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Gardening has health benefits

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A long-term study from researchers in China and United States (Texas, North Carolina) tracked something a bit easier and more fun. They measured something called “leisure time physical activity,” done in varying weekly amounts and compared it to the risks of various forms of death, including cardiovascular disease and cancer.

The study is unusual because it took place over such a long period; the researchers used 11 years of data and nearly 90,000 participants. The data all came from the US National Health Interview Survey, an annual event done by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

That “leisure time physical activity” could include all sorts of stuff that’s more enjoyable than going to the gym, including gardening, dancing and simply going for a walk.

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Compared to a sedentary lifestyle, doing these things for only 10 to 59 minutes a week led to an 18 per cent lower risk of all-cause mortality, basically, less chance of dying during the survey period.

More physical activity even further decreased that risk; 150 to 299 minutes of physical activity each week led to a 31 per cent decrease in all-cause mortality.

Gardening has been previously linked to positive health changes; a big meta-review of previous studies found that gardening is linked to a decrease in depression, anxiety and body mass index, along with increases in quality of life, life satisfaction and a sense of community.

Gardening has also been linked to huge benefits for the elderly, citing a reduction in falls, reduction in stress and even reduced need for medications.

Also, it’s fun, and you get a bunch of vegetables or herbs or flowers from it.

Top Fragrant Houseplants By BH&G Garden Editors Updated May 20, 2019

THESE are the best indoor plants, if you want fragrant flowers. From floral notes to citrus, find a plant in your favourite scent to brighten up your space.

There are many reasons to grow plants indoors, including that they clean the air, soften and infuse our decor with nature and reduce the amount of stress we feel. Rely on houseplants for a stunning array of leaf colours and textures to brighten spirits even on the shortest, dreariest winter days.

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But that’s not all; pick carefully and they also provide fragrant flowers, from rich and flowery to warm and spicy. Read on to discover some of our favourite fragrant indoors plants.

These plants have been favourites of herb and indoor gardeners since Victorian times. With fragrances of fruits, flowers, spices or even chocolate, scented geraniums delight the senses. Brush against the leaves to release their strong aroma.

Their tactile leaves can be fuzzy or smooth, and they come in a wide range of shapes and hues. Most varieties also have small clusters of pale pink or white flowers in summer.

Planting Scented Geraniums
CHOOSE a planting place where you are sure to brush against the leaves from time to time to enjoy their aroma. Add scented geraniums to colourful container plantings or integrate them near walkways in herb gardens or perennial beds.

Scented Geranium Care Must-Knows
Plant scented geraniums in full sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil. These easy-to-grow plants tolerate sandy soil and dry conditions with ease. They languish in wet, clay soil.

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When planting scented geraniums in a container, select a pot that has adequate drainage and choose a high-quality potting soil. Clay pots are an excellent choice, as they allow the soil to dry more thoroughly than plastic pots. Scented geraniums rarely need fertilisation.

Related: Guide to Growing Tropical Plants
Scented geraniums may be grown as annuals or they can be overwintered and enjoyed year after year. There are several ways to successfully overwinter scented geraniums.

Overwinter them as a houseplant by bringing containers indoors in fall before frost and placing plants in a bright, sunny window. Reduce watering plants while they are indoors, allowing the soil around the roots to dry before watering. Or you can overwinter scented geraniums as dormant plants by bringing container-planted specimens indoors before the first frost and storing them in a dark corner of a basement or in a frost-free garage.

Allow the plant to go dormant by not watering during winter. Bring plants outside when the last chance of frost passes in spring.

More Varieties Of Scented Geranium Apricot-Scented Geranium
Pelargonium scabrum is a shrubby plant with hairy lobed leaves that have a sweet, fruity scent. It bears pink to white flowers from early spring to summer and grows 12-24 inches tall and wide.

Credit: Denny Schrock ‘Angel Eyes Light’ Scented Geranium
This selection of Pelargonium is a bushy trailing plant that grows 10 to 15 inches tall and wide. It bears profuse bicolour flowers in shades of pink. The flower colour is deeper pink during cool seasons, fading to lighter pink in summer. Zones 9-11

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Arabian Jasmine
Jasminum sambac is an evergreen vine with fragrant white flowers throughout the year, though they appear heaviest in summer. This is one of the best jasmines to grow indoors. Zones 10-11

‘Barbara Karst’ Bougainvillea
Bougainvillea ‘Barbara Karst’ is an especially popular variety with large clusters of red bracts all summer and autumn and climbs to 40 feet. Zones 9-11 (Credit: Denny Schrock)

‘California Gold’ Bougainvillea
Bougainvillea ‘California Gold’ is one of the best-performing yellow-flowering bougainvillea varieties. It begins blooming at an early age and produces warm yellow bracts on and off through the year. It climbs to 30 feet. Zones 9-10 (Credit: Denny Schrock)

‘Juanita Hattan’ Bougainvillea
Bougainvillea ‘Juanita Hatten’ offers bold fuchsia-pink flowers in summer and green leaves dotted in gold. It climbs to 20 feet. Zones 9-10

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