For those of us who have fallen in love with gardening, the numerous benefits it brings to our minds and bodies are beyond dispute. But is it really limited only to our personal well-being or there’s something more to it? Let’s consider the ways gardening closely helps the planet on a larger scale and understand why it’s even more meaningful.
Providing cleaner groundwater
We’re all aware that our gardens wouldn’t survive long without water, but little do we know that environmental gardening is actually in direct connection with providing cleaner groundwater. So how can your affinity to growing plants help the planet? Let’s take a closer look at the logic behind this.
As we’re expanding our civilization, we’re destroying more and more forests. We’re covering up our cities with impervious surfaces and artificial structures such as asphalt, concrete, bricks.
But all of these structures have one major disadvantage: they cannot soak water, so when the rain comes our way, the excess amount of water quickly ends up in the sewer system thus polluting our oceans, seas, and lakes.
By planting a garden, no matter how small it is, we create an alternative to the modern world surfaces, and we put to use the fantastic ability of plant roots to purify and absorb water, making the planet a cleaner place for everyone.
Gardening Reduces Energy Cost
In addition to smartly using our plants as small-scale purifying systems, we can also take advantage of them to reduce energy costs quite significantly. Thinking about the growing demand for energy these days, we can easily conclude that there are two significant fast ways to secure a high electricity bill: trying to keep your home fresh in summer and trying to keep it warm in winter.
Now let’s see how you can make collaboration between you and the plants in your garden so that everyone gets a sweet deal. If you’re trying to escape from the scorching summer heat, you would probably be searching for some shade; the same thing applies to your house as well.
To give your roof a permanent shade in the summertime and to cool the temperature of your home, you can plant a large deciduous tree in your yard. Deciduous trees will provide shade in the summer, but when they drop their leaves in the winter, they will allow the sun rays to reach your rooftop and warm the house.
Except for shielding your roof from the heat, plants can also insulate walls and protect them from extreme weather conditions. Climbing plants, different kinds of vines and espaliers (trees trained into flat, two-dimensional forms which can grow against walls) are the most suitable ones to help you achieve this.
The list of the benefits which this approach involves also expands to reducing noise pollution and ensuring wind protection – hard to think of any disadvantages even if you try to!
Environmental Gardening Effectively Reduces Carbon Footprint
So far we had a look at two of the ways gardening helps the planet to be a better place to live in. Now let’s add one more significant advantage to the big picture. As humans “we leave traces of ourselves wherever we go, on whatever we touch,” as Lewis Thomas once said.
Unfortunately, one of the primary traces we leave to mother nature is an actual poison to her, literally choking our planet. These are the greenhouse gases we produce (mainly carbon dioxide) to sustain our existence. Driving your car to work, heating your house using coal or gas are simple everyday activities that make our footprint heavier and heavier.
The living plants in your garden can and are reducing this devastating impact by taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.
Also growing a garden to produce your food makes the way that vegetables and fruit travel to your plate significantly shorter by excluding all the resources involved in their transportation. Starting your garden is a small step for you, but a giant leap for the health of our planet.
Helps with Wildlife Preservation
Where there are plants, there is life, and there’s no life without our fellow earthlings from the animal kingdom. Not only is environmental gardening reducing water pollution, energy cost & carbon footprint, it’s also creating a safe habitat for some wild animals out there. Now let’s see what we can do on our end to maintain a harmonious shared space both for us and for the wildlife.
The first thing we can focus on is pollination.
We know that pollination is needed for plants to reproduce and to produce tasty fruit and vegetables for us. The best and the most effective pollinators in the insect world are bees, and there are many flowers we can use to attract them to our garden space.
Some great examples are lavender, catmint, salvia, bee balm (monarda), black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) and of course the queen of the flowers: the rose. Roses are not only a great way of luring bees to stop by, but they can also be an excellent source for winter food for all kinds of wild birds.
So how does this work? When the time for putting your roses to bed for winter and the cold weather settles in stop deadheading your roses (removing spent blooms) and leave them to form rose hips. Rose hips are a great source of quality food for wild birds in the harsh conditions of the mid-winter season, providing them with energy and saving them from starvation.
Gardening helps the planet by keeping us healthy
As permanent residents of our planet, we need to be healthy so that we’re capable of creating and sustaining a healthy environment. But what does it mean to be healthy?
We already saw that gardening could easily give us the key to physical health, but it can also play a significant role in our mental health. Taking care of living plants is proven to have a substantial impact on stress levels and to be a real stress reliever.
It restores our connection with nature and motivates us to spend some quality time away from our phones in an internet dominated era. It also reminds us how it does feel to get your hands dirty, to explore textures and dive into flower fragrances.
Gardening teaches us how to be patient, how to be mindful of the moment, how to improve our creativity and last but not least it can be a great reason to connect with your neighbors using the old-fashioned way of face to face communication!
The more we explore the benefits of gardening, the more it becomes apparent that it’s so much more than just a hobby to keep your mind busy. It’s a way of living and understanding the world around you, a way to keep yourself and the planet healthy and it’s also easy on the pocket. There’s not even a single downside to taking up gardening or for loving it long-term if you’re already into it!
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