We all need a little more greenery

There’s something immensely therapeutic about growing plants, whether on a balcony, in a garden or in your room. Studies suggest that being around greenery (even indoors) can help boost mood, relieve stress and anxiety and even boost self-esteem. I don’t know a single person that doesn’t need at least one of these things from time to time, so it’s about time we all got more plants in our lives.

With garden centres shutting their doors and more and more people cooped up at home, it could be difficult to get a regular fix of greenery in the day to day. Those living in big cities especially could struggle. But fear not! My experience of building a little forest in my tiny London flat (65 houseplants and counting) has taught me that no space is too small for greenery, and no human too inept. All you need is some well lit spaces and to pay a little attention to the plants every so often for watering.

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If you’re based in the countryside or are lucky enough to have a garden, now is your chance to practise your skills! I am no professional gardener, and yet this past week I have given my partner’s garden a whole makeover, digging out sedges and clearing dead branches, clearing steps from weeds and uprooting brambles. Now is the perfect time to get sorting your garden and planting new items – it’s spring, so everything will start growing voraciously from now. Any mistakes make will be covered up in a matter of weeks – and no one will be around to see them anyway!

So where to get new plants? Here are some recommendations, mostly small businesses in need of a little help in this time. Please remember – happily, many of these businesses have seen a huge surge in demand thanks to COVID19. Because of this, and because most of these are small businesses, there may be small delays in delivery. Remember this and be kind – good things come to those that wait!

Indoor

Lazy Flora

Lazy Flora (which naturally must come first on my list) delivers both indoor and outdoor plants around the UK. They’re offering all my readers £10 off with the code FOODFITNESSFLORA (not an ad, just trying to help as many startups as possible!). You can choose to set up a subscription, or organise one-off deliveries of both indoor and outdoor plants. I love Lazy Flora’s indoor plants because there is so much choice, including if you want specific items such as terrariums, pet-friendly plants or the ultimate ‘un-killable’ plants. I will also be purchasing their new veg-patch plants for the garden! They deliver nationwide.

Patch Plants

Patch has been all over my Instagram feed for the last year, since I got most of my houseplants from here (see photo in the centre of article). They’re not cheap at Patch, but the price reflects the quality. The soil they’re potted in is designed to feed them for a while to come, unlike so many shop-bought plants, and all of my Patch plants have been growing manically for the year I’ve owned them! My favourite is my Monstera (cheese plant) which refuses to die no matter how long I leave it without water. Patch delivers nationwide.

Bloombox club

Bloombox originated with the goal of using plants to support mental health. They also have a blog filled with advice and information on how best to look after your plants, which you can buy individually or as part of a subscription.  Their subscription plants are perfect if you’re not really sure what you want, and come with a perfect sized pot and a care card, so you know exactly how to look after it!

Hampshire Carnivorous plants

Looking for something a little different? Hampshire Carnivorous Plants sells carnivorous plants such as venus fly traps and pitcher plants. I have historically found these incredibly difficult to keep alive, but if you have flies in your house, they’re an excellent solution that looks a lot prettier than fly paper!

Wyld Home

If you don’t have a well lit flat, or have a habit of killing plants as soon as you get them, look no further than Wyld Home. A small business currently being run out of founder Krystyna’s house (they usually have a gorgeous brick and mortar shop, which is shut temporarily for obvious reasons), this is the perfect business to support, while simultaneously sprucing up your living space. They deliver to the UK, some parts of Europe, the US and Canada.

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Some plants on my shelves at home

Outdoor

If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, spending time in it instead of out on the streets is one of the best ways to stay both safe and sane. Most gardens need constant upkeep, which usually is a bit of a nuisance, but right now is an absolute godsend! Find the neglected corners of yours and fill them up with outdoor plants. You can choose to plant either in flower beds or choose potted plants instead, perfect for a patio.

Long Acre Plants

If you have a garden that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, many plants may struggle. However, shade-plant specialist Long Acre supplies plants for exactly these conditions. They’re also incredibly environmentally conscious, avoiding peat compost, using recycled plastic and paper in packaging, and using renewable energy in their nursery and offices.

Real seeds

Starting your own vegetable patch is no mean feat, but if there was any time perfect for starting, it’s now! This startup sells everything from seed, so the season for planting some vegetables may be over, but if you’re looking for a long-term project this could be for you. They also share some very helpful advice on how to save seeds from vegetables you buy from the shops, so you don’t even have to spend any money if you don’t want to! But if you want to support an amazing startup, this is your guy.

