Springingtiger's Blog


Peaceful Nature

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Today, between showers, I was doing some dead heading. I removed the seed pods from my lilies so they may save their strength for next year. I removed the spent heads from my roses, they have given a great display this summer, but there are now few buds left waiting to flower.

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As I pottered about my garden a gentle rain began to fall, but I did not rush for cover. For a while I just wandered about enjoying the scents and quietness, I felt no urgency and neither did my cat as he was content to continue chewing grass. I feel at peace in my garden, indeed in most gardens. There is something very soothing in the atmosphere in the garden. It came as no surprise to me to read in “Amateur Gardening” that studies by Hozelock and by the Norwegian University of Life Sciences have found that patients with depression suffered “significantly reduced” anxiety after gardening. I took a glance at the Social-Care Online website, as one does,  and found there several studies supporting the benefits of gardening for people with mental health issues. I also, when doing a quick literature search on gardening and autism, found the Royal Horticultural Society   promoting gardening in Special Needs Education and downloaded the PDF of the Kingswood College report “Green Spaces” which looked at the benefit of gardens for people with autism. It is clear that gardens are good for us.

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I wonder whether a factor in the rise of cases of autism as well as the rise in certain psychiatric conditions may not be down to our increasing dissociation from the natural world. When I was a child the number of children displaying the symptoms of autism was very much smaller than today, however the frequency of outdoor play was very much higher. Throughout history there have always been instances of mental illness, but their rise to near epidemic proportions seems to have coincided with our migration from the soil into the mills, factories and offices of the towns and cities. What if the only thing wrong with us is the way we live? Perhaps we all need to get back to the land.

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