Gardening has transformed me in so many ways… it has made me more resilient.

Tasmin Hansmann, Author

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Spending time out in the sun, digging around in dirt may not sound appealing, but 55% of Americans have come to love an activity that involves exactly this.  

Gardening has been increasing in popularity as a hobby and as a way of life since 2020. 

That year, as the entire nation came under the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans avoided public interaction and retired to their homes.

For the first time in their lives, a number of busy and extroverted people had to find quieter, home-based hobbies.

This led to a crop of new gardeners in the U.S. 

In fact, according to one statistic, the pandemic created 18.3 million first-time gardeners, most of whom were millennials. 

What draws so many people to gardening?

Gardening is a complex activity that involves patience, responsibility, and even a measure of humility. In the seeming peace of the outdoors, a gardener attempts to tame a small part of nature and in doing so, often finds their place within nature. 

Hansmann, the author mentioned at the outset of this article referred to this feeling when she described how the new hobby changed her entire outlook on life in general.

She said, “I am more connected with myself and the world around me. I feel rooted. And I feel how interwoven I am with every living being surrounding me.”

Essentially, the act of tending to or cultivating a garden is a lot of work, but the process typically has a calming effect on the gardener.

The physical benefits of gardening

Many physicians agree that gardening can have a positive impact on physical health. 

The activity involves weeding, digging, and raking, all of which are light aerobic exercises that can improve heart and lung health, help prevent obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain cancers.

Other physical benefits that come with the outdoor pastime include increased exposure to Vitamin D as well as a possible decreased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. 

Based on the benefits listed above, there are a lot of reasons to grab a hat, sunscreen, and spend some time in a garden.  

The emotional benefits of gardening

Some doctors say that making a pastime of planting flowers or vegetables can enhance emotional health due to the inhalation of a healthy bacteria called M. vaccae. Interestingly, this bacteria lives in soil and has the ability to increase serotonin levels and reduce anxiety.

Experts also agree that gardening has a way of building self-esteem. After taking on the project of nurturing a seedling until it grows into a plant to be harvested, the gardener is likely to feel a deep sense of accomplishment.      

Healing through gardening

The tragic effects of the pandemic left a lot of Americans feeling as though they’d been uprooted from their lives.

In spite of this painful chapter in our history, there are at least 18.3 million people in the nation who’ve found solace in planting new roots, and they’ve since been reaping the physical and emotional benefits of their newfound love of gardening.

Click here for information on how to start your own herb garden, and here for tips on how to do so safely.