Hartley Magazine

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Gardening ‘can serve many purposes’

Gardening has proven to be a consistently popular pastime for people in the US and it is easy to see why.

There are many reasons to engage with the activity and it can serve many purposes beyond the simple aesthetic of having a beautiful space outside the home.

First and foremost is the ability of the garden to completely relax the individual – as being in the great outdoors is often associated with stress reduction.

Manager of Green Design in San Jose Sharon Pham told Mercury News that someone’s mood can often be deeper than stress, but getting to work out of the house can still help.

“Sometimes people who have been diagnosed with cancer, or who have experienced a loss, find that the garden helps them heal inside,” she explained.

Indeed, president of the UK Royal College of Physicians Sir Richard Thompson told the Independent he believes gardening should be prescribed by doctors as a combative and preventative treatment for depression.


This could be particularly relevant to people who are concerned they are struggling with the rising cost of living, as he noted that drugs can be prohibitively expensive, whereas gardening is cheap and accessible to almost anyone.

He went further, suggesting that one of the reasons it is such a mood lifter is that it is a good form of physical exercise, which could also save people some money on gym membership – particularly in the warmer months, with summer just around the corner.

Ms Pham’s family owns a showroom, nursery and landscape design business. Her brother Thai Pham is a landscape architect, creating many Asian-inspired themes for the firm.

It was suggested that this is meant to create a serene haven that people can really kick back and relax in, which is relatively simple with the addition of a fountain or other water feature.

Edible gardening can also be a tremendously rewarding experience and is being taken up by an increasing number of individuals.

For instance, Mimi Edelman, who co-chairs Slow Food Metro North, told Bedford Patch that she dreamt of having a space geared toward such a project in the Mount Kisco Child Care Centre for some time and they were recently able to make it a reality. A new greenhouse was added to the area at the end of last year in order to help the company enhance its work.

Concern had been raised about the decline of grow-your-own as sales of seeds dipped a few years ago. However, they rocketed back into popularity during the recession, as people became keener on the idea of sourcing their own food.

Nate Crosby, owner of Crosby Landscaping in San Jose, told the local newspaper that edible landscaping is also becoming popular. This practice involves growing fruit and vegetables in harmony with the natural look of ornamental plants and other considerations.

“You can use chard as a linear accent, or let broccoli go to flower,” he remarked, adding: “Fruit trees can be used as accents or foundations.”

Of course, simple old-fashioned gardening is still a viable option and remains an old favourite. This is tied to the appeal of vegetable growing, as people favour creating organic food. Many individuals are concerned with this consideration, as this guarantees there will be no pesticide-related health hazards.

Renee Shepherd, owner of Renee’s Garden Seeds in Felton, said that this will also offer a wider choice of produce than is necessarily available in the nearby supermarket.

“Years ago, there were probably only about 15 varieties of lettuce seed being sold, and now there’s about 200,” he commented, adding that this is a relatively new market.