There is something very good for the soul about gardening. It’s also proven to be good not just for mental health, but physical health; there are studies upon studies on this topic dating back decades, but this 2017 meta-analyses (Sogi, Gaston, Yamaura) looks at a broad spectrum of available works and offers a comprehensive overview. Here’s the epic pull quote:
“Indeed, the positive association with gardening was observed for a wide range of health outcomes, such as reductions in depression and anxiety symptoms, stress, and mood disturbance…as well as increases in quality of life, sense of community, physical activity levels, and cognitive function.”
Do you know what else has been studied and studied again for its myriad health and wellness benefits? Our old friend coffee, wondrous juice of the drupe. That’s why it was delightful, in an otherwise very difficult and stressful news week, to read this story in the pages of Southern Living, promoting coffee’s happy benefits to garden soil, specifically as it relates to planting hydrangeas. Because coffee pervades just about every other nook and cranny of my life, why shouldn’t there be a home for it among the raised beds?
Now—before you go dusting coffee grounds over all your flower pots—Southern Living’s story is focused on shades of blue (it’s all about the French hydrangeas and the lace caps). Additional coffee grounds work to affect the color of the flowers by changing the pH composition of the soil. Soil, it turns out, affects whether a French hydrangea will be blue, pink, or white; the higher the acidity of the soil the bluer the blooms, the more alkaline soil creates pink flowers. The coffee lowers the pH, increasing the acidity, leading to more bright blue flowers. (And I’m sure the extra nitrogen the coffee adds to the soil can’t hurt.)
Per Southern Living, to get the most out of your blooms, amend the soil with used coffee ground two to three times a year beginning in November. Over time, during the hydrangeas blooming season, the flowers will become bolder and brighter blues.
After writing about coffee news for all these years now, I can finally, unequivocally and with every atom of my being tell you, my dear reader, to go garden. It feels good to get that off my chest. And take your coffee. The result will be much more colorful.