How to plant a well-being garden for your physical, mental and social health

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There is an ever-growing body of scientific evidence that gardens and gardening are good for our physical, mental and social wellbeing. Having something to nurture brings a sense of unpressured purpose to our lives. And if you choose the right plants and design, you can enhance the wellbeing your garden provides.

A considered, layered approach to planting can block traffic noise; the right trees and shrubs can combat pollution; certain flowers can keep pollen counts low, while still encouraging bees and insects; and scented plants can reduce stress. Here’s how to do it.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) looks great in mixed borders or pots, can be used in many recipes, and is proven to enhance alertness, memory, reduce anxiety, improve mood and aid relaxation.

Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) Be sure it doesn’t take over, so place in pots (in sunny spots). Peppermint will enhance attention, alertness and memory as well as reduce stress.

Lavender (Lavandula) A therapeutic garden classic, fantastic for improving concentration, reducing stress and anxiety, increasing relaxation and improving mood. Plant near a back door or seating areas for maximum exposure.

Thyme (Thymus) A great robust ground cover that, if planted along the edge of a path or gaps within paving, will release its beautiful scent when stepped on.


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