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This Week’s Guest Blogger is Justine Dixon a professional Nanny who founded Hook Gardening Club and opens her garden through the National Garden Scheme

Gardening can improve your Mental Health

The unseen disabilities can be ignored but throughout life we all can suffer regarding how strong we think we are….

The dark grey gloomy winter days can make us all feel low…. Spring seems so far away so how can we boost out mental health especially at this time of year but throughout the year?

I’ve been gardening all my life and now in my late 40’s it’s such a love and passion of mine I get impatient when the gales and driving rain stop me from pottering in my garden.

A friend told me how she feels ‘When I’m feeling low, getting outdoors into the fresh air and feeling the sun on my skin and the dirt on my hands I feel my troubles slip away. It gives me something positive to focus on and put my energy into and helps me get back to nature. Gardening makes you slow down and appreciate the beauty in things and the magic of nature’

So I’ve been sorting through seed packets, planning to visit NGS open gardens or plant fairs or redesigning a part of the garden this is the time of year for doing such things is the next best thing, but you are not alone. I’ve been keeping myself busy and over the last 18 months I was invited to write a bi-monthly gardening column in a local lifestyle magazine www.howdenshiremagazine.co.uk. It gives me the opportunity to share my gardening knowledge with others. Our meetings run throughout the year except for the summer so on a dark autumn and winter evening our visitors often say how much they look forward to getting out of the house and catching up with friends they only see once and month at our meetings.

I also keep St. Mary’s Church Hook Garden tidy weeding, planting and generally tidy throughout the year from its array of dancing daffodils to the lovely summer dahlias and lavender hedge as walk up the church path…

Every 2 years I open my garden www.rosemarycottagehook.co.uk for the National Garden Scheme – Yorkshire something else that I never though anyone would like to see my garden but they do and although it takes lot of planning it is another thoroughly enjoyable day with almost 300 visitors raising around £1500 for charities.

Have you though of joining a local gardening club? they aren’t as ‘old school’ as you may think and I Founded Hook Gardening Club in East Yorkshire. We are celebrating our 10th Anniversary this year. I was approached from a villager who asked, ‘is there a local gardening club’?  So, I set about investigating what I needed to do to set one up and 10 years on we are ‘growing’ and visitors of all ages and gardening abilities come from a 20 mile radius to our meetings.  I could go on for ever but if you have chance have a look at our website www.hookgardening.club we are very active on social media as well.  I make seasonal homemade preserves from villagers’ surplus fruits and sell them fundraising for club funds….

Oh yes and I work full time too I’ve been a Professional Nanny for 30 years….

And finally…… Life’s always busy but sitting down sometimes and just listening to the birds whether I’m wrapped up in many layers or swinging on my garden hammock on a warm sunny afternoon…  watching a small heard of deer that wander through the field at the end of my garden….I just love where I live ……

Find me on Social media Facebook & Twitter @avidgardener72 – Justine Dixon and Instagram avidgardener163

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