Grow Flowers and Stay Young

Posted by Lakshmi Gopal on Sat, Mar 19, 2011  
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During the middle of winter this year, like the last one, I bought seeds of flowering plants like calendula, petunia, dahlia, chrysanthemum, pansy, gazania and rose. I sowed them in small pots and arranged them in my lawn, which is my little garden. Near about the end of winter, in early spring, the new plants burst into a riot of colours with blooms of every imaginable variety.

It gives me immense pleasure to clear my garden of dry leaves, weeds, to turn up the soil, to water the plants and trim dry leaves and buds. I have a dwarf conifer in the middle of my patch, flanked by 2 medium-sized bottlebrush plants. My potted flowers grow in a frequently changing arrangement in the lawn, as I put the fully blossoming ones on display in the front and the ones with small buds, lined up behind, ready for their turn at the flower parade.

My love and care for my plants have evoked much concern from my neighbours who almost feel sorry for me. Some even think I’m quirky to do all the gardening myself, when a gardener can well suit the purpose. I do have a gardener who comes twice a week, but I love being a hands-on mom to my plants. I love being with my plants and watching the butterflies flitting in and out of the bowers. I sit in my lawn surrounded by my beauties early in the morning and actually talk to them a bit. My day, thus begins on a positive note and nothing perturbs me. My plants are my own little babies - in fact I run to my balcony several times during the day to peer down and check if a naughty kid (or adult) is trying to pluck my carefully-tended flowers.

A recent study carried out by researchers at two universities in the US says that a regular spot of gardening gives the young and old alike, more of a "zest for life" than those who don't bother about gardening.

Here, I must say that when one grows plants, when one helps nourish life, the whole process is so phenomenally beautiful, that it instantly gives back to you, what you were giving the object of your attention – life! It simply makes you love, feel loved, gives you serenity, and a sense of beauty. In short, you want to live.

Gardeners, as I have noticed are more organised in their daily routine and optimistic than non-gardeners. The study I was talking about, also said something to this effect. Researchers had analysed more than 300 people for their study, dividing them into gardeners and non-gardeners and had found that 71 per cent of gardeners said they “felt young” compared with 57 per cent of non-gardeners. The gardeners also felt more energetic, got more exercise and were more mentally active.

There were also higher scores for "life satisfaction" among gardeners and they were also more likely to eat the fresh fruit and vegetables that they grew. Higher physical activity resulted in healthier lifestyles and an increased quality of life.

So, do take to a bit of gardening if you have the space around your homes. A container garden is also a great idea to create beauty around you. Do it, for emotional and mental satisfaction, and a life filled with calorie-burning physical activity.

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