I may be more than a little bit obsessed with gardening and it’s a good thing. This summertime hobby improves both my mental and physical wellbeing.
EFFECTIVE EXERCISE. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (doesn’t everyone check with the CDC before doing anything strenuous?), just one hour of light gardening and yard work burns 330 calories—more than lifting weights for the same amount of time. I’ll take it!
BLOOD PRESSURE. Gardening scored on the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s recommendation list for battling high blood pressure. I’m sure they’re thinking the physical movement aspects of gardening. But for me? Beautiful flowers and well-manicured beds calm my soul and refuel my joy like little else.
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IMMUNE SYSTEM. It’s the sun, I’m sure of it. When I’m in my garden, I’m soaking up vitamin D which helps the body absorb calcium and in turns keeps bones strong and the immune system healthy.
GRATIFICATION. I can see the transformative results of my hard work. So many things that we spend time on have temporary results. A garden is satisfying because it builds on itself—plants and trees get bigger and healthier, and the garden gets more beautiful over time.
STRESS RELIEF. There’s something about the feel of soil between your fingers and the soft scent of sweet peas, freesia, lilacs, and roses to encourage stress to melt away. For me, a beautiful garden helps to put the cares of life into proper perspective.
HAPPINESS BOOSTER. At least one well-respected study actually lays out the positive emotional impact of being around flowers. People smile when they see flowers and researchers have proven the lasting positive effects that flora has on our moods.
With so much good to be had, no matter our situations or available space—let’s get out there and do some gardening!
6 FAVORITE GARDEN TOOLS
1. PRUNING SHEARS. These shears stay in my pocket at all times while in the garden. Ideal for cutting stems and light branches. Fiskar Bypass Pruning Shears are high quality, cut well, and come with a lifetime warranty. About $10.
2. BASIC GLOVES. I tried out so many pairs until I found the gloves that work for me. Atlas Showa Gloves are awesome. Made of cotton with nitrile coating (similar to vinyl) on the palm and fingers, these gloves fit so well and are so flexible I can easily open a can, pick up a small pebble or even take a call while wearing them. These gloves are machine washable, too. Best garden gloves ever. A pack of four pair gloves about $16 or $3.75 per pair.
3. STANDUP WEEDER. By far the best way to weed a garden or lawn—while standing up and with little effort. What’s more this thing makes weeding fun with no chemicals or harsh toxins necessary. Be sure to watch the short video. Fiskars Standup Weeder is worth every penny at About $35.
4. HANDHELD SPREADER. I love this thing to feed, seed, weed (it even spreads stuff that melts ice and snow). It’s easy to handle and holds enough product to cover 2,500 sq. ft. of lawn and garden. The battery operated function is nice as well. I can just flip the switch and walk the area and let it do its thing. Scott’s Wizz Handheld Spreader is compact and doesn’t take up a lot of storage space. About $20.
5. GARDEN TOOL SET. It takes only a few basic hand tools to plant, grow and maintain a beautiful garden. This set will accomplish just about everything necessary. And it’s a really nice set—Fiskars 3-Piece Softouch with cushioned handles and cast aluminum heads that are not prone to rust. About $15.
6. DIGGING GLOVES. Think of a digging claw kind of garden tool on the right hand of a pair of gloves. Get the picture? While this is not a new concept, most of the digging claw-type gloves I’ve checked are useless. They’re just too flimsy or they don’t fit well. If you’re into getting down into the dirt with your hands and want to pull out weeds like crazy and even dig around thorny plants and bushes—Honey Badger Garden Gloves for Digging & Planting are the right choice to do that fast and efficiently. Such a great invention, these gloves! Sizes for men and women. About $20.