(All from the garden and hens) lunch.

(All from the garden and hens) lunch.

16-05-2020Caroline Fuller

I read on the Royal Horticultural Society's website that gardening is very good for your mental and physical wellbeing and that gardeners show a significant reduction in depression and anxiety based illness. It was also suggested that 30 minutes of gardening is comparable to playing badminton or yoga. I'm not convinced that it means the way I potter about but it’s good to know that there are health benefits. I would be interested to know how many steps I achieve in a day though and may well invest in a little gadget to work that out.

The benefits of gardening have long been recognised by GP's and in the UK they have encouraged the opening of more and more community gardens in towns and cities for communities to get involved, thus improving mental, physical and social health. Here in Majorca there are also community gardens. One in Marratxi/Sa Cabana detailed on their council website under horts-urbans Marratxi and also check a Facebook page biogranjalarea l, that really does look like a great place to garden. With health services recommending increased intake of fruit and vegetables what better way to do this than to grow your own especially here when we are blessed with such fantastic weather. Even without access to a garden, it’s possible to grow peppers, tomatoes, and herbs on a windowsill.

I have to say I agree that gardening is good for your mental health. Times are not easy for most now and yet in our little patch of the world we can close our eyes to what is going on for a while. This is definitely our happy space. O/h is often asking, "What was that you said?", and I nearly always respond, "Nothing, I was talking/singing to the plants."

However, it is not just, because I like to see something grow and feel proud of our efforts at creating a number of 'garden rooms', no, my main motivation has to be food. Don't misunderstand I am not exactly Mrs healthy and love a good cake, packet of crisps or a cheese baguette as much as the next person but what I do love even more is popping out into the garden for today's lunch or something to go with tonight’s dinner, even o/h eats veg if it's from the garden. I'm just not that great at planning and always get carried away planting too many of one thing but my other joy is being able to give things away, or swap it for wine! It’s also a great way to get to know the neighbours and practise a bit of my embarrassingly awful Spanish. So yes, gardening is good for social health too!

I do on occasion just walk around the garden taking photographs of flowers and the new seedlings popping up but at this time of year, I can eat my way around the garden as I go... A pea as I'm passing (they rarely make to a cooking pot), a cherry tomato or two, a fine green bean, a leaf of crunchy lettuce or so followed by a strawberry, a nispero and an apricot. I like to do an eating tour and notice things that are happening.

Last week we found a bird’s nest in an orange tree, what a lovely place to be born, surrounded by orange blossom. After another day working and eating in the garden, tonight we will sit and watch the birds of prey circle in the sky, and listen to the smaller birds singing about their day. We will hear the 8’o’clock clap and our dogs will join in with all the neighbourhood dogs. Our chickens will come up to their fence line to cluck that they would like another feed before plodding off to their coop for the night. The collies will drop a ball at our feet, Mollie collie will steal it and the game will end before it starts. Meanwhile the chickens will have organised themselves into who goes to roost first. Two of the chickens sleep in the tree and each have their way of getting up there. One jumps on the water barrel and up and one jumps on the fence and up. The littlest chicken always goes to bed last. Our garden really does give this family, feelings of comfort, safety and happiness when we stop long enough to notice.

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