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Candide Cuttings: Green Space Benefits, Flower Footprints and Warm Winter Wildlife

Published on February 28th 2019
A close up of a flower

Green Spaces Good for the Mind

Spending time in green spaces is linked to reducing children’s chances of developing psychiatric disorders and can increase everyone’s happiness, recent studies reveal.
Scientists from Aarhus University in Denmark found children growing up with the lowest exposure to green space had a 55% higher risk of developing a psychiatric disorder later in life.
The link remained after taking into account other factors such as family history of mental illness, socioeconomic factors, urbanisation and parental age.
The benefits of green spaces were further revealed in another study, as researchers from the University of Alabama examined the subjective well-being of urban park-goers.
Subjects filled in a questionnaire immediately before and after visiting an urban park. A 20.5-minute visit was found to create the most significant improvement in life satisfaction, one of the factors associated with well-being.
Both studies suggest that integrating natural environments into urban development could help improve mental health in the future.

British Flowers Have Lower a Carbon Footprint

British grown flowers have a carbon footprint a tenth of the size of flowers grown in Kenya or Holland, according to research.
For her MSc project at the University of Lancaster, Rebecca Swinn examined the carbon footprint of seven flower varieties available at UK retailers cultivated in Kenya, Holland or Britain.
Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) analyses lifetime carbon impact. LCA is a common technique used to assess the entire environmental impacts of a product throughout its lifetime.
Emissions saved by growing outdoors in Kenya were cancelled out by transport emissions to the UK. The carbon impact from Dutch flowers came mostly from inefficient lighting and heating, as well as transport and automated systems.
The thesis also suggests that a locally grown mixed garden flower bouquet from the UK would have only 5% of the carbon footprint of a Kenyan or Dutch equivalent.

Warmest Winter Day Ever as People Flock to Gardens

A record-breaking temperature of 21.2°C was recorded earlier this week at Kew Gardens, prompting increased visits to gardens across the UK and fears for wildlife.
This week marks the first time that the met office has reported winter temperature of over 20 degrees, a year after lows of -11°C were recorded in Hampshire.
The Royal Horticultural Society reported increased visitor numbers to their gardens across the UK. Hyde Hall in Essex had the highest number of February visitors ever, up 62% from last year, as guests enjoy early daffodils, crocuses and lawn picnics. Wisley similarly saw an increase in visitors, over 10,000 in a single day over half term, up 4000 from last year.
Curator Paul Cook from RHS Harlow Carr, North Yorkshire said: “ The quality and amount of flowers is outstanding – the Hamamelis, snowdrops, crocus and daffodils are all out and blooming strongly.”
“The crocuses are particularly good – sometimes in cold weather they stay closed, so you just get a needle of colour, but in the sunshine they are fully opened.”
However, the weather has sparked concerns for animals such as hedgehogs, reptiles and early breeding birds. A return to cold weather could force slugs and worms to find shelter, creating food shortages.
It could also affect the quality of the gardens. Jonathan Webster, Curator at RHS Garden Rosemoor, worries that a late blast of cold weather could jeopardise blooms of magnolias, camellias and rhododendrons, the showpiece plants of spring.

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