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Time in the garden - how good is it for you?

  • Time in the garden - how good is it for you?
  • Time in the garden - how good is it for you?
  • Time in the garden - how good is it for you?
  • Time in the garden - how good is it for you?
  • Time in the garden - how good is it for you?
  • Time in the garden - how good is it for you?

For Somerset Garden Day on 14th May, a special survey of 700 Somerset gardeners has been done to understand how gardens and gardening make them feel. The results are so positive, I thought them worth sharing:

88% of residents have noticed one or more health and well-being benefits from gardening
76% say spending time in their garden helps them to feel happier and more content
61% say spending time in their garden has helped them feel less anxious and stressed
59% identify their gardens as a place where they can switch off and relax
55% of residents believe spending time in their garden has improved their mental health
55% say spending time in their gardens helps them build better relationships with friends and family
42% report feeling happier and more optimistic after spending time in gardens
41% say spending time in their garden helps them to switch off from technology
35% say spending time in their garden helps them to perform better at work

Not surprisingly, given the above, gardens are the place most people feel happiest (34%) - much more so than watching TV (16%), visiting restaurants (13%) or even going to the pub (5%).

"Gardeners and florists are the happiest of all the professions ... nearly twice as happy as people in more prestigious and better paid jobs" Learn more

However, and this will be no surprise to many of you, we spend much more time (20%) gardening than we do relaxing in the garden. Some gardeners even reported spending the equivalent of a month each year planting, weeding and watering. It follows then that almost two thirds (70%) wish they could give more time to relaxing in their gardens.

This all points to the value of Somerset Garden Day - one day when we collectively down tools and enjoy our gardens with friends, neighbours and family.

Whether you're in Somerset or anywhere else in the UK, it's a brilliant idea. If you're anything like me, at this time of year I have a list as long as my arm of jobs to do in the garden. But one day off to relax and enjoy it, when the garden is near or at it's best - you bet!

Learn more about the Garden Day and the health benefits of gardening:

Comments (8)

  1. Grower

    Karen Reina

    What an interesting post, I can completely see how relaxing in the garden can help to de stress us and unwind, even now as I am typing this I am looking out of the window and listening to the birds chattering away it makes you feel good about the world and excited for warm summer days!

    With a young family, the sound of them outside, playing cricket or hide and seek is one of the greatest joys, freckles appearing on their faces pasty faces where they have been indoors through the winter, and them refusing to come in for tea because they love being outside in the garden so much.
    For me my garden is a double edged sword, yes it causes me a great deal of joy, but it is quite big and my husband and I are not the best gardeners in the world...waiting for my husband to do jobs in the garden often causes me a great deal of stress!! However, once completed and my grass is neatly cut and the hedges are beautifully trimmed we both feel a great deal of satisfaction
    in what we have achieved!
    What a great idea Somerset Garden Day is, the thought of everyone downing tools and entertaining, watching their children play or just sitting in their gardens enjoying all that they have to give us, especially in the beautiful county that we live in, must be one of the most relaxing things in the world!

  2. Grower

    Jeremy Wright

    Thanks Karen - clearly gardens make us all feel happier, and happiness is something that's very hard to buy. Interestingly, bottom of the list for happiness in the survey of professions (see above) were bankers!

    The worry is that less and less people, particularly in towns and cities and the younger generation who can't afford houses, have access to gardens ... or know the pleasures they can bring.

    At GreenPlantSwap we want to help change that where we can see how. One way is through our work with Thrive, another is through initiatives like Somerset Garden Day, which is helping raise awareness of just how good gardens are for us.

  3. Grower

    Rachel the Gardener

    As most of you will have realised, I'm a Professional Gardener, so I get paid to do the 'orrible jobs: and I've noticed a real trend in recent years, of people who know absolutely nothing about gardening approaching me to ask for tuition - not just for me to "do" the garden, but to teach them how to do it.

    I find this massively encouraging, to the point where I changed my website to specifially offer teaching/coaching/tuition/consultancy, whatever you like to call it: basically, "ordinary" people can hire me for an afternoon to go round their garden with them, identifying plants which they don't know, and explaining (and demonstrating) how to maintain them.

    I had one lovely older couple who booked me for a design session: then booked me again every couple of months, until we had been right through a complete year in the garden together, covering all the seasonal jobs. It was lovely for me to see how their knowledge expanded, as they became keener and keener on working in a garden which is now definitely "their" garden, rather than just the bit of land out the back of their house. Best of all, they changed from being a somewhat argumentative couple who couldn't agree on what they wanted, into a well-knit team where each party knew what they were best at, and they had learned to compromise on design points, planting choices etc. They now spend a LOT of time in their garden!

  4. Grower


    Hi Rachel, that's so interesting about this new demand from novices to learn more about gardening. I definitely fit into that category! I come from a family of gardeners and green fingered women so I've been able to get such valuable advice from them, but if I hadn't your service would have been great.
    On a related note, as a novice, I still haven't built up enough confidence to go to my local gardening club...I wish they were listed in this site. Are gardening clubs usually welcoming to people who are completely clueless about gardening?!

    Thank you, Jeremy, for sharing this link. I shall definitely be observing this day next week!

  5. Grower

    Rachel the Gardener

    Hi Morwenna, (waves enthusiastically) I know what you mean about gardening clubs, and being shy to approach them! I'm pretty sure that they all welcome new members with open arms, though, regardless of your "skill level".

    An easy way to get into one is to check the local papers for the next time they have a guest speaker. Go along - they usually say something like "free for members, £3 for non-members", so go as a non-member, as it's a great chance to chat to the people before you commit yourself to joining. And you might enjoy the guest speaker, as well!

  6. Grower


    Good plan, I'll take the plunge soon! ☺

  7. Grower

    Jeremy Wright

    Hi Rachel, your ideas about coaching remind me of Geri's wonderful post about Gardening, depression and well being where she says as a professional gardener she sometimes feels the best thing she can do is inspire the garden owner to do more of their own gardening and gradually dispense with her services!

    I certainly think there is a case for Garden Coaching in the owner's garden and I wonder if it is something we could facilitate through GreenPlantSwap across the country. I would be open to ideas of how that might work.

  8. Grower

    Rachel the Gardener

    Well, Jeremy, I'd certainly be happy to offer garden coaching to any GreenPlantSwap members in my area! Perhaps we members could state on our Grower Pages any particular skills we would be interested to teach to others: specialist pruning, perhaps, or propagating?

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