January

Grow yourself happy


Gardens are great places to relax, and just being in or looking out onto gardens and green spaces has been shown to relieve stress, improving wellbeing and creativity. By creating a beautiful garden outside your own back door you’ll have a personal sanctuary to step out into, and somewhere to grow healthy food, welcome in wildlife, and spend time with family and friends. 

Gardening is a creative, rewarding and productive pastime, with opportunities to learn new skills, find out about exciting new plants, share ideas and make new friends. All these have a positive and restorative affect on mental and physical health, keeping mind and body active, whatever your age.  
In fact, gardening could be described as the Natural Health Service, as doctors recognise the numerous benefits gardening brings without the need for costly therapies and drugs, with their unwelcome side effects.  

For instance, eating well can start by growing your own organic homegrown crops – all part of the ‘5 a day’ we all need to provide nutrients, health-boosting vitamins and minerals, and essential phytochemicals that help protect our bodies against disease. Herbs not only add wonderful flavours to our home cooking and teas, but bring many health benefits too.  
Crops can be grown in even the smallest of spaces, providing the reward of picking fresh produce you’ve raised yourself. Combine these with colourful plants and fragrant flowers and any outdoor space will be transformed, giving you somewhere relaxing to sit or a vibrant space to socialise and entertain with family and friends. 
Month-by-month the HTA’s ‘Gardening Is Good For You!’ campaign will explore many of the benefits of gardens and gardening to our health and wellbeing. They’ll also feature topical gardening activities and ‘Plants of the Moment’ to help create rewarding gardens for work, rest and play. 

DID YOU KNOW? 

By choosing the right plants we can design gardens that encourage birds, bees, butterflies and other wildlife to drop in for food, water and shelter, or even take up residence. Developing an all-year-round wildlife-friendly garden satisfies our own creativity and feeling of achievement, bringing us outside and closer to nature to reduce stress and improve our wellbeing. Contact with plants and the soil also enhances our health and boosts the immune system, too. 

PLANTS OF THE MOMENT: YEAR-ROUND COLOUR & INTEREST 

By creating a garden that looks great all-year-round you’ll not only have a beautiful outlook but more opportunities to be tempted outside throughout the year to stay active and grow yourself healthy. 
To give your garden structure and form choose plants that offer more than one season of interest. In particular, pick evergreen plants and architectural shrubs with green, coloured or variegated foliage that also produce seasonal flowers, and perhaps fruits or berries too.  
Plant these to form the backbone to your garden, giving it structure, and adding height at the back of borders. Use their bold shapes and sizes to obscure eyesores and cover boring fences, cut down noise from roads and neighbours, and create a sense of privacy and seclusion. 

PLANT SUGGESTIONS: 

Any plants that provide year-round colour and interest eg 
Choisya eg ‘Sundance’ AGM, ‘Aztec Pearl’ AGM 
Hebe ‘Red Edge’ AGM 
Skimmia x confusa ‘Kew Green’ AGM 
Skimmia japonica ‘Fragrans’ AGM 
Photinia eg ‘Red Robin’ AGM 
Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’ AGM 
Japanese spotted laurel - Aucuba japonica ‘Crotonifolia’ AGM 
Osmanthus x burkwoodii AGM 
Elaeagnus x submacrophylla ‘Limelight’ 
Euonymus, Pieris, etc, etc. 

INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT MORE? 

 THE ORNAMENTAL ROUNDTABLE HEALTH AND HORTICULTURE CONFERENCE 2016 
https://www.rhs.org.uk/science/Ornamental-Horticulture-Roundtable/health-and-horticulture-conference-2016 
 
GARDEN ORGANIC & SUSTAIN 
The benefits of gardening and food growing for health and wellbeing 
https://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/sites/www.gardenorganic.org.uk/files/GrowingHealth_BenefitsReport_0.pdf 
 
THE KING’S FUND 
Gardens and health: Implications for policy and practice 
https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/gardens-and-health 
 
JANUARY IMAGE CREDIT 
Physocarpus opulifolius 'Diabolo' © Adam Pasco Media 



Gardens mean different things to different people, and while some want a secluded space to unwind in and relax others want a place to entertain, chill out with family and friends, or simply enjoy pottering around their plot. Spending time outside helps to lower stress and anxiety, improves your mood, and is beneficial to mental health and wellbeing.  

