Britain's young people are turning to gardening and we couldn't be happier
At Waltons, we love seeing people discover a hidden passion or talent for gardening. Can you name a pastime that's more fulfilling and enjoyable?
There's nothing more rewarding than seeing flowers you've planted blossom, or vegetables you’ve planted ready for harvest. But as any green fingered enthusiast will tell you; gardening takes time, patience and effort.
So we have to admit we were quite surprised to reveal that a large amount of the nation’s young people were putting down their gadgets and picking up garden tools instead!
Young gardeners, the future of horticulture?
We recently ran a survey to find out more about the UK's attitudes towards gardening – and the results are in.
Almost three-quarters of Brits aged 18-24 said that they regularly work in their gardens.
If you thought gardening was only for middle-aged homeowners and retirees with spare time on their hands, think again. But why the sudden boost in gardening as a pastime?
Can gardening relieve stress?
According to Harley Therapy clinical director Dr Sheri Jacobson, gardening is a great stress reliever that can help improve your self-esteem and mood in the same way that exercise can.
She said: “Gardening involves light to moderate activity. Many studies have shown that physical activity can help improve mood levels; exercise releases endorphins, which improves how you feel and it doesn't only apply to vigorous exercise."
We've all been there! Whether you're a student, studying for your exams, trying to make it onto the property ladder or just beginning your career, it can be a stressful time.
Gardening can give you a sense of worth and purpose
Gardening isn't just good for your mood, says Dr Jacobson. It can also give you a sense of purpose, which can in turn improve your wellbeing. After all, we all need a reminder from time to time that we're doing something worthwhile.
"Gardening entails nurturing small plants or seeds into larger plants and flowers. There is an element of care giving and being responsible for the growth and blossoming of life.
This is an activity which, similar to caring for a pet, can help with feeling worthwhile and purposeful, and thus helping to elevate mood,” she added.
Gardening bridges the age groups by bringing people together
Gardening is a great way of bridging age gaps, whilst bringing people together from all walks of life. If you run a community garden or allotment, why not encourage more young people to get involved?
You could do a recruitment drive for 18-24 year olds and learn a lot about today's young people.
Tips for young gardeners
Stuck for gardening ideas? Whether you’re planning to revamp your parents’ outdoor space or are looking to buy your own property (two-thirds of prospective first-time buyers admit they would prefer a house with a nice garden) it can help knowing where to start.
If you've been inspired by these recent findings, take a look at our tips to help you make the most of the gardening experience.
1. Know the best times to plant in your garden In an ideal world we’d all be able to grow what we want, when we want. However, Mother Nature doesn't work like that. For instance peppers and tomatoes are best grown throughout the spring and summer months, whereas hardy vegetables like cabbages are perfect for growing in cold temperatures.
2. Plan your garden out in advance
Before you begin sowing seeds and planting bulbs, you’ll want to work out what you want from your garden. Do you want to plant vegetable crops, fruit vines, flowerbeds, herbs or all of the above? Read up on how much space each of your plants need and what conditions they will grow best in – for example, do the plants you’re looking to grow need a greenhouse in order to thrive?
3. Be patient and don’t be afraid to experiment
The saying, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again” springs to mind here. Gardening can be such a fulfilling activity but it’s hard to become an expert straight away.
It takes practice and patience. Experiment with different seeds and bulbs to see what grows best in your garden. It's all about trial and error – the Garden of Eden wasn't built in a day you know!
4. Live in the city? Have an urban garden? No problem
You don't need your own garden to become a gardener. As our very own garden expert Aaron Ketland says:"If you're living in a flat or house without a garden, It's worth seeking out make public parks and other green spaces to provide some natural balance."
Get online and seek out community gardens or allotment projects in your area if you don't have the space for a garden.
5. Invest in a quality garden shed to keep all your tools and equipment in You’re going to need somewhere to store your rakes, hoes, lawn mowers, shovels and all other gardening tools so it's worth investing in a safe and secure outdoor shed.