Photographer of Families, Small People and Delightful Places. Travel and Lifestyle Writer and Blogger. Lives in Newcastle, Loves the North, Often Accompanied By A Beagle Named Holly Bobbins

Monday, May 13, 2019

Your garden is good for your mental health!


Holly Bobbins, outdoor living, why your garden is good for your mental health

It's mental health week and so this coincides nicely with my mission to get everyone enjoying their garden a little more.  You see, I've always loved my garden, in fact, I grew up in a house that gardened and I always loved sitting in the garden on those perfect English summer days, you know the ones with the blue skies, the white fluffy clouds which pre-empt the bigger storm clouds and a downpour the moment you go to fire up the BBQ?

As well as my love of all things green-fingered, I have, of course, also struggled with my mental health throughout my life, bipolar disorder, chronic anxiety and at times, agoraphobia.  I noticed over the years though that if I could get outdoors my moods were always much better and it's not hard to appreciate why that would be, you cannot beat time spent walking in the countryside or sitting in a sunny cove on the beach listening to the waves lap on the nearby rocks.

The thing is though, there's a revolution afoot, I've come to understand I might have a passion as great as anything I've done before, it's life-changing, maybe not in the life or death sense but I'm on a mission worthy of your favourite superhero to transform people's lives with the power of outdoor living.

So, let's just talk about gardening for a moment, Alan Titchmarsh, Monty Don, Gardeners World, mature sedate ladies cutting roses and deadheading poppies in their white painted cottages in the countryside.  Well, I'm here to tell you that isn't what this mission is about.

Love gardening, hate gardening, I don't care, I just want you to look at your garden as an extension of your living space, somewhere you can entertain, somewhere you can get away from it all, a place you could have a holiday in your own home.  The thought of gardening can seem overwhelming, particularly if you're not akin to the RHS plant manual and all of its botanical names.  You don't have to be Charlie Dimmock to make your own little haven.
Small garden ideas for evening living, the garden at night, mandy charlton, photographer, writer, blogger



My garden is 4.5 metres long by 3.4 metres wide, it's a teeny tiny postage stamp of an urban garden on a housing estate which fringes the edge of the city and where high rises are the only view I have.  I live a few hundred metres from the main east coast train line, it is not a large idyllic house or garden.  When I began the transformation it contained 2 wheelie bins and a compost bin.  The wheelie bins are now at the front of our uninspiring house, where we have zero gardens, not even a patch and where if you placed some pots to upscale the entrance they would either get stolen, vandalised or set on fire.  (or all 3).

What I'm trying to tell you, is that it doesn't matter about the size of your garden or where you live, from the tiniest flat with a small balcony to the standard townhouse near the city with a postage stamp sized garden, you can still create your own personal oasis.  It doesn't matter if you just add some garden furniture, some trellis with fake leaves and a pile of plastic plants and fake hanging baskets, the point is, create a space you love, a safe space and if you can't do it alone, ask family or friends to help, if you're broke you can do this on a budget, plants are cheap, second-hand garden furniture or repurposed furniture from your home, you can build something amazing from not very much at all.
beautiful flowers like bearded irises grow in the urban oasis

The more I live outdoors, the more I cook outside, the more moments of stillness I can find the better I feel and it's not just living outdoors, I even feel calmer when I'm working on my laptop in the garden, my mind is clearer, my anxiety levels fall and I'm more zen than I've ever been.

food cooked on a bbq is so good for you, your garden is good for your mental health, mandy charlton photography blog
I actually have loved the act of gardening, the joy of transformation, the fact that I designed something in my mind (and on Pinterest) and it was the first ever project which now looks the same in reality as it did in my head when I designed it with my mind.  For me, I think there's something healthy, something wonderful about growing plants,  planting seeds and small plants and watching them blossom into something extraordinary.

I want to encourage people to love the space they have in the same way that Mrs Hinch has transformed our attitude to cleaning the house.  And yes, I realise Mrs Hinch has 2.4 million followers on Instagram and I have just over 10k but you have to start somewhere don't you and if I start a revolution to inspire others, well when they join in, perhaps, we, yes, you and me, we could start a movement which ends with us collectively having millions who transform their lives, their mental health and their outdoor living areas.  Of course, I'll have to come and visit for a nosey and a cup of tea but I'll guarantee you this, you'll find me smilier and happier, calmer and less anxious than I have been for a very long time.
Share:

2 comments

Tiffany said...

Great post. I'm planning to buy a house in the future and having my own garden is on my bucket list! Thanks for sharing ♥️ ♥️ Interested in doing collabs? xx

Clipping Path Service said...

Your photography blog site is really awesome! You've done lots of excellent work! I hope your success.

© Mandy Charlton - Photographer, Writer, Blogger | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Designed by pipdig