Amberol support project to determine the impact of plants on health and wellbeing

Amberol support project to determine the impact of plants on health and wellbeing

The team at Amberol have long believed that plants and flowers have a significant impact on people’s mood, health and general wellbeing.  However, there is a scarcity of hard scientific data to prove this theory.  So, the company was delighted to be able to support a project developed by a PhD student at the University of Sheffield with the Royal Horticultural Society to research into a possible link between the two. 

The three-year research project carried out by student Lauriane Suyin Chalmin-Pui involved installing Amberol self-watering planters in 38 front gardens in Salford. The gardens were all paved spaces and so the planters provided the opportunity for residents to grow flowers, plants, trees and herbs in their front garden. The planters’ self-watering facility also helped to reduce maintenance demands and to ensure good conditions for plant growth. Amberol supplied some half barrel self-watering planters for free and others at cost price to reduce expenses. 

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Lauriane’s research, which included conducting interviews, distributing questionnaires as well as taking saliva samples to test for cortisol (the stress hormone), enabled her to evaluate the effects of the planting intervention on residents' wellbeing, and stress levels as well as the potential impact on the sense of community. 

The benefits of green spaces

Lauriane explains the reasons behind choosing this particular area to focus on for her PhD saying: “There have been multiple studies focusing on the benefits of green spaces, but very little research has been carried out on the impact of greening front gardens. I aim to give value to the health and socio-cultural benefits of front gardens to residents and the wider community. This is a crucial part of curbing the trend of disappearing front gardens.” 
The full results of Lauriane's project are due to be published in 2020 when they have passed through the scientific peer-review process for publication. She comments: “The greening intervention went according to plan and there were some very interesting responses. I'm excited to share the results when they are ready. “ 

Greening Grey Britain

The RHS Greening Great Britain initiative was launched in 2015 in response to concerns that many of the UK’s green spaces, including private gardens, are being paved over. According to the RHS, over 4.5 million front gardens contain no plants at all, with a quarter of them now totally paved over. 

The RHS has more than 500,000 members. The Greening Great Britain campaign aims to encourage members and the general public to transform local grey areas, including public spaces and private gardens. Suggestions range from planting up a front garden with bee friendly plants to growing edible plants in pots on window ledges. Relevant organisations can also apply for grants for greening initiatives. So far, at least 128 grants have been given to communities to help transform grey areas.

Why Amberol were happy to help

Amberol’s MD Patience Atkinson-Gregory explains why the company was so keen to join the RHS in supporting the project. “Lauriane’s research poses a crucial question about the impact of plants and flowers on us as individuals and as communities,” she comments. “We at Amberol have seen first-hand the positive benefits that green spaces offer, but it’s important to be able to back up supposition with concrete evidence if we are to maintain or even increase investment in our parks, playgrounds and other green spaces. In addition to reducing flood risk and attracting important wildlife such as bees, butterflies and birds, planting extensive green areas has a positive impact on the environment – and could even help combat the effects of climate change.”

For more information about Amberol’s self-watering planters, planterware, litter bins or benches, please call 01773 830 930 or email sales@amberol.co.uk.

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