To start creating your perfect garden it’s best to write down what you want from it. Should it be inviting and welcoming, vibrant and fun, private and protected, or perhaps a spiritual space to meditate.  

Set out the style, features to include, colours you love, and plants that appeal. Use books, magazines, and websites like Pinterest for inspiration, and then sketch out your ideas. Different plants lend themselves to different garden styles, whether clipped, clean and formal, or big, bold, bright and tropical, so visit local nurseries and garden centres to talk through ideas with their expert staff.  
Perhaps you’re drawn to a traditional cottage garden, paths lined with lavender, borders packed with seasonal colour, or a seated arbour clad with a fragrant mix of roses, honeysuckle and clematis. With calming soft shades and scent filling the air, these are restful gardens to sit in and ponder – an escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.  

If a lawn isn’t practical in small or shaded areas, develop a relaxing patio garden using paving, decking or aggregates. Leave planting pockets around the edges for evergreen climbers and shrubs to cover walls and fences, using large tubs and baskets to add drama and seasonal colour. And include furniture to tempt you outside, whether a simple bench to perch, table and chairs to dine alfresco, or something soft and comfortable to sink into, de-stress and meditate.  

Boost your ‘five a day’ by growing tasty organic fruits, veg and salads fresh from the garden, perhaps designing an ornamental and productive potager, or mixing crops into borders with flowers. In small spaces grow crops and culinary herbs in pots within easy reach of the kitchen or barbecue.  
 Your garden could be a peaceful sanctuary or welcoming social space, boosting the health and wellbeing or all those who use it. And by styling different areas with plants to suit your mood you’ll be able to enjoy seasonal colour throughout the year.  

Keen gardeners will enjoy the challenge of nurturing plants, relishing the fun of growing more ‘fussy’ or tender plants. This satisfies a creative spirit and proves mentally rewarding. However, there are plenty of ‘tried and tested’ favourites at garden centres now, perfect to produce beautiful displays with instant impact. These plants that are hardy, reliable, easy to maintain, and great value for money!  

DID YOU KNOW?  

Flowers can make you feel calm and relaxed, reducing stress and improving mental health. Fragrant flowers, like lavender, have been shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure, too, aiding restful sleep. While the style of garden and colours used can affect mood and emotions, just looking out onto plants has healing properties, and can boost performance, productivity and creativity.  

PLANTS OF THE MOMENT: PLANTING STYLES  

Gardens can be created in many popular styles, so choose one to suit your mood. Perhaps you want a relaxing patio garden packed with colour where the family can play, or somewhere more modern, vibrant and stylish to sit out and entertain. Flowery and fragrant cottage gardens can include traditional favourites like roses, lilies and sweet peas, while a natural wildlife garden will create habitats with plants that will attract birds, bees, beneficial insects and other welcome friends.   
If space allows try developing different themed areas divided by paths, clipped hedges, planted trellis screens or archways. Be creative and play with colour themes or celebrate a season, having fun and expressing your own personality.  

PLANT SUGGESTIONS 

Retailers can choose plants to fit in to selected planting styles, such as those mentioned above eg  
*  Cottage garden favourites.  
*  Reliable and easy to maintain shrubs and perennials.  
*  Bold, leafy and evergreen shrubs, bamboos, grasses, etc, to create privacy.  
*  Any shrubs, hedging, perennials and trees with flowers, fruits and berries of value to wildlife or that can be used to create habitats for nesting and feeding birds and insects, etc.  
* Plants to include in this month’s selection could include: Bergenia, Brunnera, Cyclamen coum, Doronicum ‘Little Leo’, Nandina domestica and Photinia ‘Red Robin’.  

INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT MORE?  

