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Happiness is …

Spending time in the garden

My recollection of a visit to Clayhidon a few years ago instigated this week’s theme. I’d been asked to sell a quaint old cottage in the sleepy little village hiding far from the madding crowd high on the Blackdown Hills. ‘It’s time to move on’, my ageing client regretfully informed me as he greeted me at the gate, ‘Every year this garden’s getting bigger!’.

Looking at the overgrown hedges around the boundary, shrubberies well past their best and rickety outbuildings, I could not fail to agree. ‘I’ve loved this garden dearly’, I recall his rueful tone, ‘but I couldn’t bear to watch it take over’.  

The upside of these situations is that far from being the end of the road, with gardening becoming ever more popular, especially now with a greater prevalence of the pandemic in densely populated areas and a rapidly growing demand for out of town properties with decent sized gardens, it’s the start of a whole new beginning.

Britain’s gardens have rarely been in better order. Confined to their homes during the last 3 months, people have been manicuring their hedges and lavishing attention on their vegetable patches and flower beds like never before. Official statistics show that 45% of Britons are coping with the lockdown by gardening, even more than have taken up cooking, or reading.

In the UK, there are said to be around 27 million people who partake in gardening. This is a huge portion of the 67 million that currently live here – and they’re spending a lot of money, in 2019 the gardening retail market was said to be worth around £5 billion.

There has also been a sharp increase in the number of 16-18 year olds who are looking to enrol on horticulture courses at college. The biggest increase in the purchasing of garden equipment is reported to have occurred in the age bracket between 25 and 34. All this suggests there looks to be a change of attitude towards gardening amongst the younger generation.

Recent findings from the British Journal of Sports Medicine state that gardening is linked to longer life and can provide the perfect replacement for a lack of exercise, avoiding a sedentary lifestyle. Obviously this is a very positive statement for the benefits of gardening. With the current fitness boom, this can only suggest that the popularity of gardening will only increase over the next 5-10 years.

Gardening is said to increase happiness too, with the activity bringing about a sense of peace and well-being. Due to the ever-increasing strain on life, gardening is known to be a great stress reliever, which can only point to gardening being a positive influence. With this rapid surge of popularity in all things garden related, it must be said that the future of British gardening is looking rather rosy!

To finish where I started, with it being ‘Time to move on’ for my elderly client with his ever growing garden, and having acted for so many downsizing clients in my 35 years in the business, I now, as you’ll see on our website, offer a specialist advisory service for retirees aptly called ‘Time2MoveOn’.

By Chris Willey

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