With all the rising costs of living and stresses of the world, it’s a good idea to try and find an inexpensive hobby which you can use to relax. Its sometimes hard to make time for yourself and sometime we feel guilty and cannot justify it to ourselves. Lets take a moment to just tell ourselves that it is okay to take time to relax. After all, when you are happier and more relaxed you are usually more productive and feel more abled to face those difficult challenges in life.
This month I want to talk about growing plants and how it can help to create a calming space to relax in. And if like me you can’t stand the idea of having a ‘pointless’ hobby, choosing to grow something can eliminate that feeling, weather it be something edible, something to support the bees and butterflies or growing an air purifying indoor plant. Know that you are doing something useful as well as relaxing.
Lots of people have turned to growing plants for relaxation in the home and garden. You can create a peaceful sanctuary wherever you are. You don’t need to have a green thumb and you don’t have to have any outdoor space to keep a plant, just some natural light and a little water.
There are all sorts of different types of house plant for those that don’t have any outside space. There are varying levels of difficulty to keep but my three favourite easy to keep plants are the snake plant, the spider plant and the peace lily. These are incredibly resilient plants which can tolerate relatively low light and being neglected often.
The peace lily is my absolute favourite. It is pretty, practically indestructible, and if you forget to water it, the leaves will droop but you have a few days to water it and it will spring back to life. The peace lily is a beautiful air purifying plant but keep in mind, it is toxic to animals so if you have fur babies, make sure you keep it in a place they can’t get to it.
The snake plant is drought tolerant and needs little water. It prefers to be in dry soil so water sparingly. It is a striking plant, pleasing to the eye and is also air purifying.
The spider plant, another grass like plant has beautiful long vibrant green leaves, this is another tough cookie, very tolerant of neglect but when kept happy, will produce little baby spider plants which can be potted up to give you more plants.
If you are already green fingered, there is a multitude of house plants which look beautiful, but they do require a bit more love and attention. Some of my favourites are orchids and citrus plants. Here's a link to the RHS for lots more in depth tips and advice on growing indoor plants.
This is where things can get really fun, depending on the climate in your area you can grow pretty much anything you like. And getting out in the sunshine for just a short while each day has several health and wellbeing benefits. Remember to wear a hat and sun cream if you are spending a lot of time outdoors.
If you are looking for something very low maintenance you could look for ornamental grasses or something simple to sow in your grass like daisies or grape hyacinth. These come back year after year with little to no maintenance at all.
Herbs are a brilliant compromise if you’re looking for something easy to grow that are also edible. A fantastic option if you are gardening with young children who may want to explore putting things in theirs mouths. You can grow most herbs indoors so they are great for anyone with any space, however they do mostly require good sunlight so they tend to do better outside. They won’t be suitable if you don’t have much natural light in the home. Some great herbs to start with are basil, bay, rosemary, sage, lavender and thyme. These are fantastic for adding to home cooking and they smell beautiful too so even if you don’t plan on eating them they would be a great addition to your new green garden. Here’s a recipe for Rosemary butter cookies.
If you are after something that gives back, a dwarf fruit tree is a good idea, these can be grown in pots or in the ground, but bear in mind if you go for a pot it will need regular watering and feeding with plant food to help it stay happy and produce healthy fruit. Cherry trees are a lovely addition to the garden with beautiful clusters of pink or white blossom in spring. You can choose ornamental or edible so make sure you know which one you are planting.
Alternatively you could go for something for the bees and butterflies, the aforementioned lavender is a fantastic option to attract the bees, other popular plants for attraction the wildlife are buddleia (also known as the butterfly bush) and primroses. You could also choose any flowering plant as most will attract wildlife to your garden. We have a selection of educational toys and resources to encourage children to take an interest in wildlife such as magnifiers, puzzle books and some lovely puzzles which show the different stages of the life cycle. Be sure to do your research and make sure you are happy to potentially have a large plant in your garden, some of them can get rather big and may need regular pruning.
Trying your luck at growing your own fruit and vegetables
Well this is the most fun in my opinion. Its such an amazing experience to be able to grow your own food no matter how big or small the crop. There's a huge sense of satisfaction knowing the food you're eating was grown by you. My favourite summer experience is watching my children go to the garden every morning to see if there are any strawberries to eat. We never got big crops and often there were only two or three strawberries, but seeing the happiness and excitement on their faces filled me with such an overwhelming sense of achievement. It’s an experience money just cant buy.
Whatever you decide to have a go at growing, remember to have fun with it. Its such a fun thing to do with children, and no matter how old they are its a fantastic way to spend some quality time together. why not let little ones do the watering with our gardening set made from 100% recycled plastic. And whether you go big or small, anything you manage to grow is a fantastic achievement to be proud of.
Rainbow Nation Clothing.
( Photos courtesy of our own gardens )