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For many gardeners, their outdoor space is their sanctuary. Even if you aren’t green-fingered, you can harness the healing power of nature and create a haven that’s beneficial for your health and the planet.
Quick take: Which plants are best for mental health?
Lavendar is great for reducing stress and helping build a calm aura, while Honeysuckles help ease moods with their natural fragrance. Plus, Honeysuckles are great for attracting bees!
Growing a wellness garden is fast becoming a popular concept. Not only will your outdoor space come alive with calming fragrances and the buzzing of nature, but it could also provide you with herbal remedies and delicious treats. You can use your wellness nook for mindful meditation or even roll out your yoga mat; the possibilities are endless.
If you don’t have a garden, you can still grow a wellness space on a windowsill or balcony – it’s all about connecting with nature by helping it thrive, no matter how small a patch you have to give.
First, when creating a garden for wellbeing, you should choose sustainable plants with good health properties. Read on for more tips.
Making Sustainable Plant Choices
It’s a good idea to start your wellbeing garden with plants native to the UK. Why grow native? Well, these plants have spent thousands of years adapting to the local soil and water supply, meaning they’re hardy enough to grow strong and healthy with little maintenance. They help to protect the local ecosystem by providing for pollinators and creating a habitat for small critters. Plus, they’re kind to the environment as they won’t require fertilisers or heavy watering.
Some British plants that you can think about using include:
- Marigolds – these beautiful blooms are great for pollinators like bumble bees and moths and bring colour to your space, too.
- Honeysuckle – another one for the pollinators! Honeysuckle entices bees and helps to ease your mood thanks to the fragrant scent.
- Forget-me-not – these dainty petals are also important for bumble bees. The blue shade brings a calming tone to your garden.
- Rose canina – thanks to the dense growth, this one helps create a habitat for bugs and small animals, so your outdoor space can come alive.
Top tip: Try companion planting to keep your wellbeing garden healthy. This means growing two plants together that can protect each other. For example, companion plants will have a strong scent to keep pests at bay or anti-fungal properties to ward off disease.
Growing Medicinal Plants for Health
As well as creating a space for calm, you can make practical use of your wellbeing garden by growing species that can be harvested and harnessed for their power of good. There are lots of plants that are super simple to grow and can be used later on to ease pain or reduce stress; these include:
- Chamomile – this one has enormous health benefits (it has antibacterial properties, making it a great companion plant, too). Chamomile reduces stress, eases digestion, and soothes skin and hair. You can pick the flowers directly and dry them to use in tea or use them fresh as a decoration for a dessert.
- Echinacea – echinacea is full of antioxidants and is known for boosting the immune system. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, so it is good for eczema. Again, cut off the flowers and dry them to be used in tea.
- Peppermint – this fragrant plant is great for the digestive system and can be used to ease pain and reduce stress. Pluck the leaves directly at the stem and store in a damp paper towel. You can use them in tea or meal preparation.
Looking for a way to improve your mental health in the office (or your home office?), have a look at our article on best plants to grow in the office.
Plant Aromatherapy Plants to Relieve Stress
Create a space for complete calm by planting aromatherapy plants that relieve stress and promote relaxation. These are perfect for growing near a garden bench or in a quiet leafy spot where you can sit, unwind and take a moment to breathe deeply and take in the fragrant scents.
Some species that can help you relax include:
- Lavender – this is known to lower anxiety and can be used as a sleep aid. You can cut the flowers off fresh and keep some by your bed or dry them out and use them in a cotton pouch under your pillow.
- Rosemary – not only does rosemary help to reduce stress but infused as an oil, it’s also great for your skin and hair. It aids hair growth and reduces hair loss.
- Lemon Balm – with its wonderful scent, lemon balm eases your tension and helps you sleep. It can also be used as an insect repellent, so is a great addition to any garden.
To create an aromatherapy oil using any of these flowers, simply harvest the flowers, add them to coconut oil, seal and let sit for 7 to 10 days, then strain the concoction and enjoy as a fragrant oil.
Top tip: You don’t need a garden to reap the rewards of aromatherapy plants; simply make space on a light and airy windowsill and grow your herbs in pots.
There are so many benefits to creating a wellness garden for you and the planet. From having a space to sit with your thoughts to growing plants with healing properties that can be harvested, there’s no end to the possibilities.
While you’re aiding your mental wellbeing, you’re also helping the environment. Creating a space for pollinators and creatures helps the local ecosystem and ensures your garden is truly alive and thriving so that you can enjoy it even more.
Remember, no space is too small. Whether you dedicate your entire backyard to an eco-haven or simply add a raised flower bed to grow your aromatherapy plants, there are many simple ways to harness nature's healing power.