The Surgery Garden
Although rewarding, being a GP can be challenging and difficult at times. However, arriving at work and seeing the beautiful old school building and the garden with its riot of colour all year round fills me with joy and never ceases to put a smile on my face. A wonderful start to the day, every day.
Eric Bailey voluntarily created the garden for us a few years ago when he was an octogenarian. Now he has turned 90 he feels it is time for him to handover the maintenance of our garden to someone younger, (so that is practically everyone). His boundless energy is awesome and knowledge about plants is inspirational. It has been a privilege working with him. I will miss wandering around the garden as he tells me his plans and our chats in the practice kitchen over a cup of tea.
There is a huge amount of research into the benefits of gardening and gardens on health and wellbeing, although Eric is all the evidence I need. A group of scientists collated evidence from 22 worldwide studies in the period from 2001 to 2016. The studies compared gardeners with non-gardeners and people before and after they had participated in gardening. The results showed that gardening activities have a significant positive impact on a wide range of health outcomes, such as reducing depression, anxiety, anger, stress and fatigue. Gardening increases physical activity levels with improved vigour and a reduction in body mass index. Quality of life, satisfaction, self-esteem, hope, sociability, sense of community, a healthier diet, improved memory and a reduction in loneliness were other positive outcomes. And there was a reduction in GP consultations! The conclusion: gardening improves physical, psychological, and social health, and can prevent various health issues facing today's society.
Last week I spent some time mowing the lawn, pulling up weeds and dead heading flowers. Tugging on bindweed is very therapeutic. However, equally satisfying was the time I spent chatting to passers-by. The practice would like our garden to benefit the whole community. Herbs, like Rosemary, Thyme and Parsley grow in the borders so please pick some. Pull up a weed if you spot one. Sow some wild flower seeds with the foxgloves or pop a plant into a space. Even feel welcome to mow the lawn.
I am hoping a volunteer head gardener will replace Eric. For a job description please see the evidence above. You will be fit, happy and healthy and live a long, sociable life.
Garden and be well.
With best wishes,
Dr Angela Paddon and the team at the Old School Surgery
From the Archives.
Our Doctor Writes August 2020
Our Doctor Writes May 2020
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Our Doctor Writes March 2017
Our Doctor Writes February 2017