St Nicks

Centre for nature and green living

Green spaces, gardening & wellbeing – Sense of responsibility

Mental Health Gardening

This blog is part of a series based on the infographic by Decorative Aggregates. Read the previous posts here. In this month’s blog we are going to be taking a look at how caring for a plant or garden, and having a sense of responsibility to care for it, can help us to feel better as well. Taking the time to water and nourish plants – either inside on our windowsill or the ones in our garden can help to provide us with a purpose and a sense of worth.

Looking after house plants can be a very rewarding experience, it’s easy to notice changes on a day to day basis and it is a good practice in observation and focusing your attention. If you look at it every day you will notice if the soil becomes dry or the leaves start wilting so you know to water it. You can also observe that if it’s on a windowsill it will be growing and aiming towards the light so you may need to rotate it every few weeks.

If you start the process right from the start and you grow your own plants from seeds it is really fascinating watching the development of a tiny little shoot appearing and growing into a fully grown plant. Some of the easiest plants to grow from seed indoors are things like herbs, nastursiums, geraniums or even succulents like Jade plants. There are lots of easy houseplants to look after and they are also relatively cheap to buy or ask a friend or neighbour if they can give you a cutting from one of their plants so you can grow it at home.

If we look at the idea of responsibility in our garden we can see an even bigger picture. By looking after our garden we can also make it an ideal place for wildlife which we can help to protect by doing simple things. This could be as simple as not mowing the grass so frequently or leaving a pile of sticks in a corner to become a habitat for things like frogs, newts, hedgehogs or mice. We could sow wildflowers, create a small pond or put food out for birds. Our whole garden doesn’t have to set aside for wildlife, even just one patch can be surprisingly beneficial and then we can know we are doing our bit to care for the wildlife that

Ginger grown from a cutting

seek refuge in our gardens.

We can also take responsibility for our local area and favourite green spaces. You could do some guerrilla gardening and spread some

Pilea peperomioides repotted from just one parent plant!

wildflowers in a bare patch of ground.  If you go to an area regularly you can notice the plants and animals that live there and you could pick up any litter you see to help keep your local area good for wildlife and also looking great!

Having a sense of responsibility for nature, whether that’s on our windowsill, back garden or local community can be really rewarding and beneficial, not only to us but to the wildlife that we are helping and encouraging in the process.

This piece was written by Freya Lovett who supports our Bearing Fruit group. If you are interested in joining our Ecotherapy programme you’d be very welcome.

23 October 2020 | Categories: Ecotherapy, Inspiration | Tags: ecotherapy, greenspaces, grow your own, homegrown, litterpick, mental health, plants, responsibility, seeds, self care