Stories

The therapeutic prowess of pots, greens & gardening

I believe the world needs more gardens and more gardeners. Research has shown that spending time outside is good for our bodies and our minds. I’m sure you’ve experienced these benefits: after feeling stressed out or bored indoors, you step outside and your spirits lift. One great way to spend time outdoors is to garden. It has affected us in a lot of ways right from birth to pregnancy to menopause to old age. This article is written to inspire and instill confidence in anyone who would like to know what an exhilarating experience it is to spend time with nature, listening to various bird melodies!

While exploring about the benefits of staying with nature, I happened to connect with two beautiful women – Jagriti Bhatt and Nandini Mehta, founders of the brand – Pots and Greens. They have spent almost 30 years developing designs for urban landscapes, rooftops, kitchen gardens using ancient, eco-friendly methods and inspiring people all across the city to grow and give back to Mother Nature.

Jagriti enjoys teaching and guiding students on Urban Kitchen Gardening and their sustainable benefits. She is a visiting faculty at Gujarat University and believes that the young generation needs to be more sensitive to nature and has also taught students at NID, CEPT, UID and Nirma. Nandini Mehta is a professional Kathak dancer and has been working towards creating nature sensitivity through workshops and training seminars. Both of them startled me with their knowledge of how important it is to spend time with plants, growing vegetables organically and the benefits they provide apart from combating climate change.

Being a sustainable gardening and landscaping firm, their vision is to provide seamless landscape design services to Commercial and Residential clients in the most eco-friendly and organic way. They are a team of a senior landscaping professionals and horticulturists specialising in garden development.

Let me start with a few benefits of gardening that emerged from our conversation.

Practicing Acceptance:

Most of our suffering comes from trying to control things that we can’t. The more we can accept the limits of our control and the unpredictability of life, the more peace of mind, we can find – and gardening is a great way to practice. Acceptance in the garden or elsewhere doesn’t mean you’re giving up, of course. With gardening that means, “Preparing the best environment you can possibly make for your plants,” and allowing nature to take it from there. Your garden (like your life) is in bigger hands than yours.

Moving beyond Perfectionism:

If you’re prone to perfectionism, you’re probably well aware of the costs. Trying to make things perfect can lead to frustration, missed deadlines and opportunities and strained relationships. It can also lead to not even trying to do something, with a mentality of “why bother if it can’t be perfect?”

Developing a Growth Mindset:

The inability to garden perfectly is cause for celebration. Psychologists developed the distinction between “fixed” and “growth” mindsets, and gardening is a great opportunity to develop the latter. With a growth mindset, we assume that we are constantly learning. More mistakes just mean more learning and more growing.

Connecting with others:

Few things boost our well-being like good relationships, and gardening offers ample opportunities to connect with others. Psychologists have noted that gardening is one of the best ways to connect strangers and quickly become friends because we have that gardening thing in common. You experience that quick connection yourself when meeting other gardeners, and there’s so much to talk about- not only the nuts and bolts of gardening but the emotional and spiritual connections with the plants we grow. “it’s a collective effort and we are all better together when we share our experiences.”

Bathing in green:

The Japanese expression “shinrin-yoku” can be translated as forest bathing, which nicely captures the experience of being immersed in green. A growing body of research found all kinds of benefits from being in natural landscapes. These studies have found evidence that being in green, or even being able to lookout on a green landscape, are linked with better recovery from surgery, less anxiety and depression, better stress management, calming hormonal imbalances during pregnancy and menopause. Garden therapy as played a very important role in four stages of our lives.
1) Childhood – When a child plays in mud and grows near plantations, there is a direct connection to mother earth as microbes in soil help to develop their immune system against deadly diseases. Since they are connected to nature, they learn to connect themselves with family, friends and society.

2) Pregnancy – When you are nurturing a child, studies have shown that the actions and activities performed by the mother affect the growth of the child, physically and mentally. Gardening helps her give physical exercise, lowers her blood pressure, provides happiness as her field of vision is surrounded with fruitful results, channelizing her energies in creating and growing in nature. Moving her body regularly boosts her mood and lowers anxiety levels as these moments are varied, they maintain muscle tone and a feel good factor through daily work in her garden. Hence affects her mental health and provides for good thoughts.

3) Menopause – Due to hormonal imbalances, that affect the mental and physical health of a woman in her late 40s, gardening helps them to combat these tantrums and make them healthy. I would describe this as her “zen moment” in her garden. Mindful presence is tied to a long list of positive outcomes, like relationship satisfaction and less emotional reactivity. The garden gives her security of being in a protected place listening to different birds which provide for the healing nature of where we are and what we are doing.

