There has been a huge shift in consciousness around gardening, green spaces and outdoor living during the last year. Studies show that 40% of people attribute re-connecting with nature, wildlife and visiting local green spaces as essential to positive mental health and wellbeing.

Whether it’s rediscovering local green spaces, or deepening connection to your own patch of land: getting your hands back in the dirt and bathing in fresh, flower-filled air can help ease stress, boost the immune system, soothe the soul and create essential havens for wildlife.

Gardening has become more important than ever: soil work is soul work.

Gardening for the mind

Dig your hands in the dirt: the health benefits of getting your hands in the soil.

It turns out getting your hands dirty in the garden and digging in soil really does lift the spirits! 

There’s an ancient bacteria that thrives in soil called Mycobacterium vaccae. When we make contact with soil through digging, we stir up microbes in the soil. Inhaling these microbes triggers the release of serotonin in our brains making us feel happier and more relaxed. Serotonin is the ‘happy chemical’, a natural antidepressant that balances mood as well as strengthens the immune system.

Simply being bathed in nature as we garden, wrapped in its myriad of colours, aromas and beauty can soothe the senses, inspire our minds and help us to rest and recharge. 

Gardening for the body

Get grounded: skin to skin with the earth 

Every time our skin touches the earth we become ‘earthed’ or ‘grounded’. This gives our immune systems a boost, helps reduce inflammation in the body, lowers stress and eases away aches and pains. 

Keep a regular earth connection by walking barefoot, digging with bare hands or simply allow yourself to lay down, rest and drift on the soft earth beneath you to access its incredible benefits. 

AMLY founders Lisa Smallpeice and Kerry Moore at Hawthbush Farm

Gardening for the planet 

Gardens can be vital spaces for wildlife to thrive when we strike a healthy balance between the chaos of the wild and a more orderly garden. Planting native and yielding some wild space for nature to take its course helps attract and protect wildlife and creates safe havens for wild creatures of all kinds. 

Growing your own food is not just a sustainable practice, but also incredibly satisfying. There’s nothing quite like the sweet taste of something grown from seed you’ve sown. Growing food or devoting a small patch for healing herbs keeps things organic, brings fresh, living food into the body and reduces waste in the process.

If you connected all the gardens in the U.K., they’d create a larger landmass than the Lake District and Peak District put together. Whether your outdoor space is large or small: planting trees, growing food, composting and saving water can all be part of the larger picture to help our environment in a changing climate by leaving a lighter footprint on the land.

Gardening for the soul 

Soil work is the work of the soul.

At this critical time on the planet, the more attuned we are to nature, the easier it is to consistently devote our minds, bodies and spirits to its protection. 

When we truly feel into the earth in all its aliveness, something stirs and awakens deep inside, reminding us that we are a part of this living earth, we too are wild in nature and our actions can make a difference to bring about balance. 

Whether you’re growing your own, earthing your body or sewing seeds: to care for the earth is to care for yourself. 

“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair”. Khalil Gibran

Picture of AMLY's Garden in Hawthbush-Farm
AMLY walled garden at Hawthbush Farm
In the coming weeks, we will bring you more gardening tips and share the wisdom of two women who have made gardening their passion and life.