Let’s get this out of the way: we’re living through extraordinarily difficult times. A year in, many of us are really feeling it. And now, with winter’s grip closed fast around us, many of us are struggling with emotional well-being.
The great escape of gardening can provide a boost right now. But even crisis gardening isn’t a new idea. During World War I, the US government encouraged citizens to plant Liberty Gardens to ease food shortages. These became Victory Gardens in World War II. By 1944, 40% of the food grown in the US came from Victory Gardens.
Gardening has certainly bloomed as a hobby over the last year. As soon as lockdown and shelter-in-place orders went into effect, demand for seeds and plants jumped. According to Reuters, the 144-year-old W. Atlas Burpee seed company posted its highest-ever sales in spring 2020. Would-be gardeners came up empty-handed as stores and nursery centers sold out of seeds and seedlings.
Why is gardening such a popular escape? Many of us have turned our eyes homeward during this strange year of isolation and social distancing. We’re organizing our closets and improving our homes, and this extends to the yard. Millions of us have discovered (or rediscovered) the joys of being outside. We’re also thinking more about health and immunity, and homegrown food is about as fresh as it gets.
In fact, gardening may be one of the rare winners from these pandemic times—a hobby that sticks for millions of us. Let’s look at why.
Gardening improves emotional well-being
While stress is a normal part of life, ongoing chronic stress can elevate the risk of anxiety and depression while lowering our resilience. This kind of stress has defined much of the last year. As a result, many people are struggling with their emotional and mental health.
Research has shown that time outside is good for our minds as well as our bodies. This combined with the tangible rewards of gardening puts it in a sweet spot during this stressful time. You don’t even have to spend very much time to reap the benefits. A recent study from Japan found that even looking at a plant for as little as three minutes reduces stress.
Gardening brings us closer to nature
Mindfulness, meditation, exercise and time outdoors can all help to reduce stress and boost overall well-being. Gardening is an ideal activity to slow down, appreciate nature’s gifts and observe the passage of the seasons.
Education and fun for the whole family
Gardening can be a great hands-on learning experience for even the youngest children. Learning about the plant life cycle, the history of agriculture, and the importance of pollination can enrich a child’s understanding of nature. Gardening also cultivates patience, perseverance and flexibility.
Ideas for home gardening
Winter is the perfect time to start making your gardening plans for the year. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Vegetable garden. Plant a simple kitchen garden with easy-to-grow classics like lettuce, spinach, peas, tomatoes and herbs. You can even grow a vegetable garden in pots or other containers. Start small, pay attention to the right temperature and soil conditions for your seeds or seedlings, and be aware of how many hours of sunlight your garden will have.
- Pollinator gardens. Pollinators like butterflies and bees are threatened by climate change, and many people are planting vegetables, flowers, and herbs to protect and feed them.
- Tea gardens. This twist on the vegetable garden focuses on the herbs and flowers used in many popular varieties of tea.
- Native plant gardens. Like pollinator gardens, native plantings can help feed and provide homes for insects and wildlife, and they can be ideal plants for local soil and weather conditions.
Finally, whether you’re growing a vegetable garden, planting flowers or updating your shrubs, you’re improving your landscaping. This can boost your home’s curb appeal. It helps to think about your property as a whole, because trees and shrubs are the foundation of a healthy yard. As you’re making your 2021 gardening plans, reach out to us to discuss how we can help.
Advanced Tree Care combines top-notch equipment, cutting-edge technology, and well-trained staff to provide emergency tree removal and tree maintenance services. With a presence in nine counties and two states, we work daily to provide unparalleled customer service, safety, and efficiency—as well as the expertise to beautify your landscaping and community. Advanced Tree Care isn’t just our name—it’s also our purpose!