The Daily Telegraph

More plants in the front gar­den helps make us hap­pier

- By Daily Tele­graph Reporter Gardening · Botany · Hobbies · Biology · Manchester · Sheffield · Westminster · Virginia · United States of America · Salford · Horticultural society

ADDING just a few plants to a bare front gar­den can lower stress lev­els as much as two months of mind­ful­ness ses­sions and help peo­ple feel hap­pier, re­search sug­gests.

Or­na­men­tal plants such as ju­niper, aza­lea, clema­tis, laven­der, daf­fodil bulbs and petu­nias were in­tro­duced into small bare front yards in de­prived streets in Sal­ford, Greater Manch­ester.

The study, by the Royal Hor­ti­cul­tural So­ci­ety and the uni­ver­si­ties of Sh­effield, West­min­ster and Vir­ginia in the US, then mea­sured the stress lev­els of res­i­dents tak­ing part in the scheme.

Some 42 res­i­dents with 38 gar­dens were in­volved in the study, with one group re­ceiv­ing their plants a year later to act as a con­trol group.

Res­i­dents could each re­ceive one tree, one shrub, one climber and enough smaller plants, bulbs and bed­ding plants to fill two con­tain­ers.

The con­tain­ers were “self wa­ter­ing”, but res­i­dents were en­cour­aged to take part in gar­den­ing their plot.

The team mea­sured res­i­dents’ cor­ti­sol – the stress re­sponse hor­mone – and found only 24 per cent of res­i­dents had healthy cor­ti­sol pat­terns be­fore the plants went in, but over the fol­low­ing year this in­creased to 53 per cent.

More than half said the gar­den helped them feel hap­pier while it helped two fifths re­lax. Just over a quar­ter said the plants got them closer to na­ture.

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