British Columbia

Stave off seasonal stress with gardening

The winter solstice is here and as the hours of daylight begin to slowly creep back to us, master gardener Brian Minter says that turning to gardening can help maintain mental and physical health during some of the darkest days of the year.

Gardening is good for your mental health and can help with seasonal stress

Master gardener Brian Minter recommends bringing tender plants indoors for the winter, and waiting until spring before repotting. (Getty Images)

The winter solstice is behind us and as daylight hours slowly increase, master gardener Brian Minter says gardening can help maintain mental and physical health during some of the darkest days of the year.

Having plants around the house to care for can help raise levels of well-being and promote mindfulness, Minter told B.C. Almanac guest host Dan Burritt. Plants can also help our physical health.

Studies by world health scientists have emphasized the health benefits of green space and time spent surrounded by nature, he said.

Forest bathing

Minter describes how Japanese researchers found even a few hours spent in a forest can help lower blood pressure and boost the immune system.

Ancient Shinto and Buddhist practices called Shinrin-yoku, meaning "taking in the forest atmosphere" or "forest bathing," are now considered a cornerstone of preventative health initiatives after the Japanese government poured $4-million US into research on the benefits of forest bathing.

He also noted Britain adopted this green space philosophy, and as a result has saved money on health costs.

"Green space is becoming a big thing," he said. "Fortunately Vancouver is one of the world's leading green cities… In doing so it helps with socialization, a level of calmness, people just change dramatically," Minter said.

To hear the full interview on B.C. Almanac listen to media below:


With files from B.C. Almanac

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