When you’re going through a rough patch (and who isn’t these days?) self-care is one of the most important things you can do.
It’s well-established that being a part of the great outdoors – not just standing on a sidewalk or walking through a shopping center but really being in nature – has a tremendously positive effect on your health and well-being. But if you’re curious about what you can grow in your garden to really boost your mood and take extra special care of your mental and physical health, then you’re in the right place!
Here are some plants, flowers and herbs that are easy to grow, look beautiful in your gardens, and bring something special to make you a little bit happier. Whether it’s reducing stress, improving mood, or banishing the blahs, these garden gems will bring a multi sensory experience to any landscape.
Mint is one of the easiest, most prolific and versatile plants you can grow. As anyone who has tried putting a small pot of it into the ground knows, it can easily take over a chunk of your yard with no help whatsoever from you.
If you’re concerned about containing it, simply grow it in a pot, whether it’s placed within a garden, on a porch or patio, or right outside your front door. You’re going to want to keep this herb close at hand anyway, because once you realize its benefits, you’ll be harvesting it often.
You can do everything with peppermint from drink it as tea for help with indigestion, to bathe in it to relax sore muscles. The aroma of mint is enough to banish headaches, or for an extra boost, you can rub it on your forehead and nose.
The aroma of mint actually releases a small amount of serotonin – the “happy hormone” – in your brain. This hormone is responsible for alleviating stress, reducing depression and anxiety, calming your mind and reducing frustration.
From its uses in skin care to digestion, oral care and more, peppermint might just be the perfect herb.
The distinctive scent of this delicate beauty has long been used to soothe, calm and de-stress. It’s a common essentail oil, but why rely on mere oil when you can have the real thing right in your own yard?
Its color alone is a special addition to your landscape. Purple is not a common naturally occurring color, so its uniqueness brings it readily to your attention. Purple is also a cool color and traditionally associated with peacefulness and serenity.
Lavender is another herb that is used in a variety of ways. Like mint, it can be added to food, drunk as tea, and included in soaps and bath products. It’s been shown to have a sedating effect, and its calming effects can be felt through aroma alone.
If you want to take this plant from garden to dinner table, it pairs nicely with both sweet and savory dishes, including baked goods, syrups and dry rubs. From its color to its fragrance and the health benefits of cooking with it, this plant packs a real mood-boosting punch.
You might already be familiar with the calming, anti-anxiety properties of this delicate daisy-like flower. But do you know how it works? Vapors from the flowers travel to your brain where they deactivate your body’s stress response. You can see why chamomile tea is so popular as a mild sedative before bed.
Chamomile has other benefits, too. It is often a companion plant in vegetable gardens because it helps keep pests away. And you already know how good eating your vegetables is for your health!
At the end of its season, you can keep these dried flowers in sachets and potpourri so you can enjoy the benefits of their lovely aroma for a long time to come.
Geranium is another flower that commonly ends up as an essential oil, but part of the charm – and benefit – of this lovely garden addition is its bright color, which is noticeably absent in bottled form.
Just as the purple of lavender is soothing, the red of geranium is energizing, evoking feelings of warmth and strength. In its pink form, it can evoke feelings of calm and peacefulness. In fact, studies have shown that exposure to large quantities of pink can ease aggression and resentment, and calm the nerves.
Its mild scent is also known to promote peace of mind. And believe it or not, you can brew the leaves into a tea as well, which is often used to reduce anxiety.
It’s been used in treatments for everything from muscle pain to depression, allergies, acne, sinus infections, and more. But beyond its health benefits, geraniums are a cinch to care for, and a delight to look at, two qualities that make them welcome in any garden.
They’re great on a baked potato, but did you know that in the garden they’re topped with adorable purple pompoms? You might be more familiar with the onion-scented stems, but the flowers are edible, too. They make a great addition to a summer salad, omelet, or even a show-stopping potato salad.
And sure, they taste great, but they have health benefits, too. Chives contain nutrients that aid memory retention and help with mood, alleviating symptoms of depression.
Granted, you’d have to eat a lot of chives to get real benefits, but when you’ve got a garden full of them, you can treat yourself to a pile of these tasty plants on your dinner plate any time!
In the meantime, they make charming companions to a variety of other plants, work well as borders, and play quite nicely in floral arrangements.
Lily Of The Valley
The tiny, delicate, bell-shaped flowers of lily of the valley may bring you back to childhood and memories of your very first corsage, your grandmother’s back yard, or the bouquet you held as a flower girl.
And in fact, it’s just these associations that make lily of the valley so powerful as a soothing, happiness-boosting plant.
Even if you don’t have personal experience with this sweet flower, you likely have some association through literature, television or movies, or even photographs. Its iconic and fragrant blooms tend to evoke happy, peaceful memories, which are a potent antidote to depression, anxiety and everyday blues.
It’s a symbol of romance and hope, signifies the return of happiness, and in aromatherapy, the oil is used to alleviate depression and boost mood. Enjoy the sight, scent and emotional connection of these flowers in your garden, and if you’re feeling the sudden motivation, it’s not that difficult to turn the flowers into your own home-grown essentail oil.
We probably don’t have to go far to convince you that roses are one of a garden’s truest beauties. Classic, iconic symbols of love, romance and purity, roses are a visual delight and an olfactory pleasure.
As familiar as they are, they may still hold secrets that will surprise you. For instance, did you know that all roses are edible? They’re high in vitamin C, and are used in everything from tea and jam to soup, salads, sorbet, and candy.
When ingested, rose petals and oils are known to fight depression, reduce stress and alleviate anxiety.
In a study of office environments, researchers found that the sight of roses alone was enough to make workers feel more relaxed. If they have such a profound effect on cubicle life, imagine their power in a natural environment!
The list of beneficial plants goes on… basil, rosemary, sweat pea, chrysanthemum… all with unique physical and emotional advantages. And of course, all offer a beautiful sight, a lovely scent, and a pleasant outdoor experience.
We’ve listed a mere few mood-boosting plants here, but the truth is that nature is such a powerful healing force that it’s hard to think of a plant that doesn’t have some benefit. So whether you have a favorite that makes you happy, or you want to explore adding one or more of these to your landscape, contact us for a consultation so that we can bring the power of the natural world right to your yard.