If there is anything we Lagosians need in a megacity like ours is a way to reduce stress!
Gardening is an easy and inexpensive way to achieve this. In addition, you learn so much more about your environment by simply being attentive and present in and around plants, trees and other vegetation.
Here are 6 reasons to start gardening.
It is a scientific fact that gardeners have lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol that leads to better sleep, relaxation and an improved general sense of wellbeing.
Just taking the time to really look at marvels of nature like waterfalls, rock formations, vast areas of greenery and vegetation, or just watching a plant grow from seed, to seedling and onwards has a calming effect on the mind and body. There is a reason why human beings especially those in the cities prefer to vacation in areas where nature is more abundant.
Gardening informs us more about the food choices we make.
We all know about fertilisers and how they are meant to feed the soil and the plants growing in it. The most widely seen, especially with the road side horticulturists, is cow manure which is ideal, but what is also very popular is the chemical variety that evidently seems more effective for bountiful crop and plant yields. However the side effects of the chemical fertilisers can not only effect us the consumers but also cause negative long term effects to the land and the the animals that feed of it.
We at LGC are Organic food advocates. We prefer to have control over the things added to all we eat. To that end we support the use of organic methods of gardening and farming. Visit the Nigerian Organic Agricultural network (NOAN) for more information.
Did you know that that as a result of worldwide chemical fertiliser usage and/or GMO (genetically modified organism) foods some food and health experts will not eat certain food products?
Think back to Lagos in the early 2000's or even the 90's. What was the weather like then? Was it as hot as is it now? Are there are as many trees or vegetation as there was then? Answer: No.
Over population, extreme urban development and global climate change are considered contributory factors to the extreme changes in our weather.
So what can we do to help? The answer may sound simplistic, but involves a lot of deliberate lifestyle changes on our part which include; waste reduction, excess carbon emission elimination and increase oxygen production (in other words GROW SOMETHING!).
Lets take a look at the Bosco Verticale in Milan, Italy. A pair of award winning residential towers also known as The Vertical Forest. So called because each tower houses trees on each floor to encourage comfortable temperatures throughout the year, produce oxygen and reduce noise pollution.
Gardening gets you out in the early morning sun (Vitamin D - which a lot of us lack)and fresh air. Gardening also involves a varied amount of movements. So you may be focused on taking care of your plants but you are also unconsciously getting a workout.
Gardening teaches P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E.
Growing any kind of plant from seed takes time. Some varieties of plants grow much faster than others but either way it requires patience and care. The thing about gardening is that you cannot rush things. If the conditions are right, a seed will only germinate when it is good and ready no matter what you do.
In Lagos we like to get things done "sharp sharp!" but gardening reminds us that we need to slow down and take things as they come. A calm & patient mind is in a better position to act positively & reasonably than an impatient or chaotic one.
Gardening makes our lives have meaning.
Having that direct connection to the land gives us the opportunity to focus on the wonders and the gifts of the earth. How such brown dirt and filth can produce such beauty and sustenance to our lives and lets us experience feelings of gratitude, awe and lavishness.