Adding just a few plants to a bare front garden can lower stress levels and help people feel happier, research suggests. Researchers introduced ornamental plants such as juniper, azaleas, clematis, lavender, daffodil bulbs and petunias into small bare front yards in economically deprived streets in Salford, Greater Manchester. One of the gardens after the horticultural intervention © Lauriane Chalmin-Pui/RHS images/PA The study by the Royal Horticultural Society and the universities of Sheffield, Westminster, and Virginia in the US then measured the stress levels of residents taking part in the scheme and asked them how they felt. Some 42 residents with 38 gardens were involved in the study, with one group starting a year later to act as a control group. Residents could each receive one tree, one shrub, one climber and enough smaller plants, bulbs and bedding plants to fill two containers. They were not required to look after the plants, as the containers were “self-watering” with a 22-litre in-built reservoir of water, but they were encouraged to take part in gardening their plot, with help from the RHS advisory team. Read more about gardening: The team measured residents’ cortisol – the key stress response hormone – before and […]

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