What are you doing with your yard? The popularity of the lawn as we know it arose in England as a marker of conspicuous consumption. It signaled that its owners didn’t need to put their land to use to survive. For many suburban homeowners, this principle has lived on in lawns that we dutifully mow but do little else with. We’re proud of our property, but we’re no feudal lords and ladies. If you haven’t devoted greenspace to a garden yet, what are you waiting for? Make this summer the one where you enjoy the benefits of gardening at home.
Staving off Dementia
Are crossword clues not your five-letter word for “strong, in Strasbourg?” That’s “forte.” Does Sudoku leave you wondering why you’re doing math for fun? Then put down the pen and paper and put on your gardening gloves. A 2016 study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease shows that the sunlight, physical activity, and problem-solving involved in gardening can effectively reduce the risk of developing some forms of dementia. By replacing sedentary hours with active ones, adults can take steps to avoid succumbing to this slow-encroaching but terrible disease.
Getting some fresh air and exercise for your mind and body isn’t the only physical benefit of gardening. Devoting yourself to raising plants requires calmness and patience. Emphasizing these qualities can help reduce your levels of cortisol—the body’s “stress hormone”—in the blood. With the damage that high, sustained levels of cortisol can do, that means healthier living.
Bringing Plants Indoors
Some plants you grow outside can live indoors and provide you with aesthetic benefits and a little inner peace. The hardy Boston fern can grow both indoors and outdoors, as it’s just as adaptable as you’d expect a New England plant to be. Once indoors, these ferns serve as lovely decorative accents and even do some air filtration. Incorporating plants into your rooms is a small step to help you bring a greener home within reach.
Growing food in your garden doesn’t just fill you with a sense of pride and connection with the earth. Getting excited about adding home-grown ingredients to your meals will mean better cooking and less processed food in your diet. Whether you’re growing herbs for seasoning your pasta sauce or growing the cucumbers and tomatoes for your salad, the benefits of gardening at home will manifest themselves on your dinner plate.
A Sense of Community
Social atomization has been one of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. An activity such as gardening can help you rebuild some of the broken social bonds you’ve experienced over the past year. Getting outside to work in the garden can allow you to reconnect with neighbors, and exploring the Web for gardening tips-and-tricks communities can put you in touch with people who share your interests.