Our Blog: Plants and other Stories
One of the World’s Happiest Hobbies? Why, gardening of course
The Botanical Society’s Kirstenbosch branch encourages you to start ‘Gardening for Happiness’, as they prepare to launch the Kirstenbosch Plant Fair. Here’s what they mean.
MAY 19, 2021 | WRITTEN BY ZOË CHAPMAN POULSEN. PHOTOS BY BOTSOC KIRSTENBOSCH,
ZOË CHAPMAN POULSEN AND LOVEGREEN COMMUNICATIONS.
Above: Just look how these Gazanias can bring colour to a garden, and happiness to a gardener. Photo: LoveGreen Communications.
On 22 May 2021 the Botanical Society’s Kirstenbosch Branch is launching their very first online plant fair. This wonderful event will be the perfect opportunity to purchase plants from a selection of more than 10 000 indigenous plants for your garden, backyard or windowsill.
The 2021 online plant fair will take place over two weeks, during which you can browse, select your plants and pay online, before selecting a time slot at your convenience to collect your plant purchases from the BotSoc Kirstenbosch offices at the Stone Cottages (or have your plants delivered for a fee).
Above: We’re taking our Kirstenbosch Plant Fair online this year, given the constraints around the Covid pandemic. Photo: BotSoc Kirstenbosch branch.
Gardening for Happiness
2021’s theme is ‘Gardening for Happiness’. This couldn’t be more appropriate when during pandemic lockdowns around the world, people have turned to gardening to enjoy growing plants both indoors and out while embracing its stress-relieving benefits.
A Princetown study published in 2020 in the journal of Landscape and Urban Planning revealed that those who participate in household gardening recorded high levels of emotional well-being when gardening was measured along with other daily activities.
Above: You can buy indigenous species such as Agapanthus during the two week plant fair. Photo: LoveGreen Communications.
But why has gardening become recognised as one of the world’s happiest hobbies? How does it help us relieve our stress? Here’s how.
- Gardening has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, both of which are at significantly higher levels for most people during the pandemic.
- Gardening has a very grounding effect on people, encouraging you to focus on the activity you are enjoying doing ‘in the here and now’. The act of gardening has been shown to reduce levels of cortisol, which is known as the stress hormone, as well as contributing to improving quality of sleep.
- The benefits of spending time outdoors in nature is well known. Participating in outdoor activities triggers the exposure of skin to sunlight, which leads to the production of Vitamin D.
A wide selection of pretty succulents will be available at the online plant fair, which will liven up any garden. Photo: LoveGreen Communications.
- Vitamin D allows the body to absorb calcium and is important in bone, muscle and heart health. Of course, exposure of skin to the sun should be in moderation, with care taken to avoid sunburn or sunstroke.
- Furthermore, exposure to natural sunlight increases the body’s production of a hormone known as serotonin. Serotonin is a natural booster of mood, that also contributes towards feelings of calm and focus.
- Working in your garden, whether it be at home or in your local community garden, is an excellent form of low-impact exercise. A gardening session of just 30-45 minutes can contribute to burning more than 300 calories.
- Most importantly, as you watch your garden grow, there is no better feeling of satisfaction in enjoying the beauty of your horticultural creation.
- If you grow indigenous plants, there is also the deep enjoyment of watching wildlife start to visit your garden and further benefit from the plants you are growing, forming part of nature’s food chain.
Gardening is an activity that brings joy, improves your health and your happiness. And there is no better time to start than now.
Above: Plant experts and veteran volunteers such as Tony Rebelo (left) and Adam Harrower (right) assisted at our past plant fairs. Photo: Zoë Chapman Poulsen.
Not sure where to start?
Whether you are growing your first houseplant on your windowsill or cultivating a new community or backyard garden, we look forward to supporting you on your indigenous gardening journey.
Above: Just because our Kirstenbosch Plant Fair is online, it doesn’t mean that we don’t have a wide variety of species and plants available this year. Photo: BotSoc Kirstenbosch branch.
Know, grow, protect and enjoy South Africa’s indigenous plants.
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