Royal Horticultural Society

The RHS is the UK’s leading horticultural charity, working with adults and children alike to make the UK a greener place. They sell a variety of plants, from vegetables to flowers to entire trees. Whatever you’re looking for, they’ll likely have it.

Garden Store

Another huge gardening store from which you can source anything you need for your gardening, from vegetable seeds, to flowers, to garden furniture.  The garden store delivers to mainland UK in 3-5 working days, and provides free delivery for orders over £50. If you want to get all your garden stuff from one place, you’ll likely be able to source everything from here.

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Stunning 3L Chrysanthemums, perfect for Autumn colour.

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Gardening Express

Gardening Express was started by a teenager, who, in the 1990s, saw the potential for mail order plants. Fast forward two decades, he could not have been more right. As with all plant stores, Gardening Express has been seeing a huge rise in demand, but still aim to send out all deliveries within 10-15 days.

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I hope this helps your need for green – I will be buying some little vegetables to build a new vegetable patch in a small but sunny part of the garden. It’s one of the most therapeutic and rewarding activities I can think of right now, so perfect if you feel like you’re drifting a little bit. Don’t forget – you can take cuttings from all your plants (some easier than others) to grow new ones, no need to spend money!

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Some plants soaking up the evening light in my flat

 

Chloe

This post was written by Chloe’s a letter to her depression. So often we focus solely on the negative aspects of mental health and whilst there are so many, it’s often nice to remember what it’s taught us. This is why I’ve shared this post as part of my #MentallyWealthy series, as it really embodies the reason for the series. You can find Chloe on Instagram
 

In honour of mental health awareness week, I wanted to write this post to show how I look at mental health from a different view.

I experienced it to varying degrees for a number of years so it’s taken me a while to get to this point but I want people to know that being diagnosed and being given those labels like depression and anxiety by a doctor don’t have to be the end. They can help explain the situation but they should never define you.

Rather than explaining all the hardships and suffering associated from having a mental illness, I now reflect on it and say thank you for all the challenges that it brought me and all that it’s taught me. So here’s my letter to my mental illness, which I’m proud to say is now a memory of the past.

Dear depression,

Thank you for everything, for it has lead me here today.

Thank you for all the days you made it hard to leave the house because every time I did, it proved to me I could overcome fear and prove something wrong. Every day I turned up to school or work, taught me a little more that no matter what, I can always show up.

Thank you for all the times you made me doubt my worth because it has made me realise it, build it and know that I am just as worthy as anyone else.

Thank you for all the times you made me cry through sadness, doubt and guilt because you took all those tears away and got all the sore, red, puffy eyes out the way and left me with fresh, if slightly baggy, morning eyes now and just tears of happiness.

Thank you for all the sleepless nights because now I take comfort and am grateful for all the nights I fall asleep easily and rest peacefully until the morning, even if I do have to get up for a wee…

Thank you for all the times you shamed my body and looked at it with disgust and hatred because you did that when it was different shapes and taught me that I have to love and embrace it all through the journey of it changing. I know now to focus on what I love and look to improve, rather than just crying and bring my reflection.

Thank for the times you teamed up with anxiety to make me nervous in social situations, making my heart race and encouraging me to hide because every time I stayed out, I won a little more and now I feel grateful to be excited to go out and even encourage social occasions.

Thank you for all the challenges you gave me because every one made me a little stronger and made other challenges in this life come a little easier.

Thank you for making me conform to other people’s ideals because now I feel so free to finally be able to be myself rather than being a chameleon to every situation, just wanting to blend in.

Thank you for teaching me that a doctors diagnosis doesn’t have to be forever, and I don’t have to wear or be defined by any label.

Thank you for sticking around for so long because you taught me never to give up and good things really to take time; that there is no quick fix to solve a big problem and with dedication and love I can do great things.

Thank you for all the problems you posed me with, because it gave me perspective and made a lot of things seem so small.

Thank you for the times you broke me right down to rock bottom. From there you left me lying on my back, so the only way I could look was up and realise that was the only direction for me to head in.

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So thank you for all you gave me, because it got me where I am today!

I love this post, so thank you so much to Chloe for sending it in!

If you’d like to get in touch to write for this series please email florabeverley@gmail.com. Please hashtag #MentallyWealthy in any Instagram/twitter posts and spread the word!