If you’ve unearthed a hidden passion for gardening during the pandemic, you won’t be alone. Indeed, numerous studies have revealed that people of all ages have woken up to the attraction of planting and caring for all things green, and the suggestion is that the trend is here to stay.
According to Reuters, “people around the world are turning to gardening as a soothing, family friendly hobby that also eases concerns over food security …. Fruit and vegetable seed sales are jumping worldwide.”
Certainly, the idea of self-sustainability is appealing, and never more so than when supermarket shelves are looking a little sparse. But even for those of us that just manage to drum up the odd basket of tomatoes and runner beans, the advantages of gardening add up to far more than just something to eat.
For starters, gardening is so good for us physically, enabling us to boost mobility and flexibility, improve heart health and strengthen muscles and joints at the same time as increasing those vital levels of vitamin D.
When it comes to mental health, there’s considerable evidence that gardening is up there as one of life’s ultimate stress busters. While this may be partly due to being in the fresh air, there’s also nothing like getting your hands dirty to help you switch off from everyday anxieties.
Then, of course, learning a new skill or hobby at any age is hugely satisfying and plant or vegetable growing is no different. Once you accept that there will be failures, many beyond your control (not least of all the weather), you’ll learn to rise to the challenge and build on your experiences and mistakes each year.
So how do you progress your new-found passion for gardening to the next stage? If your interest lies more in garden aesthetics than in growing vegetables, then visiting other gardens is an excellent way to get inspiration. You could, of course, join a local gardening group or horticultural society. Alternatively, why not explore different gardening styles at home and overseas?
Start in the comfort of your own home where you can browse at leisure. However, if you’re a keen traveller, incorporating some garden stops into your next holiday is a match made in heaven. We pop a few garden visits into several of our walking tours in Italy, partly as a gentle breather from our more intense hiking, but also because they’re just too good to miss!
We kick off our Abruzzo week with a private tour of the extraordinary Villa d’Este where the concept of water features takes on a whole new meaning! Meanwhile, at the Italian Lakes, one of the most popular days includes a memorable tour of the breathtakingly beautiful lakeside gardens at Isola Bella and Villa Taranto.
In 2022, we’re all very much looking forward to introducing our guests to the garden at La Foce in the gorgeous Val d’Orcia, in central Italy.
Texture, form, symmetry and shade all come into play when designing a garden, but everyone has their own idea as to what constitutes a beautiful garden. Visit, in person or virtually, pretty English cottage gardens, or head to southern Europe where olive and fig trees and dazzling bougainvillea flourish in the full heat of the sun.
Gaze at magnificent rose gardens in Austria and brightly-coloured tulip displays as far as the eye can see at Keukenhof in Holland. Step into Chinese gardens which traditionally comprise the three elements of water, stone and plants, and Japanese gardens where different components blend to create a miniature version of the natural world, with ponds replacing lakes, and large stones representing mountains, amidst traditional maple and cherry trees. Get ready to start exploring!
Have you taken up gardening during the pandemic? Where do you get inspiration for your garden? Do you have a favourite garden either in your own country or overseas?