Garden and Outdoor: Green and well-being

In today’s 24/7 connected society, public discontent, depression and anxiety are skyrocketing worldwide. The World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts that – by 2030 – anxiety will be the number 1 global health issue – outranking obesity.

Analysts reported that the Global Wellness Economy (wellness tourism and real estate, the spa industry, and workplace wellness) reached $3.7 trillion in 2016, and is expected to grow a further 17% over the next five years.

Generation Y is reportedly the most stressed and anxious to date. According to Ypulse, 81% of 13-34-year-olds are making mental health a priority, and want new ways to balance physical and mental wellness, and clear their heads.

Thanks to celebrities such as the British royals, mental health is no longer a stigma. Prince Harry believes there has been a “dial shift” in prioritising mental wellness, urging young people who constantly check their phones to slow down and process their thoughts, rather than rushing from one thing to the next. In other words, take time to stop and smell the roses!

Wellness is no longer solely about physical health. It goes much deeper, embracing positivity, relaxation, and self-care. A happy mind leads to a happy body. Surrounding oneself with air-purifying plants, finding a quiet place to meditate, or leaning more towards a plant-based diet are all reflections of wellness trends that have become status symbols for people who make health a priority. The new study of neuro-conservation from Dr Wallace J. Nichols – an evolutionary ecologist and research associate at the California Academy of Sciences – says being in nature and around water shifts our brain towards hope and compassion, and away from stress and anger.

With this leading global consumer trend, the theme of the 2018 Garden Trends Report is Nature’s Rx for Mental Wellness.


The stress of being connected 24/7 is resulting in a craving for quiet – for “turning off” the noise. Awareness of the harmful effects of indoor pollution continues to rise, with 52% of people in the U.S. using houseplants to clean the air. As a result, people are creating breathing rooms using plants that clean the air and clear the mind. These rooms enable people to connect with nature, and create a small oasis or “pause-architecture” in our fast paced society.


A new study from the State University of New York at Oswego reaffirms that plants help us breathe easier indoors and support health and well-being. “Buildings, whether new or old, can have high levels of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in them – sometimes so high that you can smell them,” says Vadoud Niri, Ph.D. – leader of the study. Plants can remove up to 80% of common VOCs.


Hanging gardens and flower pot pendants are the next big thing indoors, spotted at IPM Essen by Chris Beytes – editor of Grower Talks & Green Profit. Create a green canopy in your home with palms, ferns, or orchids, rhipsalis philodendrons and other leafy plants, or in your kitchen with herbs.


RainScapes were trending at the NC Green Industry Water Symposium ‘17. Capturing rainwater where it falls and soaking it in recharges local groundwater and saves water. The trend by some utilities companies to pay homeowners to save water is taking root, with some local authorities in the U.S. providing up to $2,500 per garden, to motivate homeowners to recycle rainwater. Ann English of the Maryland DEP says the plant industry needs to understand that plants are key to increasing consumer acceptance and desirability of stormwater features. Tools – such as i-Tree – help cities quantify ecological contributions (ie. Stormwater management) of urban forests, to better direct management and strengthen advocacy efforts on behalf of city trees.


According to Architectural Digest, people want to pack more into their small spaces. Use pops of purple herbs and veggies in ornamental beds. Pop purple in borders and pots with lavender, catmint and rosemary. Substitute ornamental shrubs for compact, thorn-less blueberry and blackberry plants



Eating more plants has created a new consumer: The Flexitarian, with approximately 23 million Americans identify as flexitarian. 30% are eating more plants, and 38% go meatless at least once per week (Mintel). The number of vegetarian products have doubled over the past five years, and yearly meat consumption per person has fallen 15% since 2006.”


Many who are eating less meat are taking control by growing edibles – rich in protein – at home. Clean, sustainably sourced food from one’s own back garden was recently identified as a trend at the Global Wellness Summit. Don’t forget however, that in order to thrive and keep you healthy, plants need a balanced, organic diet of their own.

  1. Edamame
  2. Peas
  3. Quinoa
  4. Broccoli
  5. Corn
  6. Asparagus
  7. Spinach
  8. Kale
  9. Millet
  10. Sunflower Seeds


Catch up on the other posts in our Garden and Outdoor supplement here.