A gift of roses has always been considered the way to a woman’s heart, but growing roses may prove to be a more heart-healthy approach. In the Archives of Internal Medicine, April 2000, researchers reported evidence that 60 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity, such as gardening, lowers heart attack risk by 66 percent. The conclusions were drawn from a study involving 333 heart attack patients, as compared with 503 subjects who had not experienced heart attacks.
When I go into my garden with a spade, and dig a bed, I feel such an exhilaration and health, that I discover I have been defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands. — Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1849
It’s difficult to find a gardener who doesn’t agree with Emerson. The reward, avid gardeners say, of cultivating the earth is nothing short of sublime. So what exactly is going on in the backyard plot that has captivated more than 85 million Americans? Well, in a word, healing.