As we’re entering a period when our lives are about to become more restricted than most of us have ever known, getting out into the garden could be our salvation.
It’s a difficult time. Many of us will have to work from home (that’s if we’ve still got a job). There’ll be no more going out to pubs, cafes, restaurants. No more cinema or theatre. No organised sports, either to watch or take part in. The internet will probably be overwhelmed, but you can only take so much screen time anyway. We could spend all our spare time watching TV, if there’s still access to Netflix, etc., but that’s not exactly good for you (again; you can only take so much screen time). Boredom could reach dangerous levels as we all steadily go stir crazy.
The answer – the way to free ourselves from the tyranny of enforced seclusion – is to get out into the fresh air, under the big, open sky, and to get gardening. It’s the perfect time:
– The long dark corridor of winter is coming to an end and we’re going into spring, so the weather is right (we’ve had some lovely days already this year);
– It’s safe; there’s no danger of the virus being transmitted over the garden fence;
– There’s plenty to do in the garden at this time of year;
– Gardening is great physical exercise, and has been proved to have psychological benefits too (Think you’re more of a city person and you don’t like plants? Think again – your sub-conscious mind knows better!)
Don’t have a garden yourself? Do you have a neighbour who has, and would appreciate some help – maybe a neighbour who’s elderly, or disabled? There’s no need for contact – they can leave the side gate open, and chat to you at a distance, perhaps through a first floor window. They get their garden done, and some arms-length social contact, you get out, get some exercise and fresh air. Maybe you can grow produce in their garden, and share it with them? Why not do some community gardening; transform that piece of waste ground with your neighbours (organised via social media, and carried out one person at a time, in shifts)? Try your hand at guerilla gardening.
Want some ideas of what to do in the garden? Order some seeds (mail order – no physical contact);
Dig up some of the lawn to create more flower beds;
Or turn over the whole of your lawn to growing fruit and veg, ready for when the shops run out of food;
Plant hedges. Make them prickly – pyracantha, holly or berberis to keep the marauding hordes at bay (or at least, to hide your veg patch from envious neighbours). Or maybe we should be kind, and share our produce with the community);
Let what’s left of your lawn grow into a wildflower meadow – beautiful, very much ‘on-trend’ and we can’t afford to waste precious petrol or electricity cutting grass anymore.
So, don’t go mad – get gardening, and stay safe. And keep away from crows and magpies – you don’t want to get the Corvid virus…
text & images © Graham Wright 2020