  
UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT  
Garden Design to Reduce Stress  
https://pss.uvm.edu/ppp/pubs/oh82stress.htm 
 
PUSH DOCTOR – September 2018  
6 mental health benefits of plants:  
Does Flower Power boost your mood?  
https://www.pushdoctor.co.uk/blog/6-mental-health-benefits-of-plants-does-flower-power-boost-your-mood 
  
RHS  
Choose your style  
https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/design/Garden-themes 
  
LIVING COLOUR LANDSCAPES  
USING COLOUR THERAPY IN GARDEN DESIGN  
http://www.livingcolourlandscapes.com.au/using-colour-therapy-in-garden-design/ 
  
SCIENCE DAILY – July 2018  
Living in greener neighbourhoods is associated with slower cognitive decline  
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180711182741.htm 
  
BETTER HOMES & GARDENS  
Elements of Good Garden Design  
https://www.bhg.com/gardening/design/styles/line-garden-design/ 
 
FEBRUARY IMAGE CREDIT 
Garden Latham Avenue © Adam Pasco Media 

March

Spring into action!


Spring is in the air, and there’s no better time to start planning and planting colourful displays to enjoy over the months ahead.  

For instant impact choose plants at their best through spring including daffodils, tulips, fragrant hyacinth and other flowering bulbs, all perfect for partnering in patio pots and flower beds with seasonal bedding like pansy, viola, wallflower, bellis, forget-me-not, primula and polyanthus. 
Growing flowers, crops and herbs from seed is also a rewarding way to grow, and perfect if you’re gardening on a budget. Many gardening activities like sowing, potting, watering and planting bring with them the rewards of nurturing and watching plants grow and flourish. By producing wonderful displays and enjoying the fruits of your labours you’ll be satisfying an intrinsic need for creativity and achievement, both important for our mental health and wellbeing. 

Gardening is excellent exercise, too. Gently stretching and bending while planting and weeding helps keep you fit and flexible. More active gardening like digging, clearing, raking, sweeping and lawn mowing will also raise your heart rate, and burn off more calories too. Just an hour of active gardening could use around 250 - 500 calories. So, forget joining an expensive gym and get active outdoors in your garden instead.  

If your borders lack structure and impact why not plant some bold evergreen flowering shrubs this spring. A wide range is available now to suit all sites and situations, from viburnum and camellia, to holly and hebe. Hedging plants surround a garden all year with a natural, living screen, or buy evergreen box to clip into fun topiary features. 

Always prepare the soil thoroughly, enjoying the gentle exercise of digging deeply while adding organic composts to improve the drainage, structure and composition of your soil. Not only does regular gentle gardening in the fresh air keep you active it also helps release stress and improve mental health, connecting you with the soil and natural world to provide grounding and a sense of wellbeing. 

So, spring into action and get your body and garden into shape for the year ahead. 

DID YOU KNOW? 

The Green Gym run by The Conservation Volunteers uses natural exercise to promote community health. These fun and free outdoor sessions involve activities like tree planting, sowing flower meadows and creating wildlife ponds. By connecting with nature the Green Gym enhances mental wellbeing, helping people contribute something positive to their community. Find out more at www.tcv.org.uk/greengym. 

PLANTS OF THE MOMENT:  SPRING COLOUR & SPRING PLANTING 

Whether it’s drifts of golden daffodils or a multi-coloured kaleidoscope of tulips, spring bulbs are the perfect choice to fill borders, patio pots and window boxes. Many fill the air with their heady fragrance too, like hyacinth, making them an ideal pot plant to grow indoors. 
Keep the colour coming by mixing bulbs with seasonal bedding plants including long-flowering wallflowers, frothy forget-me-nots, bold daisy-like Bellis perennis, pansies and dainty violas, or primulas and primroses. Also choose early flowering hardy perennials like brunneraepimediumbergenia, hellebores, euphorbia, and a host of others. 
For many, camellias are the plant of choice for classy spring colour, and although they require an acid soil to flourish they can be planted into large pots of ericaceous compost instead. 

