Musings on the Benefits of Gardening

                                            Photo taken by crawfor3

TheGardenLady has read numerous articles about the many health benefits from gardening.  Gardening is said to provide the regular physical exercise necessary in the prevention of heart disease, obesity, adult-onset diabetes and high blood pressure as well as the strength training important in the prevention of osteoporosis. 

Gardening doesn’t allow for boredom; there is something one can be doing all year round, in the garden or planning for the next year’s garden. It is a social activity. Gardeners enjoy each other’s company. They enjoy discussing plants and sharing garden tidbits or even visiting one another’s gardens.

Gardening and having plants reduces stress – the dreary days of winter are relieved by the plants you grow in your house while these plants give a fresher more oxygenated breathing environment. 

It is an intellectual pursuit when one learns about horticulture – how to propagate, how to prune, etc.

Making a garden design is an extremely creative endeavor. TheGardenLady thinks of a gardener as a painter, using the colors of the  plants or flowers to paint your garden picture. And of course, as a gardener you can raise your own organic produce or herbs to eat or flowers to arrange for your house.

Gardening seems like the ideal occupation or hobby for people of any age starting from the youngest children who love to work in the soil. It is the perfect lifelong pursuit.

While thinking of the benefits of gardening, TheGardenLady was musing on whether this beneficial and fun pursuit enabled people who gardened or raised plants to live longer. TheGardenLady’s parents, who were farmers, lived till they were 87.

Today, in the NYTimes there was an article about a famous California gardener, Ruth Bancroft who turned 100 years young this week and whose garden ” is recognized as one of the premier dry gardens in North America and a model for water conservation nationwide.” Her succulent garden was praised as a demonstration of what could be grown with little water.  A San Francisco landscape architect said that “Ruth has the sensibilities of an artist like Monet.”  “She uses plant material as her palette of colors and has extraordinary attention to detail.”

TheGardenLady tried to find out if her thesis of gardening and longevity was correct. Checking out the lifespans of some famous gardeners or landscapers she found that of the British famous gardeners she checked, Christopher Lloyd, who created and worked on the gardens at the Great Dixter, died at 85; Gertrude Jekyll lived till she was 89; Rosemary Verey was 80.

Of the great American gardeners and landscapers, Thomas Jefferson lived to be 83; Lester Rowntree who created delightful gardens using native Californian plants many of which are in the garden nurseries today, lived to be 100; and Fletcher Steele, a more modern landscape architect who designed Naumkeag in Stockbridge, Mass., lived to be 86.

TheGardenLady is not sure if her musings on longevity and gardening are correct or not. But it seems to be better to work with plants than to spend time in doctors’ waiting rooms or take lots of medicine for the relief of ailments. It isn’t a secret that gardening or raising plants is an ideal vocation or avocation. I hope TheGardenLady’s readers agree. Any comments?

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