Category Archives: gardening and mental health

To get growing

At this moment in time, there is a lot of seed sowing. The current situation, has inspired, challenged, encouraged people to start gardening. This might be growing your own food, sorting out the dahlias, or just rejuvenating your green space.

Gardening, has certainly struck a cord with people.

As such, I’ve been thinking about this blog. About how I started just over a decade ago, with containers in Dad’s garden. I started gardening, growing food through a combination of sheer fluke and curiosity.  Everything was an experiment.

It was also to help mental health at the time. I’d just come to the end of my initial teacher training, and was unlikely to be employed by the end of Summer. There was sadness, anxiety and uncertainty that experimenting with seed sowing could be alleviating.

Ten and bit years later, the change in the universe is global.

I started with cherry tomatoes, chilli plants. I found runner beans and even a Butternut squash plant that I called Gladys. We have Kevin the aubergine too.

That was an interesting summer, in 2009. We had a heatwave, and this led to a bumper crop of cayenne chillies.

I remember going to Wilkos, to Poundland, to get my supplies.

At this moment in time, that is impossible. There are DIY stores, but I’m not for one moment, encouraging non-essential travel. There are also online outlets, who are doing their best to support customers. Again, I advise caution, as businesses do the best that they can.

For my part, I have an allotment, that I can access sparingly to tidy up. I’ve yet to sow anything.

That doesn’t mean that I can’t offer support; especially with all the content on the blog. I wrote it, for that very job! To help others, perhaps share my mistakes so others would avoid them.

(There are also two books on the side bar, but that is not an advert.)

Gardening has the potential to bring great joy, stability, focus and so many other things. I know that it means a great deal to me. All being well, you may find something on the blog that also helps.

To resume a love affair #gdnbloggers

polkapink

To my dearest allotment, my wonderful blog and my alter ego, Petal.

I miss you, I would like to fall in love with you again. Shall we give this another go?

As I come to the end of 2018, I look back at an eventful year. There have been adventures, a level four counselling course and one big massive Bollywood Wedding. The Punam Farmah universe has been going through huge changes.

Oh, and two books too.

So I haven’t been around as much as I could have been My brain has been full, my body stretched and my soul has been spread horribly thin. I think I have also displaced my smile and my purposeful James Bond walk. This has been painful and then some.

Quite simply, I have lost my bounce and my flow.

Two things, that I would like to get back. Two things that the plot, the blog and Petal have always given in abundace.

I should go down the plot. (I hate the word should). Given the storm currently bashing Blighty, I know it will all be a mess. There is no colour, only chaos and this pains me greatly. The once or twice that I have been there, it has felt as though I was feeling devestation. The whole thing looks ravaged and that hurts me.

How could I have let something so beautiful, so well made and cherished slip away?

Last Christmas, I planted chilli seeds. These failed, something didn’t feel right. Perhaps I knew on an intuitive level that this year wasn’t going to my year. That there wouldn’t be enough of me to use the plot.

The allotment, the blog, Petal all make me happy. I have bored so many people senseless with the tales from the alloment. Handed over jars of preserves, and then there is the Petal Plonk. I swear Gardening appears in all the books in one shape or form.

So I need to resume my love affair. Or at least flirt with the idea of having another crack at things. Admittedly, I have said this so many times this year and not acted. I guess the universe didn’t want me to.

Right now, the wind is blowing. There are big fat storm clouds. I am reminded, that big fat rain clouds will burst. Contained within their silver lining is rain, that washes things away. The droplets nourish arid earth and let greenary bloom. The rain might get caught in the sunhsine. Light splits, you get rainbows.

Every grey cloud has a silver lining.

The new year will soon be upon us. The start of another 12 months with a whole lot of potential, a whole lot of growth.

Plus, if I can get up Glastonbury Tor and then down again, I can probably do this.

So, to resume the love affair.

A time to flirt, with the seeds of an idea.

 

And if you wondered about the Big, Bollywood Wedding….

….it wasn’t mine.

 

 

 

Gardening and Mental health…another article

This particular article has been doing the rounds for the last few days on social Media. Whilst it is written by one of the more *interesting* of British Newspapers, it does raise some interesting points. Especially as the gardeners of Britain count down for the arrival of Spring and are able to once more get their green fingers dirty.

In the first instance, I will caveat things by saying don’t be fooled by the sample size mentioned at the end of the article. 112 participants does not make for a generalisable sample. I am also curious about the nature of being ‘stressed out’ as it is termed. There is no comment as to how that has been operationalised and doesn’t mention any form of mental health concerns that may exist in that sample. The research is prefaced by examples and anecdotal evidence involving different situations. I am however wary of the scientific process behind this article and how the article may be interpreted. The perils, I guess, of being a teacher of Psychology with horticultural tendencies. I am likely to consider the research methods used to question the scientific rigour that is being presented.

That said, I do believe that gardening has a positive effect on Mental health and well being. Both on personal level and also on wider level when groups in society feel the positive impact of being involved in green spaces. There was until recently a charity in Scotland-Gardening leave- who used horticultural therapy to support veteran of conflict and did it very successfully from what I have read. Sadly, funding became an issue, and the charity had to close down operations. Then there is Thrive who also use horticulture as therapeutic medium.

gleave
Spring summer 2015

 

It is a shame that gardening and horticultural therapy (also called therapeutic horticulture, yes, I know, the terms are used interchangeably) occurs, but doesn’t get the wider publicity that is deserves in order to get momentum and become wider spread. There have been initiatives, such as the one run by MIND , a few years ago and these were successful. So much so, that the results of influenced public policy. I feel really very strongly about it, having worked in a number of posts where school gardening clubs have helped support learners. Some of which, were vulnerable or have had mental health concerns. It also saddened me that Gardening Leave had to close it’s doors, and my immediate hope what that the veterans that they supported would have appropriate support systems put in place. With the value and implementation of gardening and horticultural therapy being so limited, I consciously wrote about the positive effects in #plantpottales. It is not necessary to have a huge great big allotment to see the benefits, containers in a garden or a kitchen window sill would just as positive and just as useful.

I will continue to talk about the positive effects of gardening on mental health. All being well, someone might actually hear me and listen.