Growing advice from social media star Ellen Mary
26th June 2019
Re-live our takeover with social media star Ellen Mary for #worldwellbeingweek
On Tuesday 25th June, vegan gardener, radio show host, TV presenter, and social media whiz Ellen Mary (AKA Ellen Mary Gardening) took over Grow Your Own‘s social media accounts. Ellen shared the reasons why gardening is great for our wellbeing, which weeds are good to have in the garden, why herbs rock, and the importance of taking a moment to stop, appreciate the world around us, and breathe! Ellen’s takeover was all about wellbeing for #worldwellbeingweek which is happening all this week. Read on to re-live or catch-up on Ellen’s beautiful images and advice.
We all know that gardening and growing your own food makes us feel good but do you know why? There are so many reasons but one is that you are much more aware of nature all around you. From the seasonal shifts to the constant checking of weather reports, watching wildlife, enjoying bird song and feeling the earth between your fingers. As a gardener, that connection with the planet is happening all of the time, which is great for your wellbeing. Not forgetting of course taking time out of our busy lives, breathing fresh air, being physically active is so good for you plus you are eating you own fresh, produce. There’s nothing better (and nothing tastes better either)!
One thing us gardeners always talk about is weeds! A weed to me is just something I don’t want growing in a certain place. Did you know that some common weeds are extraordinarily good for wildlife and your own wellbeing? Take Purple Dead Nettle (it doesn’t sting) for example, it’s great for bees and highly nutritious. You can eat it as soon as it’s picked or pop it in smoothies, salads, stews for a high dose of Vitamin C, Fibre and Iron. Plus, the leaves can even be used to stop a cut from bleeding…always handy to have around when pruning roses! Even common Nettle tea is great for you. So even ‘weeds’ on your plot can be great for your wellbeing.
Herbs are a must in any kitchen garden, with so many benefits to health and wellbeing. Herbs have been used medicinally as far back as documents go all around the world. They can be grown on windowsills, in pots or beds and borders. They are particularly good for our wellbeing, not just medicinally but due to the many textures, colours and fragrance - they can really stimulate the senses and make you feel happy. I recently started using Parsley in smoothies, having usually only used it as a garnish. Parsley is full of vitamins, flavonoids and beneficial oils. It helps heart health and even rheumatoid arthritis! Juice it with some cucumber, apple, celery, spinach, ginger and a squeeze of lemon to start the day off with a zing.
We all need to stop and breathe in our busy lives. Growing your own food means you get to spend time outside, nurturing plants and watching them grow. Sometimes you need to nurture yourself as well! A great benefit to gardening is watching wildlife thrive on your plot. It’s beautiful seeing a Robin enjoying the worms after you’ve been digging and, if you are lucky, a butterfly may even take a rest on your hand. When we stop and appreciate not just all of the hard work that’s gone into growing your own food but also how the wildlife have been part of the process, we are ticking the wellbeing box! Take a moment to look around you and see if you can spot a ladybird eating aphids or a bee pollinating your vegetables….and breathe.
Sometimes we just all need to take a moment to relax and Chamomile is one of the best way to help. It’s known to reduce anxiety, settle stomach troubles and even aid sleep. In the kitchen garden, Chamomile flowers don’t just look pretty to you because they are attractive to many insects such as hoverflies plus you can even use Chamomile tea to spray on seedlings which helps to prevent damping-off. It’s natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties can help plants which are prone to fungus and mildew. Even Tomatoes and Potatoes will thank you for using Chamomile as a companion plant as it can help to keep blight away. So enjoy a cup of Chamomile tea at the end of a good day in the garden and relax your mind and body, something we all need to do for our wellbeing.
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