PLANT SUGGESTIONS: 

Any plants providing Spring Colour eg 
Spring flowering bulbs 
Spring bedding plants, including Senetti 
Hardy Perennials such as Perennial Wallflower (Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’ AGM), Hellebores, Euphorbia, Bergenia and Bruunera ‘Jack Frost’ AGM 
Green perennials to plant now such as Paeonia, Lupin, Delphinium, Hollyhock (Alcea), Digitalis. 
Spring flowering shrubs: 
Erica x darleyensis eg ‘Ghost Hills’ AGM 
Clematis armandii ‘Apple Blossom’ AGM 
Oregon Grape - Mahonia aquifolium ‘Apollo’ AGM 
Pieris japonica eg ‘Passion’, ‘Flaming Silver’ AGM 
Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’ AGM 
Camellia, Azaleas, Rhododendrons, etc, 

INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT MORE? 

 
GARDEN ORGANIC & SUSTAIN 
The benefits of gardening and food growing for health and wellbeing 
https://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/sites/www.gardenorganic.org.uk/files/GrowingHealth_BenefitsReport_0.pdf 
 
HOW MANY CALORIES DOES GARDENING BURN? 
SEE:  https://www.fitnessblender.com/articles/how-many-calories-does-gardening-burn-calories-burned-gardening 
 
CALORIE LAB 
See: http://calorielab.com/burned/?mo=se&gr=08&ti=lawn+and+garden+activities&q=&wt=150&un=lb&kg=68 
 
MARCH IMAGE CREDIT 
Brunera Jack Frost in April © Adam Pasco Media 

April

Be creative with colour

Paint your garden with colourful plants and brighten your outlook throughout the year! Whether you want a calming area to relax or a vibrant space to party, choose colour themes to suit your mood, combining plants and accessories to create the perfect garden for your health and well-being. 
Plan the colour of your outdoor space as you would your interior by considering the colour of fences, walls, structures and landscaping materials as well as pots, ornaments, furniture and other features to combine with your favourite plants and flowers. 

For somewhere bright and uplifting choose a colour palette with red, gold, yellow and orange – all colours with energy and warmth. Planted in bold bocks around a patio, and matched with furniture in equally uplifting colours, they’ll produce a joyful place socialise outside.  
In contrast, create somewhere calm and relaxing using cool colours like blue, mauve and violet, set against a backdrop of green, and perhaps adding pure white and silver for a clean, tranquil effect. With soft chairs to sink down into you’ll create a peaceful and restorative space to sit out and meditate. 

Different colours can influence on your emotions in different ways: 
RED – bold, bright and stimulating, exciting and eye-catching 
ORANGE – warm and vibrant, happy and fun 
YELLOW – cheerful and welcoming, positive and stimulating 
GREEN – fresh, natural and calming, peaceful and relaxing 
BLUE – simple, cool, calming and relaxing 
MAGENTA / VIOLET / PURPLE – striking, powerful and energetic 
WHITE / GREY / SILVER – pure and simple, clean and classic 
Creativity is rewarding and good for mental health, so explore your creative side by combining plants with other materials and features. Pick bold and dramatic plants to form a backdrop and set the stage for colourful seasonal stars steal the limelight. Mixing things up may be fun, but take care as a riot of colour can look unplanned and disorganised. 
Of course, there’s more to choosing plants than just their colour, such as their shape and size, texture, suitability to your site and soil, their season of interest, and more. At the end of the day colour choice is up to you, and if you like it then that’s all that matters! 

THE COLOUR WHEEL 

Colours can be grouped into four broad categories, starting with the ‘Primary Colours’ of red, yellow and blue. By mixing these primary colours you get ‘Secondary Colours’, so red and yellow create orange, yellow and blue make green, and red mixed with blue form violet. Mixtures of primary and secondary colours are called ‘Tertiary colours, like a green-blue or violet-red. Lastly you have ‘Neutral Colours’ like white, grey, silver, brown and black. 

To choose complimentary colours try using a simple visual device called the Colour Wheel. Think of a pie divided into twelve coloured slices running from red to orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, and back to red. Colours opposite one another on the Colour Wheel, or equally spaced in a triangle, are the most harmonious, like red and green, yellow and violet, or orange and blue. 

