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The recent survey of over 3,000 people looked at how much gardening people did during lockdown in spring 2020, what people planted then and what they will plant now, and how gardening makes people feel. Gardening was a lifesaver in lockdown.
The overwhelming finding was that gardening was a lifesaver in lockdown, with 93% of people agreeing or strongly agreeing with this statement.
"Gardens became sanctuaries for many people during lockdown," said Sarah Squire, Chairman of Squire's Garden Centres.
"We had amazing spring weather, which helped everyone get outside and enjoy their gardens, and with fewer cars on the road and therefore less noise people were better able to notice the joys of nature – birdsong, bumblebees, butterflies, and the glorious colours of spring flowering plants."
More gardening in lockdown
With more time spent at home people have been spending a lot of it in the garden, and Squire's survey found that 77% of people did more gardening during lockdown than they would do normally.
A massive 33% of respondents said that they did over 10 hours of gardening each week during spring 2020. Compare that to Spring 2019 when only 9% of people did more than 10 hours of gardening each week.
What did people plant during lockdown, and what are they planting now?
During lockdown, understandably, everyone was seeking something colourful and uplifting so the most popular varieties were flowering plants such as bedding plants and cottage garden plants. Some 89% of people questioned in Squire's survey said that they planted these. Vegetables were the next most popular choice planted by 59% of respondents, closely followed by herbs (44% planted) and shrubs (42% planted).
When asked what they plan to plant this autumn and winter, bulbs were the clear winner, with 71% of respondents planting them now. Bedding and cottage garden plants are still popular too, with 50% of people planting them, followed by shrubs, vegetables, herbs and fruit.
Other than planting, what did people enjoy doing in their gardens during lockdown?
The top choice was simply relaxing in the garden, enjoyed by 82% of Squire's respondents. A total of 68% of people loved eating outside, and BBQ's were enjoyed by many. 50% of respondents enjoyed spending time with the family in the garden, and 16% said they enjoyed playing with the kids and getting the paddling pool out. Lockdown gave many people (53%) the chance to have a good clear out, and 36% spent time cleaning in their garden. 31% of people enjoyed having the time to improve their lawn, a new patio or deck was installed by 10% of respondents, and 4% added a summerhouse or garden room.
Lockdown has made people more confident gardeners
Spending extra time in the garden during lockdown has made many people feel more confident in their gardening abilities, with 25% of people saying that they now feel a more confident gardener than pre-lockdown.
The majority of people questioned (54%) also said that they will spend more time in garden this autumn than they did last autumn. How does gardening make you feel? Gardening is known as a great way to relax and de-stress. 78% of people questioned said it gave them a sense of achievement, 75% felt calm and relaxed, 66% said gardening makes them feel happy, and 45% feel at one with nature.
Gardening is good for mind, body and soul
"Gardening was undoubtedly a lifesaver for many people during lockdown," said Sarah. "Garden habits have changed, with people gardening more and trying new things, whether that is planting vegetables for the first time, growing new varieties of plants, or getting round to doing jobs in the garden. In an uncertain world gardening makes us feel grounded and in tune with nature – flowers will always bloom in spring and trees will always shed their leaves in autumn. People are craving 'normality' and gardening with the seasons gives us that. It is a great form of exercise too and gets you outside in the fresh air. Gardening gives you space to think and clear your mind. It is so therapeutic to nurture plants and see them grow. I defy anyone not to feel relaxed and let the cares of the day slide away in the garden."
Squire's survey, and many other studies, show that gardening is good for mind, body and soul. And with social prescribing high on the agenda, GP's could soon be prescribing gardening to combat lockdown loneliness and improve mental and physical health.