Digging into the benefits of gardening

By Audrey Sharp, Operations Manager, Plum Creek Garden Market

In recent years we have seen a noticeable uptick in people gravitating toward gardening. Whether it was the increased time we had on our hands due to the pandemic, or an intentional draw toward an activity that soothes us and produces tangible results, such as a beautiful garden and deliciously grown food. 

Generous rain showers along the Front Range provided the lush environment and prime timing for Colorado gardeners to really dig in. 

There are so many benefits that gardening bestows upon us; here are few that have been studied and promoted. 

A new study from the University of Colorado funded by the American Cancer Society found that people who start gardening (especially planting fruit and vegetables) have notable reductions in stress and anxiety; and they begin to eat more fiber while engaging in physical activity, two ways to reduce risk of cancer and chronic disease. 

The connection to nature while gardening is a natural stress reliever (people generally breathe deeper while outdoors), and the pride that comes with growing your own food can boost self-esteem. The act of gardening involves using the whole body; think of all those lunges and squats! That’s not to mention that calming rhythm that watering and weeding can provide to our everyday routine. 

There is also a beautiful social connection that can be fostered, especially for those who join communal gardening groups. Gardeners are always willing to share expertise, experience and advice to novice aficionados. 

The economic benefit of tending your own garden is also incredibly relevant as we see the rising cost of groceries enter double digits. It’s not just the personal satisfaction of cultivating your own food, but the practical result is tangible!

Some other bonuses to consider when embarking on a gardening adventure include the aesthetic beauty of a well-tended garden and as well as the natural medicinal effects of certain plants and flowers. Here are some varieties that have been known to provide calm, relaxation and help treat depression. 

  • Peppermint has been found to relax muscles, lower frustration and boost awareness. 
  • Lavender has a calming scent and is commonly prescribed to help in the treatment of anxiety and depression.
  • Jasmine is known for helping to ease the body from anxiety and is an excellent plant to have close by when you sleep. 
  • Gerbera can instantly calm the body (and brighten the room). They can also remove benzene from the air which is a chemical found in inks.
  • Areca palm is a very popular air-purifying plant, which can be kept both in the homes and offices.
  • English Ivy is a proven indoor plant for stress relief and anxiety. It reduces headaches and promotes a good night’s sleep. 
  • Chrysanthemum is used to treat chest paint, high blood pressure, diabetes among other ailments. It’s known to increase blood flow to the heart.  

As you consider what to do during longer summer days, gardening might be the go-to activity for you. Its benefits prove far and wide, over centuries. I encourage you to head over to your local garden market (Plum Creek Garden Market is right in your back yard!) to seek some expert advice and choose from an exceptional array of plants, flowers and vegetables.