DID YOU KNOW? 

Colour can influence your visual perception of space. By growing bright red plants at the end of a long, narrow garden you can make it appear closer than it actually is, while cool, blue flowers will look further away, giving the impression that the space is larger. Vibrant colours like red and yellow grab your attention, drawing the eye away from eyesores or views you’d prefer to ignore, while pure white and gold shine out on dull days and brighten a shaded spot. 

PLANTS OF THE MOMENT: COLOUR THEMED DISPLAYS 

Garden centres can develop displays of plants around different colour themes. 
Plants can be grouped into different colour themed combinations to help customers choose perfect planting partners. 
Include colourful plants that add immediate impact as well as things that provide continuity to keep the colour coming right through summer, highlighting colour from foliage, bark and stems, autumn colour, as well as flowers, fruits and berries. 
Retailers can also promote colourful accessories, fencing, furniture and finishing touches. 

PLANT SUGGESTIONS: 

Retailers can choose plants to fit their selected colour themes. 
Perhaps use the principles of the Colour Wheel to create displays, or have fun with colourfulful groupings or partners. 
Highlight good planting companions eg 
Purple & Yellow/Gold eg Geranium, Achillea, Rudbeckia. 
Red, Yellow & Blue eg Solidago, Scabious, CamassiaScilla peruviana. 
Purple, Green & Orange eg Geum, Alchemilla, Geum. 
Violet, Orange & Green eg Campanula, Erysimum, Salvia, Verbascum, Hosta, Euphorbia, Bergenia, etc. 
GARDENS TO VISIT… for colour-themed inspiration 
*  Coton Manor, Northampton – for their The Blue & Yellow Border. 
*  East Ruston Old Vicarage, Norfolk – for their Red & Purple Border. 
*  Hidcote Manor Garden, Gloucestershire (National Trust) – for their Red Borders. 
*  Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Kent (National Trust) – for their White Border. 
INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT MORE? 
 
LIVING COLOUR LANDSCAPES 
Using colour therapy in garden design 
See:  http://www.livingcolourlandscapes.com.au/using-colour-therapy-in-garden-design/ 
 
LIFE HACKER 
Learn the Basics of Color Theory to Now What Looks Good 
See:  https://lifehacker.com/learn-the-basics-of-color-theory-to-know-what-looks-goo-1608972072 
 
APRIL IMAGE CREDIT 
Colour themed planting © Adam Pasco Media 

May

Get set to grow


Being creative brings with it many benefits, and gardening is the perfect pastime to produce wonderful floral displays and relaxing outdoor spaces, with opportunities to nurture crops and watch plants grow to perfection.  

Gardening is a rewarding outlet for individual creativity, connecting us to plants, the soil and surroundings, and health experts now agree that these are all beneficial to our health and wellbeing. Whether you’re creating summer patio displays, sowing crops on the veg plot or allotment, or planting a cutting garden to produce beautiful flowers to pick and bring indoors, there are plenty of exciting projects to start this month. 

Now’s a great time to sow and plant flowers, veg, salads, fruits and herbs to enjoy over the months ahead. Gardening outside in the fresh air is a good way to get some gentle exercise while nurturing crops and patio displays to perfection. By growing your own you’ll pick the freshest, healthiest, nutrient-rich produce possible …. from plot to plate in minutes! 

While ‘5 a day’ has become has become a mantra for many, experts at Imperial College London say most people still aren’t eating enough fruit and veg, and should be eating more. Fruits and vegetables provide a rich variety of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fibre. These help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer, boosting the immune system, reducing cholesterol levels and blood pressure, plus many other health benefits too. 
 
One of your ‘5 a day’ is defined as an 80g (3oz) portion, and the most beneficial crops to grow at home include apples and pears, salads and green veg like spinach and lettuce, yellow sweet peppers, and cruciferous crops including cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. 
For a healthy balanced diet, aim for a rainbow of colours on your plate too – both raw and cooked – as different coloured fruits and crops contain varying beneficial ingredients. For instance, it’s anthocyanins that give beetroot, blackberries, red cabbage and purple and blue crops their colour, while the distinctive orange/yellow colour of carrots, peppers and squash comes from carotinoids, used in our body to form Vitamin A. 

