#NationalGardeningWeek: gardening is good for health, society and the odd revolution

Eye candy. Pierre Metivier/Flickr, CC BY

It’s National Gardening Week, the UK’s “biggest celebration of gardening”, according to the Royal Horticultural Society. And judging by the many, many, many images posted on social media, it’s hard to disagree.

There is much merit in celebrating gardening actually.

Spending time in the garden is good for the mind and body

Good for every part of you.

With more than half the planet’s population now living in cities, gardening is the ideal hobby to ensure we have regular contact with nature.

Gardening is an obvious opportunity for physical activity, a lack of which can precipitate all sorts of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. But it’s also good for your mental health, Carly Wood explained. Gardeners generally have greater life satisfaction, enhanced self-esteem and fewer feelings of depression and fatigue than non-gardeners.

Gardens could be good for society too – and for the UK’s housing problems

Green is great. mrlerone/Flickr, CC BY

Garden cities, which came out of the 19th-century movement to create greener places to live and work and surrounded by green expanses of land, could be one way to supply more houses. What’s more they would provide more homely towns for people to live and work – instead of sprawling housing estates people that people need to commute to and from work.

As Susan Parham wrote, people really like garden cities. It’s perhaps no surprise then that the government has put aside more than £300m to build a garden city near Ebbsfleet, Kent.

And they may even have spurred a revolution

No patch of land too small or unappealing. Michael Hardman, CC BY

Guerrilla gardeners in Africa, Europe and the Americas are covertly taking over neglected patches of land in urban areas and cultivating gardens without permission.

For four years, Michael Hardman has been embedded in the guerrilla gardening scene. He documented how students, businessmen, chefs, architects, community workers are coming together to either beautify an area or make it useful via urban agriculture.

So, really there are no excuses not to do some gardening

Who needs soil? Jon Kalish/Flickr, CC BY

Even if you live in a city. Rebecca Whittle has detailed five different ways you can grow your own fresh produce, including an awesome window farm.

But you’d want to be a little careful too

Life and death gardening. Phil Sellens, CC BY

Because some plants are poisonous. But don’t freak out, here are five of them, listed by Carly Stevens.

So go for it, and happy gardening. And tweet us pictures at @ConversationUK too please.