July 2014: Get Connected

Gardening is good for you, body and soul. Gardening is one of those priceless activities that seems to take you away from everyday concerns, you forget that nagging ‘to do list’ of irritating domestic or work related jobs. Gardening can be time spent on your own or time spent talking with someone. You can do the gardening while thinking about something else; it really can take you out of yourself. You don’t even have to do the gardening to benefit from its soothing powers; just take a stroll around one of the fabulous big house Gloucestershire gardens that are open to the public all year around. The sense of peace and beauty will surely feed your soul and perhaps your imagination too. Being on my allotment has the same calming effect for me too; I think it’s the peace and sense of connection to time scales and elements that are far bigger than my everyday trivial concerns. As well as gardening being good for the soul it also provides a healthy dollop of healthy exercise, for example, turning the compost burns up 300 calories in half an hour. Time spent gardening is known to improve mental health when we simply need somewhere to temporarily be reclusive and safe. An NHS study concludes that millions of pounds could be saved if more people either gardened or spent more time in parks, woods or well designed public spaces. And if you’re looking for a creative and engaging way of expanding the mind of a curious child, look no further than some of the fabulous children’s gardening books. A bonus and by product of all this goodness is good, fresh produce whether it’s grub or flowers.

So, what about those who don’t have a garden, how are you supposed to get connected to all this goodness? Here’s some tried and tested answers:- A window box and container gardening, engaging with existing communal space gardens or setting one up along with friends and neighbours, visit amazing gardens, put your name on an allotment waiting list, garden sharing, (there are lots of people with gardens who either can’t or don’t want to look after them, contact the Cotswold Volunteers at Bingham House in Cirencester Market Place), gardening books and magazines can provide a sense of escape for an hour or two, contact Cirencester Horticultural Society for an instant gardening network of help and support, join the Phoenix Gardeners, those amazing people who work tirelessly to bring joy and colour to Cirencester with its town centre blooming tubs, containers and baskets of flowers. And finally, go along to the next meeting of your local community group, (details on the Town Council web site) where you can discover all sorts of horticulturaly related projects that are just waiting for you to get connected to.