Gardening and growing your fruit, herbs, crops and cut flowers are beneficial to health and wellbeing in many ways. It’s rewarding and productive, provides exercise, and helps feed the family with freshly picked homegrown, organically grown produce – the perfect way to keep you healthy and save money too! 

DID YOU KNOW? 

Perhaps gardening and growing your own could reduce the million prescriptions for anti-depressants issued every week. Picking your own fruit and crops can give you a harvesting high! Researchers have found that seeing, smelling and picking fruits and berries can release dopamine from the brain’s reward centre, resulting in a feeling of mild euphoria and wellbeing. 
EAT THE RAINBOW WITH COLOURFUL CROPS 
For flavour and freshness grow a rainbow of colourful and nutritious fruit, veg and salads in your kitchen garden. 
REDTomatoes, Red Onions, Rhubarb Chard, Sweet Peppers, Chillis, Strawberries, Rhubarb. 
ORANGECarrots, Squash, Pumpkin.  
YELLOWGolden Courgettes and Tomatoes, Sweetcorn, Yellow Beans and Sweet Peppers. 
GREENAsparagus, Spinach, Peas, Beans, Mangetout, Rocket, Lettuce and salad leaves, Kale, Romanesco, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cucumber, Pak Choi.  
BLUEBlueberries.  
PURPLEBeetroot, Broccoli, Aubergine, Purple Beans, Purple Asparagus, Red Cabbage, Radish, Kohl Rabi, Plums 
WHITECauliflower, Celery, Leeks, Onions, Garlic, Shallots, Spring Onions, Potatoes, Parsnips, Celeriac, Turnip. 

PLANTS OF THE MOMENT:  PLANTS FOR SUMMER DISPLAYS & CROPS 

Now is the perfect time to plan and plant for bright, colourful displays and productive plots. Flowers attract bees and insects into our gardens, vital for the pollination of many fruits and crops. Hoverflies feeding on the pollen and nectar will be encouraged to breed, with their larvae eating greenfly to keep plants pest free. 
Flowering plants available now for immediate colour include Nemesia, Poppy varieties, Pinks (Dianthus), Polemonium, and shrubs including Berberis darwinii AGM, choisya, ceanothus, weigela, lilac and many viburnum. 
Young plants of many crops including tomatoes, peppers, chillis, cucumbers, strawberries, courgettes and squash can be planted directly into large pots or growing bags in the greenhouse or on a warm, sunny patio. Dozens of other crops like salad leaves, beans, rocket, spinach, beetroot and carrots can be grown from seed, so check the full range at your local garden centre now. 

INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT MORE? 

 
SUSTAIN – the alliance for better food and farming 
Growing Health 
https://www.sustainweb.org/growinghealth/ 
 
BBC NEWS 
Fruit and veg: For a longer life eat 10-a-day 
See:  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39057146 
 
British Heart Foundation: 
https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-matters-magazine/nutrition/5-a-day/colourful-foods 
 
https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/18/ask-well-does-boiling-or-baking-vegetables-destroy-their-vitamins/ 
 
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/raw-veggies-are-healthier/ 
 
Nutrition Australia - Eat a Rainbow 
http://www.nutritionaustralia.org/national/resource/eat-rainbow 
 
Why gardening makes you happy and cures depression 
https://permaculture.com.au/why-gardening-makes-you-happy-and-cures-depression/ 
 
MAY IMAGE CREDIT 
Berberis darwinii © Adam Pasco Media 

June

Fill your garden with fragrance


Step outside and smell the roses, plus a host of other scented flowers too. Choosing plants shouldn’t just be about their size, shape and colour but embrace their full sensory appeal, including the most evocative of all … fragrance! 

Plants evolved fragrant flowers to attract pollinating insects, rewarding them with nectar and pollen they’ll discover within, but we enjoy their wonderful scents too. They have adapted to bloom at different times of year and varying times of day to suit their insect companions, such as moths attracted to evening primrose, pinks or honeysuckle. Gardeners can take advantage of this by picking fragrant plants to enjoy at the times of year they’re outdoors most. 

