Think Garden, Think Richard: Outdoors is the place to be…

Use Nature by Melbourn garden designer, Richard Arnott

 In this new series of articles, I look at things to be doing in the garden during these uncertain times and reflect on how important our outside time is to nourish ourselves. Keeping physically and mentally fit should be high on list of priorities. In my life time being outside has never been as important to our health and wellbeing as it is now. Those of us who have been lucky enough to have a garden have found it invaluable during the height of lock down. It does not matter how big or small your garden happens to be it is all about being outside and learning to do more with it.

Looking for inspiration by research what other gardeners and designers have been doing is a classic way of learning new plants and gaining valuable new ideas. If you have always wanted to have naturalised bulb in long grass for example then research what works well. I love to use Narcissus ‘Tete a Tete’ or Narcissus ‘February Gold’ and now is a good time to be ordering bulbs for autumn planting. Tune into the seasons and work with them not against them. It will be bare root planting season at the end of November so why not plan your raspberry canes order or consider the native hedging plants you want for your new native hedge mixture.

Shinrin-Yoku is the Japanese practice of taking in the forest atmosphere. It translates as “Forest Bathing”. It is widely prescribed in Japan for human wellbeing and is a fantastic way to tune into nature. Sessions aim to help participants engage their senses with nature through observation, walking and meditational practices. It is all about slowing down and tuning into the environment. We can all be more mindful when we are outdoors and slow down to appreciate our natural environment. On a smaller scale Horticulture has a vital role to play with our human engagement with the natural world. Why not take a moment to observe more closely your own patch of garden and how the birds and insects behave. In my other roles as a father and Bushcraft Instructor I like to guide my children and customers to tune into nature using sit spots. This involves sitting in nature, typically woodland or garden and immersing your senses. Once you start to learn to tune in it is amazing how much more you will notice.

This will permeate out into other aspects of life too! For maximum effect visiting the same place through the changing seasons in all weathers will bring the best understanding of a place. These are all forms of mindfulness and are very beneficial to our wellbeing. Gardening is another form of mindfulness if we can slow down and tune in a little more rather than rushing from task to task. I always encourage clients to consider seating places in the garden for this very reason and if nothing else to have somewhere to stop, reflect and enjoy a brew!

For more in depth advice or garden design help, please get in touch to arrange a consultation or take a look at the new website.
07710 547493 or 01763 263231