Has COVID got you digging around your drawers for your high school art supplies, reaching for the sewing machine, trawling the supermarket for interesting ingredients, learning a new language or growing a sourdough starter? You wouldn’t be alone – with extra time on our hands and at-times limited options on where (or how often) we can leave the home, plenty of Aussies are turning to a fascinating array of hobbies to fill the hours and learn a new skill.
Turns out, hobbies aren’t just a great boredom-buster – they’re also great for your mental health, particularly creative hobbies which are known to boost feelings of wellbeing for days on end, leading to an increased upward spiral of creativity and wellness.
While of course, we think gardening is the perfect hobby to take up during COVID (yep, we’re biased – but here’s the proof!) did you know that the simple act of having plants in your home is proven to boost your creativity, intuition, relaxation and positivity? Sounds like the perfect environment for producing creative masterpieces to us!
View this post on Instagram
I have two more days of work before I go on vacation! I’m in desperate need of a vacay but I also am wishing my work space looked like this! Then maybe I would be more open to working? I’ve been waiting since March for this trip, but we’ve had to postpone it 3 times because of COVID! Anyone else have plans for a vacation soon? I’m all on board for safe vacay plans! 🌿 📷: @saskiatabea
What the research says
It’s been a while now that researchers have recognised that as humans, we have an innate connection with – and love of – all things living and natural. But exactly what kind of effect do plants have on our mental state? In 2017, Greener Spaces Better Places in partnership with RMIT University and the University of Melbourne set out to figure it out, by reviewing half a century’s worth of academic studies on the subject. What we found was fascinating – these studies show that being around plants, whether indoors or outdoors, provides the perfect environment to get our creative juices flowing, as being immersed in greenery:
- leads to a reduction in stress and anxiety levels
- provides us with a sense of curiosity and energy
- increases our concrentration and productivity
- Can make us higher performers.
So, what kind of leafy exposure does the trick, exactly?
View this post on Instagram
New additions to the balcony this week bringing a cute desert vibe. Who else loves the stacked pot look!? . . . . . #plants #balconygarden #desertvibes #plantlife #gardening #houseplants #plantstagram #plantsmakepeoplehappy #plantlove #urbanjungle #greenery #plantstagram #plantsmakepeoplehappy #balcony #garden #balconylife #gardendesign #gardeninspiration #balconydesign #darwinsmallbusiness #buyonline #darwin #palmerston #freedelivery
Creating the perfect plant-scape to match your creativity
In general, the researchers found that these benefits were boosted by being around more plants rather than less, and more diversity (so, lots of different types) of plants. And when they say more diversity, they got really specific – for maximum benefit, it’s important to curate a cohesive plant look, which they call “organised complexity”.
If this idea of “organised complexity” has you scratching your head, do not fear… Greener Spaces Better Places has already done the hard work for you! Since completing the study in 2017, we’ve designed 19 of these “looks” for every possible kind of home, green thumb and personal aesthetic – from hanging plant havens to organised outdoor edibles, to drought-hardy collections and tropical wonderlands. Head to our Looks page here for a heavy dose of plant-scape building inspiration.
Creative pursuits for passionate plant-lovers
Feeling inspired? Good! If you’re feeling the pull to try a new hobby but not sure where to start, there’s heaps of creative outlets out there to perfectly compliment every kind of plant lover. Here’s a few of our favourites.
Art and craft-ers, rejoice! Back in May, we partnered with fellow plant-appreciator, craft-designer and all round creative boss lady Kitiya Palaskas on the ultimate craft project for leaf-lovers. Complete with a step-by-step tutorial video, Kitiya will have you creating a felt-foliaged masterpiece in no time.
DIY builds for small outdoor spaces
If DIY and construction projects are more your thing, you can’t go past building your very own green wall. Perfect for small outdoor spaces (think balconies and terraces), there’s a green wall option for each skill level and greening goal. Check out our tutorials here.
Is there anything more inspiring for the hands AND mind than making a beautiful earthenware pot? Not only is pottery a soothing handicraft, making pots has the added bonus of providing a place for your green friends to live. Here’s some Aussie ceramicists who’s work we’re loving at the moment.
View this post on Instagram
Happy Spring!! 🌿🌺🌼🌸🌹🌷🌻🌿 More of these Labyrinth Budvases coming soon to hold your spring blooms 🌿🌷🌹🌻🌸🌼🌺🌿 #pottery #ceramics #australianceramics #sculpture #melbourneceramics #melbournedesign #handbuilding #cremerging #sculpture #contemporaryceramics #architecturalceramics #ohheygrace #handmade #architecture #contemporaryclay
Australian-native inspired cooking
Australian native ingredients are incredibly healthy and versatile, but cooking with them (as anyone who watched this year’s season of Masterchef can attest to) is not as easy as it might sound. Some of Australia’s top chefs gave Greener Spaces Better Places a run-down on their top tips and tricks for cooking with native ingredients last Summer, read all about it here.
Although you might need a bit of practice cooking with them, the good news is many native edibles are easy-growers in the backyard. Check out our tips for growing Warrigal Greens here, and for cooler climates, the Tasmanian Pepperberry here.
Itching to grow your own perfect home jungle to give your hobbies that creative boost they’ve been craving? Head to your local Greener Spaces Better Places accredited nursery to have a chat with the experts about what they recommend in your region this Spring.