Gardening and gift giving are good for the soul

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Garden gift basket

Garden gift basket

We are all learning how important it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Many studies have shown that gardening provides the perfect source for both physical and mental health.

Gardening connects us with nature and the rhythm of life, forcing us to slow down and smell the roses, which provides positive psychological benefits. Stress is very detrimental to our bodies, physically and mentally. Gardening has proven to be one of the very best overall stress relievers.

Others studies have shown that horticultural activity can even reduce pain and improve attention. While gardening is a physical activity, it also provides a brain workout through the planning of your garden, learning something new about a plant variety and figuring out the best solution for a problem – all requiring brain power.

You don’t have to have acres of garden to reap the benefits of gardening. A small bed of roses or pots with veggies on the patio can do the trick. Anything to get you outside regularly, stooping, bending, pruning, admiring and breathing some fresh air will work.

Christmas is over, but spring is almost in sight. Why not consider giving gifts this winter season to encourage gardening? Here are a few things that I have found invaluable to my gardening efforts.

A composting pot. They come in all shapes and sizes, and most are decorative enough to sit on the kitchen counter.

A perfect pair of gloves. There are many choices and sizes available. They need to be flexible, tough and made of a material that won’t harden after being soaked in water; a rubbery coating on the fingertips helps under wet conditions. I go through several pairs every year, so more than one pair of the perfect gloves will delight any gardener.

A kneeling pad, for gardeners of all ages.

A garden bag. Select one that is easy to carry around with all your tools in it. Since I was given one of these, I am far less likely to lose my shears or digging fork.

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A gardening apron. Like the bag, the pockets keep all your tools handy and in one spot. You can easily add tools as part of the gift, too.

Tools. If you are buying tools, don’t purchase the least expensive. Casper’s hard clay soils quickly ruin an inexpensive hand tool.

Garden adornments. From a simple statue to a wind activated sculpture, there are more and more choices each year, so finding the right one is easy.

Bird house or feeder. Most gardeners also enjoy attracting wildlife, so a bird feeder or bird house can be the perfect gift idea.

A gift basket. A planter or basket can be filled with seeds, soil, a gift certificate to their favorite greenhouse or garden supply store, books or gloves.

Learning material. There are many good books that are specifically for our area. A subscription to a garden magazine is a gift that will keep giving throughout the year. Some magazines are specific to a gardening interest like organic gardening, vegetable gardening, garden design, etc.

Considering all the benefits, a gift of gardening can provide the perfect gift for any age or any level of expertise.

Happy holidays from Natrona County Master Gardeners – helping you know how to grow.

If you would like further information on any of the Master Gardeners’ articles or have general gardening questions, you may email mgardeners@natronacounty-wy.gov or like Natrona County Master Gardeners on Facebook.