Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Benefits of Gardening

Woman wiht a walker gardening

Hello Fellow Readers,  I hope you are all holding up okay and enjoying more time at home and with your families. During these challenging times, I encourage you to find comfort and therapy in the benefits of gardening. Here’s why.

The term ‘social distancing’ seems troubling as we need each other more than ever now. Lord knows we need to come together through this emergency. Maybe calling it ‘physical distancing’ or the ‘six-foot rule’ is better. While we keep our distance physically, be sure to stay connected by phone, FaceTime, or video chats. And be sure to send notes or cards to our elderly who feel especially isolated now.

Woman next to truck wiht flats of new plants for planting

A longstanding client and avid gardener Stephanie ready to plant

Gardening provides many benefits 

Thankfully gardening is still open for business as there are many benefits beyond producing food. Its considered moderate exercise just as bicycling and walking is, but with the added benefit of an upper-body workout. Plus, gardeners are likely to engage in the labor of love forty to fifty minutes longer than those who opt to walk or bike.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are immediate benefits to exercise, including reducing anxiety, depression, and assisting in more restful sleep. It helps children (we grownup kids too :^) to focus better, improving learning, not to mention the many lessons to be learned in the garden. Then there are the long-term benefits of reducing the risk of obesity, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, and certain cancers. Plus, the outcomes of a beautiful garden or bounty of vegetables are rewarding, adding to the joy of being outdoors.

Landscaping and garden centers are essential 

The landscape industry is considered essential to keep our grounds safe and lawns cut, which helps things like controlling ticks that are spreading tick-borne diseases. Garden Centers and Nurseries are deemed necessary as well, operating within the safety measures sketched out by the CDC. The thing is some nurseries are only keeping their wholesale business going to limit the amount of traffic in stores to protect their staff and customers’ safety. We all must shift how we do things, which can feel overwhelming for sure. But we, like plants, are adaptable to change.

A front lawn alternative with a stepstone path colorful perennials and shrubs

Stephanie’s “no-lawn” front yard (I designed for her a while back) maintained with such love.

“Virtual” garden guidance & plant procurement

I’ve always offered on-site consultations— guiding folks on creative landscape enhancements and unique plant suggestions that will thrive in their site conditions. With technology today, I can now do this remotely with pictures sent in advance of a video conference. Or with “virtual tours” using a tablet or smartphone. I can still meet on-site where feasible and keep the six-foot rule or chat by phone while touring a property while the owner stays indoors. Whatever is best. I’ll procure the plants, then meet deliveries and place the new beauties in the garden where you’ll enjoy digging them in. Or have a landscaper assist with the big stuff.

Indeed, digging in the dirt is a great therapy that we can continue to enjoy. And, while a beautiful property increases home values, there’s nothing more important than the value of our health and well-being. Stay well, dear friends. And, remain kind.

Garden Dilemmas? (and now on your favorite Podcast App.)

For more about Stephanie’s gardens click through to- A Steep Woodland Garden

Woman wiht a walker gardening

Enjoying digging in with “Mom J” – my childhood piano teacher, and lifelong friend.

Gardening barefoot?  Have you heard about the benefits of grounding, also called earthing? It’s gardening in your bare feet.  They say earthing generates a powerful and positive shift in our electrical state, restoring natural self-healing, which sure sounds complicated. The bottom line, it feels good to walk shoeless, as evidenced by how great you feel after a day barefoot on the beach.

For a medical abstract on the benefits of grounding check out: Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons


Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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