Autumn garden tips
- Gardens need you! - Do you fancy getting hands-on and helping in one of the finest gardens in the country? Many gardens welcome volunteers who can help in their gardens, including the National Trust and Royal Horticultural Society who value the work of the thousands of volunteers who join them each year. Some need garden guides who can meet and interact with visitors to answer gardening queries. You’ll make new friends, work in amazing places, and help a great cause too. Approach gardens in your area to offer your services, or contact organisations directly: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/volunteer
- Connect with nature - Experts believe we have an innate need to connect with the natural world – something they call ‘biophilia’ – bringing with it better physical and mental health. People who interact with nature tend to feel better, exercise more, eat better, and connect with others. Being out in a natural environment is relaxing and restorative, helping to lower blood pressure and reduce stress. Gardens and therapeutic landscapes around our homes, schools, hospitals and communities play a valuable role in both our physical and mental health and wellbeing. They connect us with nature, improving our knowledge and understanding of environmental issue, and providing opportunities for outdoor activities that help increase biodiversity in our area.
- Get happy - Some friendly bacteria found in the soil may act on our brain like antidepressants. Research on mice by University College London and Bristol University found that a common soil bacteria acts on brain cells to stimulate production of the ‘happy chemical’ serotonin, altering mood in a similar way to antidepressants. Other studies have shown that patients treated with the friendly bacteria Mycobacterium vaccae experienced less pain and increased vitality and cognitive function. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression, and although the role of this chemical in our body is a complex one perhaps breathing in or ingesting these friendly bacteria bring benefits to our health and wellbeing.