Research on floral scents has highlighted their benefit to both mental and physical health by relieving stress and depression.  

Scent can also improve memory, focus and wellbeing, particularly in combination with other sensory engagement with plants and gardening activities. 

By growing fragrant plants we can enjoy these benefits too, whether you’re looking for something rosy and relaxing, oriental and intoxicating, or fresh and invigorating. Consider which scented plants to choose for creating the desired effect, such as the welcome fragrance of honeysuckle and roses around an entrance, the uplifting scent of lilies or lilac catching the breeze, or aromatic oils from Mediterranean herbs filling the air on a balmy summer’s evening. 

For relaxation, the scent of lavender has been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate to promote sleep, while aromatic rosemary keeps you alert, improving focus and memory. Sometimes a scent can even unlock a childhood memory, transporting you back to a time or place to help remember people and events in the past. 

So forget the scented candles and grow your own aromatherapy plants instead, enjoying the simple pleasure of filling your garden with fragrance! 

DID YOU KNOW? 

The Fragrance Wheel was developed by the perfume industry to categorise different scents, giving them a descriptive language they can use. Fragrance directly changes our mood, too. Fruity and spicy perfumes are uplifting and reinvigorating, while floral and rosy perfumes reduce stress and anxiety, promoting mental balance. Fresh, green, herbal and citrus perfumes keep us mentally active and creative, while earthy scents can be comforting and nurturing. 

PLANTS OF THE MOMENT: SCENTED PLANTS 

There are scented plants to enjoy during every season, including pot plants and cut flowers like sweet peas to bring indoors. Summer scents are particularly valuable, enjoyed while sitting outside and relaxing in your own garden. Include shrubs with highly fragrant flowers, like mock orange (Philadelphus) and lilac (Syringa) in borders, and grow scented climbers like roses, jasmine and honeysuckle over arches and pergolas or around doors and windows. Also position plants with fragrant foliage, like lavender and herbs, close to paths, doorways and seating areas so you can run your hand over them to release their aroma as you pass. 
Retailers can make their own displays using any selection of fragrant plants and flowers. This month retailers develop displays of other scented products too, such as cut flowers and houseplants to bring fragrance indoors. 

PLANT SUGGESTIONS: 

Develop displays of plants with scented flowers or foliage eg 
Lavender & Butterfly Lavender 
Fragrant roses 
Mock Orange – Philadelphus vars eg ‘Belle Etoile’ AGM 
Daphne x transatlantica Eternal Fragrance AGM 
Escallonia ‘Iveyi’ AGM 
Abelia x grandiflora 
Lilac – later flowering Syringa varieties 
Aromatic herbs eg rosemary, sage, thyme, lemon verbena, oregano, etc. 
Perennials like Salvia ‘Carradonna’, Phlox divaricate ‘Clouds of Perfume’ and varieties of Verbasum. 
Scented paeonies, shrubs, climbers, bulbs, Verbena rigida, etc, etc. 

INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT MORE? 

 
PSYCHOLOGY OF PERFUMES 
See:  https://www.scentbird.com/blog/psychology-perfumes/ 
 
FRAGRANCE WHEEL 
See:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fragrance_wheel 
 
PYSIOLOGICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL RESPONSE TO FLORAL SCENT 
See:  http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/content/48/1/82.full 
 
JUNE IMAGE CREDIT 
Lavandula 'Pretty Polly' © Adam Pasco Media 

July

Enjoy summertime in the garden

Whether starting the day with tea and toast on the patio, relaxing in the shade, dining alfresco, or watching the sun setting with a cool drink, what better place to spend summer than in the garden. Bright mornings, sunny days and warm balmy evenings tempt us outside to enjoy a dose of green therapy, boosting our mood and recharging the batteries.

Designing social spaces into your garden creates opportunities to play and have fun in the sun, entertain over a tasty barbecue, or chill out with family and friends. Comfy furniture helps you relax in style, whether it’s reclining chairs, a hammock strung between trees, or a gently swinging seat in the shade.

