The UK’s interest in gardening has really flourished this year in response to the global pandemic and lockdown, meaning we’ve all been spending much more time at home over the last few months… giving us a great opportunity to revamp our living spaces and our front and back gardens.

Interestingly, new research has revealed that planting could actually help you reduce your stress levels, making you feel happier, more relaxed and closer to nature.

Carried out by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), in partnership with Sheffield, Westminster and Virginia universities, the study found that just adding a couple of plants to your bare front garden could reduce stress levels as much as eight weekly mindfulness sessions.

Researchers measured the cortisol hormone levels of residents both before and after plants were added to their gardens to see what impact greenery had. Before the experiment, 24 per cent of people had health cortisol patterns, but a year after plants had been added, this rose to 53 per cent.

RHS wellbeing fellow Dr Lauriane Suyin Chalmin-Pui said: “The stress reduction data is startling, in that we found such a significant response with just a relatively small number of plants.  Now we know that access to even a tiny patch of nature has beneficial effects for our health.

“Regreening our neighbourhoods is really important. This data supplements other studies where we know garden plants help mitigate flooding, encourage biodiversity, reduce air pollution, as well as  improve our health and wellbeing.”

In terms of gardening trends, it seems that outdoor plant pots are proving very popular at the moment, with further RHS research showing that container planting is offering an excellent solution to gardening in smaller spaces, such as balconies and patios.

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