Someone on Twitter resurrected a 2009 MSN article that touted many “surprising” benefits to gardening, such as:
It is a spiritual antidote to daily stress of fast-paced living and onslaught of technology, which has led most of us to “attention fatigue” (a polite way of saying we all suffer from a little ADHD, probably due to the constant barrage of stimuli we seek from the internet, our cell phones and televisions.)
The sensory experience of gardening “allows people to connect to this primal state,” says James Jiler, the founder and executive director of Urban GreenWorks
It has been demonstrated that depression and bi-polar disorder symptoms are lessened in sufferers who garden and the reasons may go beyond the therapeutic benefits of being outdoors and taking out our frustrations on weeds or appreciating nature’s beauty.
Digging in the dirt isn’t the same as taking Prozac because humans evolved along with M. vaccae and a host of other friendly bugs, the relative lack of these “old friends” in our current environment has thrown our immune systems out of whack, according to Christopher Lowry, Ph.D., an assistant professor of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado.
It provides a form of physical exercise that is both gentle and productive, making it easier for most people to stick with, versus other forms of exercise.
“It’s not just exercise for exercise itself, which can become tedious,” says Katherine Brown, the executive director of the Southside Community Land Trust in Providence, R.I.
And it may help reduce the risk of dementia, and stave off its devastating effects.
Two separate studies that followed people in their 60s and 70s for up to 16 years found, respectively, that those who gardened regularly had a 36 percent and 47 percent lower risk of dementia than non-gardeners…
And of course, the benefits of eating freshly picked, homegrown produce can lead to better physical health and nutrition.
But none of this should be surprising to those who are Bible students. We know that gardening IS the world’s oldest profession. In the second chapter of Genesis, we see the Lord God took Adam and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. Even after he and Eve were cast from the garden, God commanded Adam to continue gardening, telling him, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
I’ve always loved Kipling’s “The Glory of the Garden” and especially this bit:
Whether your garden consists of a few herbs or plants on a balcony or windowsill, a small plot in a community garden, or you tend a huge old-fashioned farm garden, I hope your efforts bring forth many good things for you this year.