Maintaining Wellness through Gardening in the Era of Social Distancing

distancing and gardeningRecreational, meetings and concerts are canceled. The kids are out of school and we’re being encouraged to stay home.

In this time of Covid-19, here are a few suggestions from the National Garden Bureau, along with links to resources, to cultivate something good.

1. Start some seeds.

Nothing is more life-affirming than checking each morning to see if something spouted.

2. Plan a vegetable garden.

Grow the veggies you love the most. Read about which varieties to plant from seeds and which ones are better if you purchase plants. Consult garden blogs and books.

Plan to grow flowers that make you happy. Suggestions include sunflowers, nasturtiums, zinnias and marigolds. These are easy to grow from seeds and you can grow many plants for less money.

3. Buy local.

Some garden centers are offering curbside pickup so you can place your order for plants and then pick them up at the store, keeping social distancing in mind but still fulfilling your need to buy plants.

4. Redesign garden areas.

Redesign the plantings in the front of your house. Research plants that grow well in your area, and make a plan for spring renewal.

Take an online class about plants or gardens, offered by organizations like the National Garden Bureau;  or watch some YouTube instruction videos. Learn about seed starting, taking cuttings or how to grow vegetables.

5. Plan an herb garden.

What herbs do you like to cook with? Which herbs make the best cocktails or tea? If you don’t have in-ground space, grow herbs in pots.

6. Cozy up with a book.

Pull out the garden or plant books you bought in the past and read them — maybe for the first time! Revisit those copies with lovely garden photos and be newly inspired.

7. Take a walk.

You can still walk while observing social distancing in a nearby natural area: woods, field, desert, beach or park. Look closely at leaves, bark, mosses and flowers. Notice the number of plants that grow in a community. Look up, look down.

8. Focus on houseplants.

Take this time to groom or repot houseplants. Remove dead leaves, refresh the soil, take cuttings of favorites so that later you can share the wealth with friends.

9. Learn about new plants.

Go to online seed and plant companies and learn about varieties you’re not familiar with. Join plant or garden groups on social media. Search for posts about the flowers and plants you see listed.

10. Start a journal or book.

What plants remind you of family members or friends? Write those memories down. Consider turning those recollections, along with photos of the plants and people, into a small book that can be passed to others in your family.

11. Decide to plant a tree.

Research which tree varieties grow well in your area. Look to see where you have the right amount of space and sunlight.

12. Create a new indoor display of plants.

Make a row of small pots in bloom on your kitchen counter or the windowsill above your sink. Move an unused side table in front of a window or slider, creating a new place for plants.

13. Revisit the patio or deck.

Plan a new group of containers for your deck, porch or patio. Flowers, herbs and vegetables await your creativity. Go for color, fragrance and flavor.

14. Plan a garden vacation.

Decide on an area of the country, and research public gardens, national parks and plant destinations that are in the region.

About The Author

Founded in 1920, the National Garden Bureau is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to disseminate basic instructions for backyard gardeners and those who want to garden, to inspire them to spend more time outdoors, enjoying all nature has to offer. NGB is a proud and supportive member of Garden Communicators International. The NGB thanks author C.L. Fornari, GardenComm member, for the above tips. If you are a professional garden communicator, information about joining this group can be found on their website.