With Spring just around the corner and many of us required to stay home due to lockdowns, it is the perfect time to look out our windows. Literally. To our gardens.
Whether you have a small patio to work with or a large backyard garden, gardening has many health and therapeutic benefits. But most importantly, it’s an activity that you can enjoy with family and loved ones. We have many wonderful stories of Five Good Friends Members and Helpers spending many hours gardening, being active and of course, have a good chat.
Health benefits of gardening
Our Members find it especially rewarding to spend time in the garden tending plants and growing their own food.
There are so many health benefits to gardening that is hard to list them all. But here is just a few.
- Helps fight disease.
- Builds strength.
- Improves memory.
- Boosts mood.
- Reduces stress.
- Helps addiction recovery.
- Fosters human connections.
- Heals and empowers.
Where to start?
With some planning and thought, you can create an interesting, productive and pleasant garden that can bring so much joy.
A garden does not have to be large. Your garden can start small with a few pots and containers or even just a window box with a few suitable cuttings or herbs.
The most important elements to think about are soil, water, nutrients and of course, what to grow. There are so many choices and you need to think about where in Australia you live, and what the climate is like.
With many people in Covid lockdown, heading out to your local gardening centre is also not as easy as it normally is. However, there are lots of garden centres and online nurseries that deliver. And of course, Five Good Friends Helpers are available to support our Members.
The important thing is just to start. Gardening is a forgiving activity and when your plants start growing and producing, they will bring so much joy.
A favourite - grow things you can eat
The great thing about an edible garden is that fresh food tastes amazing and if you ever have too big a crop you can share with friends and loved ones. It also brings lots of butterflies and birds who want to share in the fun.
An edible garden is a garden that contains flowers, herbs, seeds, berries and plants that you can eat. Flowers and herbs can be used in salads, add flavour to cooked dishes, be made into teas or used as a garnish. Plants, vegetables and fruits can be eaten raw or cooked.
Great ideas of flowers, herbs and plants for an edible garden include:
- Flowers – borage, carnation, chamomile, chrysanthemum, fuchsia, geranium, hibiscus, hollyhock, honeysuckle, impatiens, lavender, lemon blossom, lilac, marigold, nasturtium, pansy, rose, salvia and violet.
- Herbs – rosemary, basil, chives, sage, mint, oregano, parsley and thyme.
- Seeds and berries – blueberries, mulberries, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
- Vegetables – lettuce, tomatoes, silverbeet, corn, capsicum and beans.
- Fruits – rhubarb (stems are edible, but the leaves are poisonous), kiwi fruit, strawberries and passion fruit.
- Plants and trees – all sorts of fruit trees including lemons, apricots and apples. Even the leaves from bay trees are great for use in stews and casseroles.