Want to improve your health? Here's a simple solution which can help everyone.
It is now officially recognised that gardens are actually good for you
. It's all about the plants, the air and the physical space occupied by gardens. Coupled with the psychological health benefits that being amongst plants can provide.
Ancient buildings or modern, green space between is really important to health and wellbing.
Have you noticed how people are coming round to the idea that gardens can be made anywhere, not just on the ground? In the last few years there have been many public gardens created above street level. And why not? People now recognise that gardens are good for you and theres a huge benefit to be gained by engaging with plants during a working day.
Visit a park in your lunch break. It brings you many health benefits and makes you feel good.
In London, for example, sky gardens have emerged at many high profile locations. Fenchurch Street
and Canary Wharf Crossrail
are just two. The Vauxhall sky gardens
are a future project and there are about 12 applications for various off the ground gardens in the pipeline. Battersea Power Station has been designed to include several roof gardens and the plans for Google headquarters at Kings Cross might also have a sky garden complete with a roof-top pool and running track!
A London sky garden is a great place to chill out. Some of them are so popular you now have to book a time slot!
Gardens are popular with planners and developers, and this is great for the nation. They are considered to represent a refuge oasis for visitors, workers and locals
. Its all about amenity space which is always beneficial when submitting planning applications. At last, green space has been defined as being important. Its a huge step forward from the old idea that the buildings are the most important aspect of a development and the spaces between them are insignificant.
Green space represents a refuge for people as well as providing biodiversity and water retention benefits too.
Planning guidance now deems that developments should consider the green infrastructure
and biodiversity of a place alongside the buildings. This is particularly important in London where densities of hard landscaping are greater than most places. Planners now like to see green roofs and living walls. They also support a balance of planting in amongst paved areas. Childrens play areas and seating space amongst planting are encouraged.
Here's a lovely place to sit. There will be a good view too. This will make people feel good and will help health and productivity.
The water-holding capabilities of planted areas is an important factor in the design of urban drainage systems. Given equal credence is the biodiversity potential of a plot and the access for the general public so that maximum benefit can be gained by as many people as possible.
It is now recognised that green space adds value to every development, whether a simple system of flats with greenery on their balconies or a full scale office complex with gardens on many different levels.
Who could fail to feel good when you have this growing outside your window?
How can plants help us?
We now know that plants filter toxins from the air. Formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, pesticides, phenols, radon and many more. These are found indoors as well as out, so not only are garden plants excellent for the health, but house plants are too.
House and office plants are extremely beneficial to health.
Plants have oodles of other benefits too
. Just think about it. Everything we eat comes from plants. Animals eat plants and we eat animals. We eat grain, pulses, vegetables and seed. There are more than 7000 plant species that have been used as food by people.
Grow to eat, eat to grow. Plants are very useful things.
Plants also create oxygen and they provide habitats for thousands of different animals and insects. They store carbon and thus help to keep carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Meanwhile, they not only purify water but also help to regulate the earths water.
This happens through transpiration whereby plants remove water from the earth and send it into the atmosphere. Plants are used in medicine too. In fact around a quarter of all prescription drugs come from plants.
There are many different drugs that come directly from plants, And even more that are based on plants.
But thats not all. There are psychological benefits
to be gained from being around plants. Even the colour green is meant to be therapeutic. Walking through a park or tending to plants has been found to help lower blood pressure; improve wellbeing, lower levels of anxiety and improve the mood. Plants help to restore the mind. Children and young adults
with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) have benefitted enormously from green settings, particularly when used in conjunction with traditional medicinal and behavioural treatment.
What child could resist being interested in plants?
Its no coincidence that school children love to get involved with plants. Its an activity that stimulates and inspires them. Particularly those who have a low academic ability.
Theres no getting away from it, plants and gardens have huge potential to nurture and heal all sorts of problems. Nature intended us to love plants, it seems only polite to obey!