COLUMNIST: Gardens, plants and green landscapes are good for you

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Gardens, plants and green landscapes are good for you.

Increasing research results indicate that gardening is good for you, plants improve your local environment and greenery improves your health and wellbeing.

Neil Grant, of Ferndale Garden Centre. Picture: Andrew Roe

Neil Grant, of Ferndale Garden Centre. Picture: Andrew Roe

Whether you live in an apartment, or a house, whether you own or rent, plants, gardens and gardening should be part of your everyday activities.

Many gardens lose their colour as winter approaches. This doesn’t need to be the case. Plants that ‘burn’ with colour as the leaves fall are a must in gardens. Japanese maples are a prime example. Evergreens, particularly those with splashes of yellow or gold will glow in winter sun. Hollies, euonymus, choisya and eleagnus are great examples and are all easy to grow. Berried plants such as skimmia reevsiana glow in autumn and winter.

Fashionably late flowers such as rudbeckia, kaffir lily, nerines, fuchsias and pnstemons flower right up into November and increasingly beyond. In late December, the witch hazels come into flower and soon afterwards snowdrops and crocus burst though. Winter flowering pansies also break the seasonal rules by flowering in pots and planters.

Heuchera gives low growing colour contrasts, grasses give burnished texture, and the occasional upright small pine or fir gives shape and form to a border. The secret to great winter interest is to plant a ‘focal point’ in front of your main winter views and then make them stand out. The view from the kitchen, your lounge, or as you arrive at your home are going to be seen regularly during the winter months. Make them colourful. Plant form, colour and interest can reduce stress levels by slowing you down and giving you a place to focus.

Garden plants also ‘filter’ diesel particulates, collect dust, and reduce noise and are ideal for front gardens. As the particles settle, leaves trap them until it rains when they are washed off. Indoor plants filter nasty manmade chemicals associated with fabrics, furniture, cleaning products & paints. The simple ivy will completely filter chemicals out of the atmosphere in hours. A whole range of everyday plants such as spider plants, weeping figs, and gerberas all filter your air in your home.

Regular gardening tasks such as raking the leaves up, mowing the lawn and digging are all good forms of exercise and being outside after a cooped-up week makes you feel better. Just dress for the weather. Get children involved too. Being outside helps with exercise, natural interest, fresh air and family fun. Create a bird feeding station together and thick about nectar bearing plants for next year. Plant berrying plants for colour and natural bird food.

All in all your garden is good for you.

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