Students Staff

13 March 2019

Imagine more in our Green Thumbs garden

Filed under: News — ckeitch @ 4.44 pm

Find out more about our Green Thumbs garden, and the positive impact it can have on your mental health, from Héloïse Kroband, the secretary of our allotment society.

Héloïse Kroband

Héloïse Kroband

Imagine a beautiful, secluded garden, sun-kissed and surrounded by a wooden picket fence. Imagine people laughing while trying to work a manual lawn mower, imagine people eating delicious late raspberries under the cold sun of November. Imagine people sitting down and chatting around a picnic table, imagine people harvesting peas and carrots. Imagine planting pear trees and imagine making delicious pear pies in a few years, when the fruits have grown. Imagine building a wooden shelf from start to finish, imagine the reward of knowing you grew all those fruits and vegetables and imagine contributing to the earth.

I know what I am describing sounds like the Garden of Eden, but it does exist, and on campus too! It is the Green Thumbs’ garden. The Green Thumbs is the allotment society on campus. If you are intrigued or curious, do not hesitate to come check us out, or drop us an e-mail, we would love for you to join us.

You might be thinking: “I don’t know the first thing about gardening!” But let me reassure you: most of the time, we don’t either, we just come to have a good time. We are all learning, and there is not one gardening expert in the society. So what if you are the kind of person who kills every plant they get? In 19 years of existence, I have killed many a plant, I even managed to kill a cactus (overwatering is apparently a thing). Whether you are an expert in gardening or a relative beginner, we would love for you to join, and you may even learn a thing or two about how to keep plants alive.

No matter who you are, there are several reasons why you will love the garden. To start with, it is incredibly soothing to garden. I love going there. It is the most peaceful and positive time of my week: being outside, connecting with nature and with people, building things and growing things. It just makes me feel so uplifted. And it’s not just me – all the members of the society can confirm the good side effects of gardening. Better still, it’s not just the members! Several studies show the benefits of gardening for depression, mental health, stress and self-esteem.

Let’s delve into mental health issues for a minute here: sometimes, life at uni can be overwhelming and stressful. And sometimes, life in itself is hard. I can perfectly relate to this. In those moments I stop taking care of myself. I isolate myself and I stew in my own unproductivity and self-hatred. And yes, sometimes, when I feel bad, all I want to do is binge watch How I Met Your Mother for six hours to forget about my crippling anxiety.

In those moments though, I have noticed that forcing myself to get out of the house to go to the garden is a self-care act. It makes me feel better, it makes me feel productive, and it makes me feel like I am in control of my life. Of course, going to the garden is not a magical fix to a problem or a mental health condition, and gardening is not a substitute for counselling . But it does help.

Moreover, socialising with the beautiful people from the society is always enjoyable. The case I want to make here is simple: the members of a gardening society are necessarily chilled and nice. Don’t get me wrong, we are not all the same. We are a very diverse group, but from what I have noticed, everyone is really friendly, really genuine, natural and humble.

In summary, gardening is fun, good for your mental health, instructive, social, and you will even score some free organic vegetables and fruits as a result of doing it. Want to try? We meet every Saturday in the garden at 1pm. If you don’t know where the garden is, drop me an e-mail or message us on Facebook, and we’ll arrange to meet you to show you around. Looking forward to meeting you!

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