Busy yourself with garden jobs that have the added bonus of boosting your wellbeing, and reflect on the things that gardening rituals teach us about life
There’s a lot going on in the garden at the moment. Colourful blooms are beginning to surface, wildlife is returning, and the grass seems to grow another inch every time you turn your back on it.
There’s enough to keep even the most casual gardener busy, but have you ever considered how you can use these chores to boost your wellbeing? Here, we’re sharing some ideas for how to transform standard spring gardening jobs into mindful moments that could support your happiness.
No Mow May
The idea of ‘No Mow May’ is pretty simple, really: don’t mow your lawn throughout the month of May. The campaign is all about bringing back wildflowers to benefit the local wildlife – including vital pollinators. There are 20 million gardens in the UK, making them a huge contributor to green spaces in the country, and so the ‘No Mow May’ is all about harnessing the power of our spaces in order to benefit the natural world around us.
But beyond the satisfaction of knowing that you’re making a difference ecologically speaking, there’s a lesson in ‘No Mow May’ about letting go of control, ignoring the pull to consistently achieve high standards, and allowing the world to move around us. In so many areas of our lives, we feel as though we have to meet targets – frankly, it can be exhausting. So, sit back, relax, and watch your lawn grow wild – and consider how things can flourish when we take the pressure off.
Take care of nesting birds
You may have already thought about taking care of local birds through the winter, when their food supplies are dwindling. But springtime is nesting time for many species, and all that hard work can really take it out of them. You can easily pick up some bird seed with your food shop, and there are many inexpensive varieties on offer. Position your bird feed in a quiet area of your garden, ideally out in the open so the birds have a good view of what’s around them so they can remain safe from predators.
Many of us can attest to the warm rush that comes with doing something good, and taking care of the wildlife in this manner definitely ticks a few boxes. But there are also specific wellbeing benefits to birdwatching, AKA birding, including a reduction in stress, anxiety, and even depression.
There’s a lesson in ‘No mow May’ about letting go of control, ignoring the pull to consistently achieve high standards, and allowing the world to move around us
Pruning and deadheading
Now’s the time to get those secateurs out to start pruning back shrubs and bushes, as well as deadheading bulbs. A vital part of any kind of garden maintenance, pruning and deadheading can still sometimes feel like taking a step backwards – though, of course, it’s actually about the exact opposite.
In gardening, as in life, we have to let go of the things that aren’t serving us, even when doing so looks like losing something. When you’re going through this job, take some time to consider areas in your life that you could cut back on in order to thrive in the future. That could be letting go of self-limiting beliefs, an unhappy relationship, bad habits, or anything else that weighs you down.
Of course, making the decision to do so is only one part of the process, but having a clear idea of where you want to go makes finding the next steps a whole lot easier.
No matter what kind of gardener you are – whether you plant out beautiful border flowers, carefully guide climbing shrubs, grow your own fruit and veg, or concentrate on creating a biodiverse space – now is growing season, and it’s time to get planting.
You’ll probably already know where we’re going with this metaphor, it’s quite a pervasive one, but it’s always worth a reminder of the way that the things we plant now will come back to us in the future. Why can’t today, right now, be the moment you make the change you’ve been itching to make? Why shouldn’t you begin prioritising your needs this afternoon? How about you sign up for that thing you’ve been putting off?
Whatever it is that you want to achieve in the future, right now is the time to plant that seed. With time, you’ll be able to watch it grow into something beautiful, something productive, and something that serves as a reminder of what it is to be alive.