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  • Sophie: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Sophie.

  • Neil: And I'm Neil. What did you do at the weekend, Sophie?

  • Sophie: I did a spot of gardening.

  • Neil: So, you are you a keen gardener?

  • Sophie: Yes, I am, Neil. And gardening is the subject of today's show!

  • Now why don't we start with a quiz question?

  • Neil: Good idea.

  • Sophie: What percentage of people in the UK said that gardening makes them happier,

  • according to a survey conducted by the Royal Horticultural Society?

  • Is it ... a) 22% b) 52% Or c) 82%?

  • Neil: Well, I'll guess: b) 52%.

  • Sophie: Well, we'll find out later on if you got it right or not.

  • So, does gardening make you happy, Neil?

  • Neil: Well, I tried to grow some tomatoes once. And to be honest it made me rather anxious.

  • All the leaves curled up... and then dropped off.

  • Sophie: Did you get any tomatoes?

  • Neil: No.

  • Sophie: So you don't have green fingers, then?

  • Why are you looking at your fingers, Neil?

  • I wasn't asking whether you literally have green fingers!

  • Having green fingers means a natural ability for growing plants.

  • It's funny you should say gardening makes you anxious

  • because other people find it calming and relaxing.

  • Neil: Do they? Do you?

  • Sophie: Yes, I do. Being in the fresh air, in all weathers, communing with nature...

  • Neil: Sounds very unpleasant!

  • Sophie: In all weathers means something you do in all types of weather ... rain, snow, sunshine.

  • And communing with nature means feeling close to nature, and being a part of it.

  • Neil: Well, when I tried communing with nature my hands got all scratched

  • I got stung by nasty creepy-crawlies

  • and I got soil up my nose. I didn't enjoy it at all.

  • Sophie: Try wearing protective clothing next time ... and maybe a nose plug too!

  • A creepy-crawly is a small insect, by the way.

  • Neil: So do you like getting your hands dirty, Sophie?

  • Sophie: Yes, I love it. And it turns out there might be a good reason for this.

  • Dr Christopher Lowry from the University of Colorado conducted an experiment

  • to test whether soil gives us a natural high

  • meaning to make us happy without taking drugs.

  • He injected a bacterium commonly found in soil into mice to see what affect this would have on them.

  • Let's hear what he said in this BBC programme.

  • CL: Rodents like mice and rats are very good swimmers and it was found many years ago that

  • if you treat animals with antidepressant drugs and then put the animals in just a beaker

  • of water it would cause the animals to swim for longer periods of time.

  • HM: After injecting the mice with the bacterium Dr Lowry placed them in a cup of water.

  • CL: These mice that had been injected with bacterium swam during a 6-minute test for

  • a longer period of time than animals that just got a placebo.

  • Sophie: So the bacterium had a similar effect on the mice as an antidepressant drug might.

  • When we dig in soil we ingestor absorbthe bacterium through our lungs or cuts in our skin.

  • A placebo, by the way, is a substance with no physical effects that is used when testing a drug.

  • So here one group of mice were injected with the bacterium

  • and another group were injected with the placebo.

  • And since the mice seemed happier when treated with soil bacteria,

  • there's a good chance we would too.

  • Neil: Let's move on and hear about how gardening can be therapeutic

  • or used to try and treat addiction.

  • Here's Scot Stephenson, a recovering alcoholic, who is learning to garden to help cure him.

  • Scot Stephenson: I left school early or should I say I got expelled... came here,

  • I got my NVQ level 2 which is my first qualification and enjoyed it ever since.

  • Neil: So Scot Stephenson was expelled from schoolhe was forced to leavewith no qualifications.

  • But with the help of a support group he now has an NVQ

  • that's a National Vocational Qualification here in Britainin gardening.

  • Sophie: That's right. At a centre in the UK, recovering alcoholics have been given the

  • opportunity to plant, grow, and even sell their produce.

  • These addicts are literally breaking their addiction by breaking the soil.

  • Neil: Nicely phrased, Sophie!

  • Sophie: Thank you! Now, are you ready, Neil, for the answer to today's quiz question?

  • Neil: I am.

  • Sophie: I asked: What percentage of people in the UK said that gardening makes them happier,

  • according to a survey conducted by the Royal Horticultural Society?

  • Is it... a) 22%, b) 52% or c) 82%?

  • Neil: I guessed b) 52%. I'm wrong, aren't I?

  • Sophie: Oh, you are Neil, I'm sorry.

  • The percentage of people who really enjoy gardening is much higher.

  • You should have chosen option c).

  • A survey from the Royal Horticultural Society has shown that Brits truly are a nation of

  • gardeners with 82% saying it makes them feel happier.

  • The results also revealed that 70% said that given the choice,

  • they would prefer to spend their working day in the garden

  • with just 9% opting for an office and 21% undecided.

  • Neil: Well, I'm with the 9% I'm afraid.

  • Now can we hear the words we learned today, Sophie?

  • Sophie: They are:

  • green fingers

  • in all weathers

  • communing with nature

  • creepy-crawly

  • natural high

  • ingest

  • placebo

  • therapeutic

  • expelled

  • NVQ

  • Neil: Well, that's the end of today's 6 Minute English.

  • Now go back outside Sophie and get your hands dirty! Please do join us again soon!

  • Both: Bye.

Sophie: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Sophie.

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B1 中級

BBC 6 Minute English March 24, 2016 - Gardening

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