Reviews /

Feel Good Gardening

Authored by Kay Maguire
Illustrated by Sally Soweol Han
Published by Magic Cat Publishing Ltd

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Feel Good Gardening:

Last time out, I reviewed Charles Dowding’s excellent The No-Dig Children’s Gardening Book, and I spoke of how one of the reasons behind recent calls on social media for gardening to play more of a role in primary school education is to do with the health and emotional benefits of nature and the outdoors. Well, Maguire’s Feel Good Gardening deals with just that. Its central premise is that: ‘Getting your hands into soil can help you think more clearly, feel happier and enjoy simple, everyday moments’. There is a strong focus on mindfulness here. Every spread focuses on activities relevant to a particular month of the year, and we watch on as a boy and girl discover feel-good things to do in the garden.

Whether planting potatoes in March, spotting butterflies in July or picking apples in September, the emphasis is on what other sensory experiences can accompany these gardening activities. So, we are encouraged to breathe in the scent of winter flowering plants like daphne in January, watch colourful butterflies and stripy bees flitting among the petals in July or listen out for birds at various times. There are also excellent, simply-illustrated instructions at the start of the book showing what tools you will need, as well as a step-by-step guide on how to sow seeds. I’d recommend this book to any school already offering gardening in some way, or thinking of introducing it, not least because of the handy sowing guide at the back, which advises what can be grown at various points throughout the year.