“As a sufferer of anxiety and depression and a lover of horticulture, the benefits of gardening help me to manage my mental illness, and I’m certainly not the only one,” says Oli Ong from Nicholsons.

“With the unrelenting news, rules, regulations and statistics constantly being fed to us about coronavirus it’s more important than ever to keep on top of looking after our mental health, as well as supporting those around us.”

“For me, gardening takes my mind off the worries and stresses that are constantly circulating in my head”

“Looking after plants gives us a sense of caring for and nurturing another living thing – this is hugely beneficial in taking the focus off ourselves and the ways in which we are suffering.

“Depression and anxiety can be extremely self-absorbing, but nature reminds us how big the universe is and how important other things are outside of ourselves. Making sure that plants are fed, watered, pruned and the garden is beautifully tended helps give us a focus away from our noisy minds.

“Some garden activities can be a great form of stress relief – hacking a diseased or dying shrub to pieces with a saw, pruners and brute force is an excellent way to get any simmering anger out.

“And the transformation of a messy unkempt garden (or even just a border) into a neat and tidy space is incredibly satisfying and gives us a great sense of achievement,” he says.

“Having the responsibility of keeping it looking that way also gives us a vitally important ongoing focus. 

“Gardening can be a fantastic escape from what’s going on in the world and from social media too. It gives our minds a break and allows our thoughts to clear. One of the best ways to stop worrying is to concentrate on the here and now and gardening allows our mind to do this – temporarily forgetting about the past and not worrying about the future.

“For me, gardening takes my mind off the worries and stresses that are constantly circulating in my head. It allows me to focus on the task I am doing whilst also being aware of my senses at the same time.

There are lots of scientific reasons why horticulture might help us mentally. Getting out in the garden increases our exposure to daylight levels which promotes the production of serotonin – a hormone that makes us happy, as well as inhibiting the production of melatonin – a hormone that makes us sleepy.”


“Gardening also provides invaluable exercise which reduces cortisol levels (stress hormones) and increases endorphins (happy hormones) and in turn it helps us sleep more deeply and peacefully.

According to the mental health charity, Mind, a quarter of the UK will experience a mental health problem each year, and 1 in 6 people in England alone report experiencing issues such as anxiety and depression in any given week.

So, a bit of gardening can never be a bad thing! It’s good for our mental and physical health, as well as for nature, wildlife and the environment, and (let’s face it) that needs saving as much as we do!”

See our piece on how to help the wildlife in your garden here: https://www.oxinabox.co.uk/make-your-garden-more-wildlife-friendly-add-plants-pollinators-bird-houses-bug-boxes-open-roofs-or-go-all-out-and-dig-a-pond-get-involved/

By Oli Ong from Nicholsons Nurseries

The Nicholsons Plant Centre is unfortunately closed at the moment, in an effort to keep us all safe amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. However, to help you make the most of this time at home, they have set up a ‘Nicholsons Knowledge Community’ on Facebook. This is a space for everyone to share the wisdom and expertise of the experts at Nicholsons while providing gardeners with the opportunity to ask questions and interact.

The team at Nicholsons will be posting regularly in this group, as well onto their website and social media platforms, so make sure to keep an eye out:

Nicholsons Knowledge Community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/440292370090395/

Nicholsons Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Nicholsonsgardendesign/

Nicholsons Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicholsonsofoxfordshire/


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