4) Old age- It is often seen that grandparents are either abandoned by their children or left in old-age homes or lose a life partner or reach post-retirement life. Handling emptiness after leading an active life makes it very difficult for them to survive, in a time when they need people around them the most. Gardening provides for a healthy hobby to keep their mind/ body occupied, healthy and fit.

Ready to get your hands dirty?

Head over to Pots and Greens to gather all the information about their services in consultation, design, raising a kitchen garden/regular garden even in apartments using different organic special soil and compost, bio-fungicides and bio-pesticides etc.

Some Q and As that would have crossed your mind while reading this article!

Why do we need a Kitchen Garden following a chemical-free, organic method?
After eating genetically modified food, loaded with chemicals, we are losing on our immune system which forms the main reason for our illness. Vegetables, fruits and herbs play a very important role in human life because of their requirement for a healthy body.

Nowadays, we don’t get good quality vegetables in the market as they are loaded with poisonous fungicides, pesticides and use heavy metal (gutter) water for irrigation. So, growing our vegetables should not be a hobby, but a way of life!

Can we grow vegetables on our terraces and balconies?
Yes, you can! The only thing you need to know is the right soil mix with humus, right selection of plants/seeds according to the climate, season and availability of space and choose the right direction of sunlight (approx. 6-8 hours) to grow vegetables except leafy greens.

Is Kitchen gardening therapeutic?
Yes it is absolutely. It helps us in every stage of life-baby steps, pregnancy, menopause and post –retirement.

Can we grow vegetables in Summer?
Yes we can. Nature has designed itself to help us grow something every season. So, 5 vegetables we can grow are lady finger, all types of melons, cucumbers, ginger, Green tea and Brinjals.

You can get in touch with Pots and Greens via their Insta handle @potsandgreens or by calling Jagriti at +91 98257 44414 and Nandini at +91 99251 10325

9 Comments

  • Reply
    Dr.Munjal Thakar

    Totally felt soaked in Nature! Wonderful work…absolutely therapeutic. Ahmedabad needs to deeply connected with Nature…lockdown is a chance to bring Nature close to ourselves.!!

  • Reply
    Abhimanyu Singh

    Jagriti Bhatt is a wonderful expert on sustainable lifestyles, growing greens, promoting forestry, the gardening hobby in limited space, and troubleshooting any issues that are bound to crop up on this Journey. To live a life closer to nature and the amazing flora and fauna we are blessed with in nature is what we all dream about today, and she has helped me and her other friends turn it into reality for years now. Wishing Jaggu Di all success in her latest avatar 💐🌻

  • Reply
    Mrs Sheetal Savla

    Having to care for plants is a good way to learn to look after and respect other living things and when we are small it helps develop an appreciation of the magic of nature. There’s something satisfying about getting your hand in the soil!

  • Reply
    Chinmaya

    Great curation!! This lock down is the perfect to get your hands dirty in soil. Stay Home Stay Safe and do gardening.

  • Reply
    Arpit Banjara

    Beautiful thoughts. I would love to start implementing her concepts in my garden and try to grow all types of vegetables, I was successful in growing tomatoes, brinjals, spinach, cabbage and cauliflowers at my factory using conventional ways.

  • Reply
    Yash

    Be the change you wish to see in the world. Can’t find a better actualization of the quote. Keep up the good work. All the best.

  • Reply
    Shaishadri Shah

    Omg so much to learn from you dear.
    U have a extra ordinary talent darling.
    Ur a unique personality Jagruti Bhatt ❤️

  • Reply
    Hardi Desai

    Very thoughtful. Loved the way the concept of growth is linked to gardening. We all are part of the nature and gardening is a great way to give back to nature and maintain the balance. Living in Canada, we have a very narrow window of gardening and we use it to our best abilities. We grow variety of vegetables and flowers in the backyard. It is utterly blissful to be involved in the process thoroughly.

  • Reply
    Manisha bambhania

    Jagriti has shown her amazing talent and knowledge of plants trees flowers throughout her childhood and till now. As siblings we all saw my father spent a tremendous amount of time and love towards gardening. The beauty and outcome of his gardening more or less we all started loving nature and developed interest in gardening. I would say my father passed that inheritance to us. This is why even our children are also loving nature. Jagriti the oldest of all siblings made her passion her life or way of living life! She has amazing green thumb and miracles just happen as soon as she touches things either it is plants, kitchen(cooking), or interior decorations. She made her every home a happy place weather it was her one room home in Mumbai or one bedroom apartment in Vadodara or beautiful apartment in Ahmedabad. You enter the home and a pleasant and positive vibes struck you. God bless you dear sis and keep going to motivate people as every little efforts will help healing Mother Nature.

Leave a Reply