health is also benefitting from them through, at times, vigorous excercise fresh air creative freedom and the medative affect of doing the job I love.
Even now in these cold slow winter days I think myself very lucky.