The Good Life Has lockdown inspired you to re-connect with nature?

Spring 2020 has seen gardens, balconies and window boxes become a haven for millions of people during lockdown. There’s never been a better time to reconnect with nature and appreciate the simple pleasures in life. Not only can gardens boost our mood simply by providing a lovely view; they can be also be wonderfully therapeutic.

Over 500 different herbs, salads, edible flowers and fruit are grown in Rudding Park Kitchen Garden

Growing for Wellbeing Week takes place 1 – 7 June 2020 and celebrates the magic growing your own produce can do for your wellbeing, both physically and mentally.

We all know exercise is good for you, so listen up gardeners – it is said that 30 minutes gardening is comparable to the number of calories burnt from burnt from badminton, volleyball or practising yoga.  Result!

Benefits of being in the garden are broad and diverse, and a King’s Fund report on the health benefits shows significant reductions in depression and anxiety and improved social functioning. In fact, in 2017, the RHS teamed up with the NHS to promote the role that gardens can play for good mental health and wellbeing. 

So, why not go for it and Grow Your Own? Not only will you have plenty of fruit and veg on tap, think about how creative you can be in the kitchen with your fresh pickings, not to mention the ‘grow your own’ phenomenon supports the reduction in plastic packaging and food waste. It’s a ‘win win win!’

The best thing of course is that anyone, anywhere and any age can experience the simple joys of gardening and even more so when taking the first steps to grow your own!

At Rudding Park our talented Kitchen Gardener, Fiona Slight grows over 500 different herbs, salads, edible flowers and fruits to offer guests something different when they dine at Rudding Park. With 52 raised beds made from English Oak trees grown in the grounds, the garden is not only impressive to look at, it’s a wonderful space to explore and enjoy nature at its best. 

So, whilst you might not be quite ready to embrace self-sufficiency like Tom and Barbara in the 1970s BBC classic, if you are ready to give GYO a go, here Fiona shares her top tips.

  1.  If you’ve never grown anything before, try sowing salad leaves from seed in a pot either on the window sill or outside next to the back door. There is something wonderful about harvesting your salad leaves and eating them immediately.
  2.  Grow plants that will entice wildlife into your garden, herbs are especially good at attracting insects such as bees and butterflies and you can eat the herbs or make some lovely refreshing tea.
  3. Grow potatoes. If you have a new garden or you want to start a new vegetable garden, growing potatoes is a great way to clear the ground and get it going for other vegetables in the future. Plus, preparation and harvesting potatoes is great exercise!
  4.  Try and find a spot to grow tomatoes, all you need is a large pot and some tomato compost and a sunny sheltered position or green house.  Tomatoes are a valuable part of a healthy diet and nothing compares to eating a freshly picked tomato.
  5.  If you can, just spend time sitting in your garden and observing the wildlife and the plants and don’t forget – you could even reach for that Yoga matt!

Whilst we await news from the Government's as to when we can re-open, we are currently working on some new socially distanced guest experiences to make the most of gardens - watch this space!

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