Following the Edible Garden Trails
Snip Snip! Winter Pruning

Gardens That Look After You

Healing gardensWhile we are constantly searching for ways to look after our gardens, the gift of gardens is that they are always quietly looking after us. We don’t even need to own a garden to benefit as Clara Rosa, Medical Scientist and President of Permaculture Central Coast shares, “I think gardens are incredibly healing and good for our health and there are a huge number of scientific studies into the area to back this up. Even Florence Nightingale mentioned in her nursing journals, the healing power of gardens and all over the world people have noticed that gardens, nature, and scenery have all these healing benefits.”
There are many studies that have proved you don’t even have to get into the garden to experience positive benefits including an improvement of mood and mental health. A Japanese experiment in 2019, (Physiological Benefits of Viewing Nature: A Systematic Review of Indoor Experiments. Hyunju Jo, Chorong Song,Yoshifumi Miyazaki), measured the physical changes in people with monitoring equipment including brain wave scanners. The participants were show scenes of a beautiful garden and then scenes of concrete walls. Clara said, “They saw changes in brain waves, reduction in pulse and blood pressure as well as a release of muscle tension.”
Have you ever noticed that dentist surgeries are often filled with artwork featuring nature and that many place television screens with nature programs on them for you to watch while you are in the chair?  Clara added, “This is because viewing nature has an analgesic effect upon us, which means you can actually use natural scenery as a pain killer.”

Living with Plants
Take it a step further and live with plants. You will see these benefits to your health increase even more. In 2010 Japanese researchers Sawada and Oyabu set out to measure the stress levels in people working in offices with and without plants. To do this, they tracked the levels of cortisol in the blood and amylase in the saliva of participants as these are both indicators of stress levels. They found that those working in offices with plants recorded significantly lower stress levels. Other studies have found that patients recover faster after surgery and feel less pain when sharing their recovery rooms with plants. Getting people outside if they are experiencing a panic attack or a frightening or stressful experience will enable them to get some fresh air but if there are plants around, it’s been shown to quickly calm them.

Gardening for Health
You don’t need to start big at all, even tending a few potted plants will bring you joy, health and increased happiness but if you can get your hands dirty? Then there are even more healing outcomes in store for you Clara noted, “There are microorganisms in the soil that act as an anti-depressant. They increase you serotonin levels and improve your immunity. Not to mention, when we are outside, we are going to improve our levels of Vitamin D thanks to the sunshine, and we are also going to better regulate our melatonin levels which is going to result in a better night’s sleep. Sleep is a really important part of your health.”
If you have no space for gardens or you would like company, community gardens, clubs and groups are there for you. They are a great place to learn, create and to connect with others. Along with various styles, techniques, and opportunities, many have additional programs and events on offer. To find your local Community Garden check out: and the Central Coast Community Garden Network:
To try Permaculture, which is more than just gardening, it’s a sustainable and holistic way of living, Permaculture Central Coast:

Plants for Therapy
While any plant you spend time with is going to make you feel better here are a few that are known for their special qualities.
Better Sleep: Lavender (Lavendula spp.) will help you get to sleep and have a restful sleep. Whether you choose to grow it outside a bedroom widow, have in inside in a sunny spot or use the essential oils from it as a room or pillow spray, lavender will lower your blood pressure and calm a racing heart.
Breathe Easy: Spider Plants ( Chlorophytum comosum) may be reminiscent of 1970’s bathrooms but they are one of nature’s number one air purifiers. They can suck up those nasties like formaldehyde lurking around your place quick smart and they are one of the easiest plants to grow loving filtered light spot inside or out.
First Aid: Aloe (Aloe vera) needs to be in every garden as the gel that is contained within the thick fleshy leaves is an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial powerhouse. Use direct for sunburn and bites by simply rubbing on the thick gel. You can grow Aloe outdoors or indoors if you have bright indirect light.
Happiness Boost: Stephanotis (Stephanotis floribunda) is said to uplift the spirits with its heady perfume and is perhaps why it is a favourite with brides. Don’t stop at just this beautiful plant, there are many fragrant blooms that you might like to try. This flowering vine can be grown indoors or out and will need a trellis and indirect light.
Anxiety Reliever: Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) is used to create a treatment for anxiety in Ayurveda medicine but just having it around will assist calm nerves and reduce stress vias its fragrance. Holy Basil is also a ‘super’ oxygenator emitting oxygen over 20 hours a day. Grow indoors in a sunny spot.

Central Coast- Hunter Region Cymbidium Society 2023 Winter Show 14 – 16 July Home Co. Tuggerah
Visit a beautiful display of all sorts of stunning orchids. Top floor outside of Spotlight. Along with the judged show, there will be orchids for sale, and you can enter a raffle to win a beautiful cymbidium.
More info:
Gardens Hosts for Central Coast Edible Garden Trail 2023

Would you like to be a Garden Host for the 2023 Central Coast Edible Garden Trail on October 21+22? They would love to hear from you! Do you have any friends you would like to put forward as Garden Hosts this year - we're looking for more lovely gardens to join us.
Please send recommendations to: [email protected]
Rachel’s Farm Special Screening, Avoca Theatre, 27th July
Be one of the first to see Rachels Farm at our special Q&A screening with Rachel Ward, Maree Lowes and Cheralyn Darcey. In this triumphant film, Rachel voyages from wilful ignorance about the ecological impacts of conventional agriculture on her own rural property, to embracing a movement to restore the health of Australia’s farmland, food and climate. Tickets from Avoca Theatre:

winter, temperate zones
Start digging in composts mixed with well-rotted mature into beds in preparation for Spring. You can plant the following now: culinary herbs, artichoke suckers, asparagus crowns, beetroot, broad beans, cabbages, carrots, cress, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, onions, parsnip, peas, potatoes, rhubarb crowns, silverbeet, African marigold, delphinium, dianthus, English daisy, gloxinia, gypsophilia, mignonette, spider flower, statice.

Cheralyn is a home & garden author and along with Pete Little, 

hosts ‘Home with The Gardening Gang’
8 - 10am live every Saturday on CoastFM96.3
contact via:

She also writes the weekly 'DOWN IN THE GARDEN' page for the Coast News Newspaper and this originally appeared in The Coast News