I don’t usually include gardening and Vogue magazine in the same sentence. But as I was thumbing through the December issue, past the ruinously expensive dresses and eye-popping jewelry, while making note of what I could be doing if I cared to be a woman of means and unlimited chicness, I stumbled upon a feature article by Elizabeth Weil on the science that’s proving nature really does make you happy. It’s an entertaining read, not just because it’s accompanied by lots of photos of leggy supermodel Karlie Kloss wearing even more ruinously expensive outfits and a stunning shot by uber fashion photog Patrick Demarchelier of the Mirrorcube room (literally a mirrored cube suspended from trees) at Sweden’s Treehotel.
Weil writes “Until recently, the restorative value of spending time in nature fell into the amorphous realms of speculation and spirituality, not the solid ground of science. Lately, this has started to change.” She touches upon shinrin-yoku, the Japanese practice of forest bathing, E. O. Wilson’s theory of biophilia, Richard Louv’s idea of nature-deficit disorder and why you feel good when you garden. “[R]esearchers have measured the benefits of what they call horticulture therapy—really just a fancy term for gardening—finding that it improves memory, lifts depression, and breaks tiresome cycles of rumination.”
Once you get knee-deep into gardening, the feel-good part is self-evident. But as winter sets in, this article is a nice reminder of spring’s promise, whether you own a pair of bedazzled wellies or not.