I’ve been thinking about writing a blog on this for a while. The benefits of gardening on both physical and mental health are immense. Both myself and Matt grew up in gardening families. We were both lucky enough to have parents and grandparents who enjoyed gardening and both have fond memories of smelling the tang of tomato vine in a warm greenhouse, plucking snapdragon flowers off and making the petals open up like finger puppets. We both also used to watch Gardener’s World as kids, which was at that time presented by Geoff Hamilton. So, gardening has been in our lives from the beginning. This is something we’re keen to keep going and perpetuating as we know first hand the benefits of this approach.
We already have some experience of taking our nieces out to parks and gardens and have bought them flowers and vegetables to grow over the years. We recently bought a gardening set for our little one, though the pots that are included are too small for the vegetable seeds that came with it, so we’re going to grow cress in these at first which will be just fine. We also have wellies, gloves and a puddle suit ready for those muddier days, this one is Snoopy and you can't beat that!
At first while they're younger, we’ll just be out and about in the garden, showing them the different plants and observing us gardening, finding different bugs and birds with them and generally just getting them used to being outside in the garden environment.
The sensory element of the herb garden will be important too for them and we will point out different plants that they should in time recognise and learn about in the future. This will move on to sowing seeds outdoors, helping to plant bulbs and watering.
Then, when they’re much older, we’ll teach them about propagation techniques. Of course, as we garden organically there will be times when the slugs and snails eat a lot of what we’ve grown (which happened last year) to avoid upset, we’ll tell our little one that the slugs and snails need food too and we’ll focus on enjoying what has done well in the garden that year as there are mollusc proof plants, some of which we do have, luckily!
Creating a mindful, peaceful environment is a priority for us as ultimately we want the garden to be a place of healing and relaxation for the whole family.