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Cheer Up! Gardening Can Combat Depression

Can an hour in the garden replace your antidepressant? Physicians across the pond believe so.

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Gardening can stave off depression

Feeling blue? Get out to the garden — the sunshine and exercise can ward off depression, anxiety, and dementia. Image: Lara Ann Frey

Throw away your Prozac and plant some peonies to fight depression, says a British physician who believes that time spent in the garden can be as therapeutic as expensive pharmaceuticals.

Sir Richard Thompson, president of the UK’s Royal College of Physicians, says the country’s new healthcare reforms will allow doctors to embrace the healing powers of digging in dirt, pruning roses, and plucking weeds. Sir Richard is a patron of Thrive, an organization that promotes and provides gardening therapy.

“Drug therapy can be really expensive, but gardening costs little and anyone can do it,” Sir Richard told the Fraser Coast Chronicle. “Gardening burns off calories; makes joints supple, and is fantastic exercise. It is a physical activity that has been shown to be helpful in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and dementia.”

Time to start shoveling!

Just how happy does gardening make you?

lisa-kaplan-gordon Lisa Kaplan Gordon

is an avid gardener, a member of the Fairfax County Master Gardeners Association, and a builder of luxury homes in McLean, Va. She’s been a Homes editor for Gannett News Service and has reviewed home improvement products for AOL. Follow Lisa on Google+.

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