Benefits of gardening, or just being IN a garden

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Surgeon General leads walk through the park for launch of National Park Rx.

National Park Rx, a growing movement among doctors to prescribe parks and nature to their patients, launched recently and I was asked to talk to the public about the benefits of gardening.  Here’s the list I came up with:

  • Great exercise (with too many benefits to list, or to keep up with).
  • Improved immune system. (Hands in dirt – proven results.)
  • Reduced risk of dementia. (This one I’d never seen before Googling for benefits.)
  • Stress relief. (Oh, man.)
  • Improved mood. (Ditto.)
  • Connection with nature (The grand finale of benefits.)

I forgot “creative outlet.” Anything else?

My other mission was to encourage people to go to our local public gardens, so what are the proven benefits of being IN a garden, not gardening itself? I re-used these from the gardening list:

  • Stress relief.
  • Improved mood.
  • Connection with nature.

And added this one:

  • Getting inspired to garden.

But there are probably more. So what benefits do YOU experience from spending time in gardens?

To illustrate the benefits of being in a garden I used these photos of public gardens: the Regional Garden at the U.S. Botanic Garden in mid-summer, Magnolia Garden at the National Arboretum, and Brookside Gardens.

Park Rx to include gardens?

Yes, the leader of DC’s Park Rx program (profiled here on the Rant) assured me that public gardens WILL be included on its website and other promotions. Though not a gardener himself, he was easily convinced that gardens and gardening are good for our health. We hope that’s true of the national program, as well.

Posted by

Susan Harris
on April 29, 2016 at 7:55 am, in the category Public Gardens, What’s Happening.

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  1. 10th July 2016 at 6:15 pm —

    Scientific study released recently. Those retiring at age 65 and how much longer they will live. Control groups with those working past age 65, those gardening, blah blah ti blah.

  2. 31st August 2016 at 9:25 pm —

    Idk about that stress bit. I am a little stressed out about all the repotting I need to do. I have a couple flats I started that need to go in the ground. The stupid ACP showed up early this year. An orchid had its roots rot on me and is in the ICU. I have so much to do and on top of it all it’s the season for Spring Society Sales which means even more repotting.

  3. 9th October 2016 at 9:25 am —

    Could we demand gardens and gardening for our politicians too?

  4. 1st November 2016 at 3:42 pm —

    Iwould list one of the benefits of being in a garden as simply “Inspiration”. Whether you are inspired to garden, paint, write poetry, study the interaction of flora and fauna, the geology or geomorphology, to contemplate one’s space in the universe … or to simply relax, gardens are very inspiring.

  5. 22nd November 2016 at 10:00 am —

    Google “forest bathing”. The Japanese are way ahead of us on this one.

  6. 24th November 2016 at 5:09 am —

    Tara, I wonder if those studies took into account the health of the people before hand? Folks who have chronic diseases might be more inclined (or forced) to retire early. And then, sadly, pass on before the others.

  7. 24th November 2016 at 11:07 am —

    As seen in the photos and in my own experience, visiting public gardens is a wonderful social activity. Every visit with my family must include such a group viewing and discussing of gardens. Many topics of discussion in my family can be contentious, but not gardening.

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Benefits of gardening, or just being IN a garden