Surrounding yourself with plants brings you closer to nature, improving mood and relieving depression. Looking out onto a garden provides a dose of ‘green therapy’, taking away aches and pains, speeding-up rehabilitation after illness, and improving mental health. That feeling of wellbeing you get from just being outside comes from a boost of what have colloquially been called ‘outdoorphins’, similar to the endorphins your body produces during exercise that reduce pain and raise the spirits.

Scientists also call this ‘biophilia’, an inbuilt need for humans to connect with nature and other forms of life, and have demonstrated how gardening and being outdoors in a natural setting can satisfy this intrinsic need.

Gardens can be vibrant outdoor rooms with space to entertain, socialise and play. They can also be places of peace and solitude to escape into and relax, or somewhere comfortable to unwind, practice mindfulness and recharge.

Both gardens and houseplants absorb pollutants from the air we breath, while dense boundary hedging reduces noise from roads and the general surroundings. And by planting shrubs, trees, hedges and climbers around our homes we’ll provide shelter from scorching sun and wind that in turn reduce heating and cooling costs, producing a much more comfortable environment to sit out and enjoy summertime in your garden.

DID YOU KNOW?

SUMMER SUN VITAMIN BOOST
When UVB radiation in sunlight reaches the skin it helps the body create vitamin D, which in turn helps us absorb calcium and phosphate from food that’s needed for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. From October to March the UVB levels in sunlight are too low to form vitamin D, and we rely on vitamins from our diet instead.
While sunshine is certainly good for you, always take care to protect skin against its harmful affects by covering-up, putting on a hat and sunglasses, and wearing sunscreen.

PLANTS OF THE MOMENT:  PLANTS FOR INSTANT COLOUR & DISPLAYS

There are plenty of plants available in nurseries and garden centres now to add instant colour and impact to summer displays. Many are ready-planted in larger patio pots and hanging baskets that can be put straight outside to enjoy.
These bigger plants are often already in bloom, making them easier to colour-coordinate and match with planting partners, furniture and accessories.
And as well as ornamental plants you’ll find productive ones too, from pots of tomatoes, chillies and strawberries to vegetables, salads, fruits and herbs. Picking crops you’ve grown yourself boosts the brain, creating a feelings of wellbeing, and providing tasty produce to feed the family.
Look for:
* Bedding plants like Begonia, Verbena, Petunias, Pelargoniums, Lobelia, Argyranthemum, Dahlia and Zinnia.
* Hardy perennials like Geranium, Echinacea, Anthemis, Phlox, Astrantia, Salvia, Penstemon, Monarda, Helenium and Heuchera.
* Shrubs like Hydrangea, Brachyglottis, Nepeta, Lavender*, Hebe, Choisya, Phormium, Cordyline, Yucca or climbing Clematis, Roses, Honeysuckle and Jasmine.
* Fruit and Veg like Strawberries, Tomatoes, Chillies and Peppers, Squash, salad plants and potted herbs.
*Lavandula species are listed by Defra as Xylella Host Plants of concern to the UK. For further information please visit the Plant Health Portal and read the latest High Risk Host list. Suspected cases of Xylella fastidiosa or any other non-native plant pest must be reported to the relevant authority. All Xylella host plants should be sourced responsibly.

INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT MORE? WELLBEING GARDENING:

GARDENING FOR THE BODY, MIND & SPIRIT
https://permaculturenews.org/2013/06/05/wellbeing-gardening-gardening-for-the-body-mind-spirit/
RHS
Let’s get Greening Grey Britain!
https://www.rhs.org.uk/get-involved/greening-grey-britain
RHS
HEALTH & HORTICULTURE CONFERENCE 2016
https://www.rhs.org.uk/science/Ornamental-Horticulture-Roundtable/health-and-horticulture-conference-2016
HOW TO GET VITAMIN D FROM SUNLIGHT
https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/how-to-get-vitamin-d-from-sunlight/#
JULY IMAGE CREDIT - Petunia + Yucca in pot © Adam Pasco Media
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