Many people take great joy in gardening. Whether it be for the aesthetic, the opportunity to bond with a friend, or to get outside and soak up the sun, different people find different reasons to grow plants and flowers at their homes. But could there be other possible benefits to gardening? Surveys have shown that those who participate in gardening feel like what they are doing has purpose and tangible benefits (Kaplan, 1973). These surveys demonstrated how people of all ages, from all backgrounds find some sort of happiness through a form of gardening, most of which included vegetable and flower gardening. Gardeners take great pride in their work and a well-kept backyard is very rewarding to them. Growing fresh vegetables is not just healthy, but relaxing and fulfilling.
It was shown that those who have an appreciation for nature are more likely to enjoy gardening and vice versa. In turn, having a positive regard for nature results in a more positive outlook on life and general happiness. It is thought that human beings have always had a will to be connected to nature. Even in the midst of urbanization, the attraction to nature can be seen through the efforts of many to maintain gardens or even patio and house plants (Kellert & Wilson, 1993). Channeling this innate desire to be in touch with nature through gardening has also shown to improve self-esteem, immune function, and hand coordination, while decreasing the risk for Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and depression (according to eartheasy.com). If all this is true, it is a wonder why more people aren’t gardening. Perhaps we should all try to get a little more vitamin D.
Waliczek, T. M., Zajicek, J. M., & Lineberger, R. D. (2005). The influence of gardening activities on consumer perceptions of life satisfaction. HortScience, 40(5), 1360-1365.
Capaldi, C. A., Dopko, R. L., & Zelenski, J. M. (2014). The relationship between nature connectedness and happiness: a meta-analysis. Frontiers in psychology, 5, 976.