A combination of some of the best weather in the UK and pursuit of an activity proven to be good for you encourages many Essex residents to wield their secateurs in the green-fingered pursuit of gardening – one of the most popular pastimes in the country.
Along with the general upkeep of a garden and the pleasure in both doing it and enjoying the fruits of one’s labours, is the interest and satisfaction of tackling a ‘project’. The idea of having a garden totally changed around and added to – perhaps with a thorough landscaping and laying down a patio – is of great interest for many Essex gardeners.
Dodging the rain?
Essex is one of the driest places in the UK. You may think that’s not saying much bearing in mind the perception we have of the country’s weather, but statistically the UK is drier and sunnier than some other countries you’d expect to provide a climate more conducive to spending time outside.
For example, London receives less rainfall than Sydney, New York and Rome. In some years, the rainfall in Essex is below 450mm – less than the average rainfall in Beirut and Jerusalem.
So, there are more sunny and dry days than you might think to get out in the garden and enjoy the benefits.
A Green Investment
Making an effort and investing in a garden is something Essex residents and the country at large are certainly prepared to do. According to a survey commissioned by GardeningExpress.co.uk, people on average are spending a remarkable £30,000 on their gardens during their lifetimes.
About a third of this is spent on plants – sometimes impulse buys made on gardening centre visits or when wandering around the plant stalls at the local fete. No wonder there are so many garden centres in Essex!
Another third is spent on patios and decking – amazingly replaced up to six times during their lifetimes. Six times? Better to get the patio right first time with a good patio and paving stone supplier, such as Essex’s own Milestone Supplies.
Health Benefits of Gardening
A survey undertaken for ‘Gardener’s World’ magazine found that gardening improved 90% of their respondent’s moods. Some 80% of gardeners felt satisfied with their lives compared to just under 70% of non-gardeners.
Gardening came joint second – with hiking – as the country’s favourite pastime. A spokesperson for the University of Essex said that scientific research “clearly shows that engagement with green spaces is good for personal health.”
Many find gardening can be a great tonic in both a solitary and social way. Pottering about absorbed in the activity while getting some physical exercise, sunshine and fresh air can be very therapeutic – some of the benefits of meditating can even be derived from gardening.
Alternatively, it can be very sociable, too. Gardening with a like-minded spouse or partner can be far more rewarding than slumping in front of the television on a spring or summer’s evening, it can be a great way of spending time with the children, and it’s a good way of connecting and nurturing friendships through a common interest.
Creating an interesting space
With television programmes, magazines and the Internet all showing innovative ways to make the most of a garden, there’s a definite trend to think creatively in terms of what can be achieved. Even a tiny garden can be made into a pleasant area with decking, patios, paving and clever use of space.
Take paving: there are so many designs, colours and patterns to choose from that creating a design you like is easier than ever with the help of a good patio and paving company. Creating a bespoke patio can create a natural bridge between your house and your garden that can become a social hub in the summer.
The recent huge success of the first National Flower Show to visit Chelmsford is proof that Essex is becoming the gardening capital of the UK!