Make the most of the summer garden

If you are lucky enough to have a garden you have everything you need to extend your home outside and enjoy the fresh air and the fruits of your labour. A garden is a great privilege and for many it has been an absolute lifesaver throughout the pandemic. It’s a haven right outside your door and a wonderful opportunity to connect with nature, grow some fresh ingredients and indulge in some rest and respite.

Wildlife and nature

Just as our garden plants might provide us with food sources for the kitchen, our plants and gardens also create safe haven, nesting sites and food for many creatures. From the insects and pollinators that feed from our flowers to the seed eating birds, bug munching amphibians and moth busting bats and more, they are all attracted into our plot to feed, breed, drink and rest. Even if you aren’t an avid nature watcher you can’t help but be enchanted by the nighttime hedgehog antics, the fun and frolics of your feathered friends. Be kind to the wildlife and ditch the pesticides. Add a bowl of fresh water to the garden where creatures can drink. Make a bee drinker from a shallow bowl and fill it with marbles or sea beans and top it up with rainwater, even insects need a drink. Feed the birds and keep an eye on the natural garden balance. Spending time in nature is good for our health.

baby hedgehog drinking water from a shallow bowl

Rest and relax

Take a chair out into the garden or add a cushion to a garden bench to create a space in your favourite spot for rest and relaxation. Take a book outside, or a magazine or your daily paper, or if you must your phone. As long as you can find a way to spend time outdoors in your special place and take five minutes or more out of your busy schedule it will help enhance your mood, slow your heart rate and help you to relax.

Gentle exercise

Gardening can be quite demanding on your joints, especially if you are nursing an injury or illness. Take it gently but use your garden tasks to exercise softly. It might be a spell deadheading – less bending there. Or maybe you can prune and trim a garden shrub. Find something that you can achieve without causing strain and do a little bit each day. If you can’t bend to weed, then choose to hoe gently around your plants. If the brambles have blocked your path, cut them back without straining into sections and rake them into a pile. Do a little bit each day to get yourself moving but stop if you are in pain or feel that you are straining an injury or weakness.

Entertain outdoors

Invite someone round for morning coffee or afternoon tea. It will make you tidy up your seating area. You could plant up a container with colourful annuals or summer bedding to make a visual impact, pick a few flowers for a vase on the table. Add a tablecloth, some cushions and even a lantern to the setting and you’ve styled up a lovely space for an alfresco chat. It’s good to entertain outdoors where the fresh air will wash over you and allow you to enjoy your outdoor space. As autumn approaches you can look back and remember your summer visitors and the memories that you made in your garden. It will build your confidence and maybe next time you might host a book club meeting, or a larger group of friends. If you are struggling with your garden you could even invite them round for a gardening session, offering fresh cake or produce and a cuppa to everyone that comes to help.

table and chairs in small courtyard garden

Make a note of your best summer activities and plan to do them bigger and better next year.

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