Gardening used to be the hobby among older adults. The activity is recommended to those in their retirement age because it acts as a low-impact exercise and it creates a reason to go outside during the day when they can get a dose of vitamin D.
However, more recently, more and more young people started doing it. The interest blossomed even among those who live in cities where they do not have immediate access to an empty lot where they can start a garden.
More surprisingly, it is becoming popular among young men, too. Gardening is not exactly a common hobby among young men. Most of the time, it is associated with women even if the business of landscaping is a male-dominated industry and men outnumber women in the farming sector.
A Growing Love for Gardening
Things are changing. In 2012, a poll conducted by The Telegraph revealed that men are more than willing to cede the task of making garden-based decision-making to women. Instead, they want to do their share by taking the responsibility of mowing, pruning, etc.
By 2016, Garden Media Group identified young men in the garden as an emerging new trend. Around the time, gardening centers reported seeing more men expressing interest in plants and buying supplies.
Then, two years ago, another survey found that a common gardener is a young man. The percentage of respondents who are male, between the ages of 18-34%, and into gardening increased to 27% in 2017, a 4% increase from just 23% in 2016.
The Need for Green Spaces
There has been a demand for more green spaces in urban areas, especially during the pandemic. In 2020, reports revealed that landscape companies nationwide are overwhelmed with inquiries and requests from people who want to see their lawns improve. With lockdowns still happening everywhere, having green spaces right at home saves one’s sanity.
This, however, has been happening since before the pandemic among the younger generations. Millennials and members of Generation Z are driving the business for gardening centers up. All over social media, users have been posting about their plants, their new green acquisitions, and their progress when buds start to bloom or bear fruit.
Gardening is a slow activity. It requires repeatedly doing the same tasks over and over again every day for several months. One has to wait before their hard work is rewarded with fresh produce or, sometimes, none at all.
Perhaps, the leisurely pace is what attracts young people to gardening. It is an escape from the world they live in where everything is fast and instant. With online shopping, for example, making a purchase involves a few taps of a button. Everything is delivered straight to one’s door within a few days or, nowadays, it only takes a couple of hours. With gardening, the reward is weeks or months away. Despite your hard work, there is no guarantee that there will be a reward at all. A disease or wild animal can get to your fruit, vegetable, or flower before you can harvest it.
But, in gardening, the journey is a reward in itself. The activity is almost meditative. Studies have proven that tending to your plants every day can reduce levels of stress. The modern age has made even young people prone to pressure and anxiety about school, work, social events, politics, etc.
A study from the American Psychological Association (APA) found that Millennials experience an average stress level of 5.4 over a 10-point scale. The number is higher than the average stress levels of Baby Boomers which is at 4.7/10.
Gardening is peaceful. For an hour, you get to forget everything weighing your mind. You only think about removing weeds from the flower bed and trimming the bushes.
Gardening is a healthy way to manage stress because it has physical and mental health benefits. Those who engage in gardening get added physical activity throughout the week and get a dose of vitamin D, a nutrient that has been linked with a better mood.
Moreover, Millennials like to be outdoors a lot and spend time in nature. Research found that participation in outdoor pursuits among Americans has increased, especially among Millennials. The love for gardening is rooted in the love for the great outdoors.
Gardening has been dismissed as a hobby among older adults, but young people are falling in love with the slow and peaceful activity. It helps them reduce levels of stress and improve their overall well-being. Moreover, it helps them establish a strong connection with nature, especially during the pandemic.