nature is gardening

Garden: Where we meet nature halfway

Since our worldly responsibilities and aspirations keep us from nature, a conscious effort to bring nature closer home could do the trick.

There are two kinds of forests on the planet. Natural forests and man-made jungles of concrete. This concrete ‘wilderness’ of tall buildings, busy roads, and never-ending highways comprise our world today, where we wake up every day to achieve our dreams and live lives of comfort and convenience. We accomplish this and more, however, at the cost of our wellbeing. If we’d look at the increasing number of people with stress, depression, and other psychosomatic ailments, we’d realise how much we need nature to heal our invisible wounds. A proverbial therapist, nature is a place that revives tired minds with its healing touch—through clean air, a quiet environment, the flora and the fauna.

No wonder, we don’t mind giving up the comfortable life of the city just to spend time in the countryside or in the woods, without the conveniences of our homes. The need to unwind and restore inner peace has become a primary need because the world we live in is dramatically different from the one our forefathers lived in.

Interacting with nature—walking barefoot on damp grass, soaking in the morning sun, breathing in the cool fresh air and listening to the sounds of chirping birds—is inarguably the greatest source of calm and peace. Since our worldly responsibilities and aspirations keep us from nature, a conscious effort to bring nature closer home could do the trick.

In the concrete jungles we live in, the closest substitute to nature is gardening. Whether one lives in a penthouse or a villa, one can build a garden of one’s choice. Be it Pineapple Lily orchids on a patio or a vegetable garden in the backyard, a garden can help people reconnect with nature and reap its therapeutic benefits. All it takes is a dedication to set up the garden and look after it. Nature does the rest in its mysterious ways.

To understand the benefits of gardening, let’s take a flight into space, where people have to work under difficult conditions. Up there, away from nature and its earthbound creations, there is no room for error in judgment. Yet, a lack of natural stimuli can depress or tire out humans leading to complications. Research conducted by NASA’s Behavioral Health and Performance team showed the importance of having some green in the extreme conditions of space. It also said humans can’t survive without nature, even in the safest of spacesuits or space stations. So astronauts were given seeds and plants to keep them happy, calm, and productive. Result? Today, every astronaut is a space gardener. Mike Foale, an astronaut from the ISS Expedition 8 said he used to look at his plants after waking up at the station every day “for about 10 to 15 minutes. It was a moment of quiet time.” Peggy Whitson, a biochemist who went to space too, described the feeling of having a plant in space as “dramatic”, in one of her letters from the space station.

Sow a seed and nurture it daily. By the time it blossoms into a plant, you too would have grown into a different version of yourself through years of exercise, meditation, and a healthy diet.

If gardening can help astronauts stay calm in space, imagine what it can do for people back on earth. As David Hobson, the famous Australian opera singer says, “I grow plants for many reasons: to please my eye or to please my soul, to challenge the elements or to challenge my patience, for novelty or for nostalgia, but mostly for the joy in seeing them grow.”

Gardening means different things to different people. Dace Jeyo, a kindergarten teacher with a passion for gardening says, “Gardening means getting your hands dirty. You should feel comfortable around manure or compost; otherwise gardening is not for you.” Dace is right. A garden needs love and care, like every other living thing on the planet. Nurtured well, a garden can evolve into a “thing of beauty, a joy forever” and a haven of peace.

Even though gardening is considered a hobby, it is more of an investment for our wellbeing. The returns are far more than the investment people make in terms of time and dedication. Gardening not only makes us healthy but also transforms us into responsible and mindful persons. A study by Dutch researchers shows the moment one steps into a garden, the cortisol level in the brain reduces. As a stress hormone, cortisol reduction means a good mood, better immune system, strong heart, and enhanced memory.

Sow a seed and nurture it daily. By the time it blossoms into a plant, you, too, would have grown into a different version of yourself through years of exercise, meditation, and a healthy diet. You will develop a strong mind and body. Researchers from around the world unanimously agree on how gardening can also decrease the risks of Alzheimer’s, stroke, psychosomatic disorders, and increase dexterity and strength, confidence, and cognition abilities. The long list of health benefits comes from a simple fact—gardening involves muscle movements and exposure to Vitamin-D that regularise blood circulation and blood pressure and manage the secretion of hormones. Result: you will heal faster, have a healthy heart, strong bones, and be less prone to diseases such as diabetes.

Nature is an elixir that can give people a new lease of life. This is why doctors prescribe gardening as an activity to older people and individuals suffering from mental illnesses. For children, learning gardening early on in life can make them responsible and compassionate. Watching bumblebees searching for nectar or worms basking in the moist soil is soothing, but also teaches the importance of life and nature. Gardening, therefore, is the easiest route to get up-close and personal with nature and recreate our bond with it. It also renews our hope that one day, our grey forest will turn green once again.


Why is there a need to bring nature closer to home?

Nature acts as a therapist, and helps us restore inner peace and well-being.

How does gardening serve as a substitute for nature in urban environments?

In the concrete jungles we live in, gardening serves as the closest substitute for nature. Gardening allows individuals to reconnect with nature and experience its therapeutic benefits.

Why is gardening important for the environment and our future?

Gardening serves as a reminder of the importance of life and nature and encourages sustainable practices that benefit both present and future generations.


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