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Our "Happy Horticulturist" has been keeping up with the latest research studies that connect gardening and horticulture with happiness levels. According to recent findings, spending time in nature and gardening can have a huge, positive impact on mental health and well-being, especially when you get dirty!

The physical activity of gardening can also lead to increased endorphins and reduced stress levels. Plus, the satisfaction of growing and nurturing plants can bring a sense of accomplishment and purpose. As a landscaper, we understand the importance of creating outdoor spaces that promote happiness and tranquility. We can help you design a garden that brings joy and relaxation to your daily life.

In this new blog post, our favorite "happy horticulturist," Shane Wade shares with you his secret to high levels of horticulture happiness and some insight into recent studies that link happiness levels with horticulturist and gardening!


Yes, you read that right: dirt and soil can make you happy!

How is that possible, you may ask?

Well, it turns out that soil is not just a lifeless medium that supports plant growth. It is actually a living ecosystem that contains millions of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, and more.

Some of these microorganisms have been proven to have beneficial effects on our health and well-being, especially when we come in contact with them through gardening activities.

One of these beneficial bacteria is called Mycobacterium vaccae (Mv for short), which is commonly found in many types of soil.

Research over the past decade has revealed that Mv, when taken in through soil contact, causes the activation of neurons in the brain that contain serotonin. And serotonin is a powerful, naturally occurring chemical that controls mood, improves sleep cycles, and diminishes feelings of pain, anxiety, and depression .

Serotonin is often called the happy chemical or the natural anti-depressant because it regulates our emotions and makes us feel good. Lack of serotonin in the brain causes depression and other mental disorders. That's why some people take antidepressant drugs to increase their serotonin levels.

But, according to recent research, gardening can do the same thing without any adverse side effects!

Another reported benefit of soil contact is that it can boost our immune system and protect us from allergies and asthma. A study by researchers at the University of Helsinki compared two groups of children living on opposite sides of the border between Finland and Russia. The Finnish children had a modernized lifestyle, while the Russian children had a traditional lifestyle that involved more exposure to nature and soil. The researchers found that the Russian children had more and more diverse bacteria on their skin than the Finnish children, and they also had lower rates of allergies and asthma .

The researchers concluded that the Finnish children were leading overly sterile lives that negatively impacted the microbiome of their skin. The microbiome is the collection of microorganisms that live on and in our bodies, and it plays a crucial role in our health and immunity. By interacting with soil, we can enrich our microbiome and enhance our natural defenses against diseases.

But wait, there's more!

Soil contact is not the only way that gardening can make us happy.

I have always believed that there's also something about harvesting our own food that triggers a surge of joy in our brains. This joy is reportedly caused by another chemical called dopamine, which is released when we find or obtain something rewarding or pleasurable.

Dopamine is often called the reward chemical or the motivation chemical because it drives us to seek out new experiences and rewards. It also gives us a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when we achieve our goals.

Researchers say they believe that this dopamine response evolved over thousands of years of hunter-gathering, when finding food was essential for survival .

Nowadays, we don't have to hunt or gather our food anymore, but we still have the same dopamine system in our brains. That's why some people get addicted to shopping or gambling, because they stimulate their dopamine receptors with artificial rewards. But gardening can provide us with natural rewards that are healthier and more sustainable.

When we see a ripe fruit or vegetable in our garden, smell its aroma, or pluck it from the plant, we experience a dopamine high that makes us feel happy and fulfilled. We also feel proud of our efforts and grateful for nature's bounty, making gardening a form of therapy that can help us cope with stress, anxiety, and depression.

So there you have it, fellow lawn lovers: gardening can make you happy in more ways than one! Again, recent studies show it can potentially:

  • increase your serotonin levels by exposing you to beneficial soil bacteria;

  • boost your immune system by enriching your skin microbiome;

  • stimulate your dopamine receptors by rewarding you with fresh produce;

  • improve your physical fitness;

  • enhance your creativity;

  • connect you with nature;

  • and, foster social relationships!

If you are already a green thumb guru, or if you're a new lawn lover, we highly encourage you to give gardening "a go" in 2024!

You don't need a lot of space or equipment to start gardening. You can grow herbs in pots on your windowsill, vegetables in containers on your balcony, or flowers in your backyard.

You can also join a community garden or volunteer at a local farm.

Whatever you choose to do, we hope you enjoy the process and reap the many benefits and gifts that gardening gives to promote our happiness and health.

Dirt is good for you, so go get those hands dirty and get happy!




No worries!

The Wade in the Water Landscape & Irrigation Team has got you covered! We are experts at taking the guess work out of gardening, and at creating outdoor garden spaces that are easy to maintain yourself, or by our pros. We are happy to get your garden started for you, or create a new garden oasis you'll love and maintain it for you!

The knowledgeable and experienced Wade in the Water Landscape & Irrigation Team is standing by, and we are geared up to get your garden going and growing properly, safely, and affordably.

We’ll assess the health and structure of your outdoor space, work with you to plan and design the garden you desire, using the right tools and techniques to get started, and help you manage and maintain it.


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Forget your troubles, come on, get GARDENING, and get HAPPY!

Book an appointment with us today to get your garden going, and enjoy the gift of happiness that is sure to bloom within you!


Contact us via text or phone call at 601-401-6944 to schedule your appointment, or book online HERE.


Thank you for choosing Wade in the Water Landscape & Irrigation, your trusted partner for all your landscaping and irrigation needs.


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