Taking care of the garden counteracts stress and induces relaxation, science says it, too (Hassan et al, Geriatr Gerontol Int, 2018)! For this reason, especially in particularly difficult periods such as the one we are experiencing, surrounding yourself with plants to grow can be truly therapeutic as well as a healthy choice, because as we will see, garden seedlings can be real powerful remedies at hand in addition to guaranteeing herbs and fruits to bring to the table.
With its marvelous intense orange flowers that you can admire the calendula officinalis certainly does not go unnoticed. But calendula, or common marigold, is not only beautiful to admire, it is also very useful and therefore it cannot miss in the garden. In fact, this plant is the basic ingredient of cosmetic and herbal preparations with an anti-inflammatory and healing action, useful in case of wounds, acne, sunburn, itching and irritation (Parente et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2012). In the video blog section, you can find a movie dedicated to the preparation of marigold ointment at home. As for its cultivation, common marigold does not require special care. It loves the sun and the heat, adapts to different types of soil and should be watered a little and often, to avoid stagnant water or too dry soil. To favor new flowers, it is good to cut the faded flower heads.
Lavender, so pleasantly scented, is an excellent choice for your garden. Its smell helps to relax, removes the tensions and anxieties (Koulivand et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2013). Not only that, you can prepare with stems and flowers bunches to put in the closets or between the clothes. In addition to perfuming, it will also help keep moths away (Messegue, my herbarium). But you can dry its flowers and use them to prepare diuretic and calming herbal teas, decoctions for external applications in case of acne or sunburn or to be added to the bath water. As for cultivation, lavender is a rustic plant, it resists heat and cold but should be protected in case of large frosts. It is good if the plant is exposed to the sun, it should be watered only when the soil is dry to avoid stagnation.
Strawberries are so tasty that one leads to another. So why not start your own little production? These fragrant and juicy fruits can be eaten in the morning yogurt or alone as a snack. Strawberries are anti-inflammatory, bring anthocyanins and flavonoids, which are antioxidants, useful to counteract the damage of free radicals. Strawberries are also a source of vitamin C, K and B, and of mineral salts, such as iron, selenium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium (Giampieri et al, Food Funct, 2015 - FDA Database). And how to grow strawberries? You can grow your strawberries on the balcony or in the vegetable garden, in the latter case, however, pay attention to the snails, they are greedy of strawberries! The plant is rustic, it just can't stand excessive sun exposure. So look for an area that can also provide shade for part of the day. As for waterings, these should be regular and not excessive to avoid stagnation.