Nature's cure

Planting lettuce seedlings.

The world has come to a standstill due to COVID-19, but there are ways to adjust to the turmoil in our lives. Somewhere I read in one of my old gardening magazines a quote by Minnie Aumonier, an 18th-century poet, "When the world wearies and society ceases to satisfy, there is always the garden." More than ever connecting to nature now is a good panacea.

Here are suggestions from the National Garden Bureau and some of my own:

  • Look at your garden and think about re-designing parts of the garden with new plants.
  • Start some seeds. This is very life-affirming to check daily for something sprouting.
  • Grow what I like to call happy flowers, such as sunflowers and nasturtiums.
  • Now cooking has us becoming creative in the kitchen with limited trips to the store, so think about growing herbs in pots on your windowsill or in the garden.
  • Begin planning your vegetable garden with cool-weather crops such as kale, Swiss Chard and spinach.
  • Tend to your houseplants by removing dead leaves, refreshing the soil and propagate new plants by taking cuttings of your favorite plants.
  • Check out online seed companies with seeds such as Kitazawa Seeds who specializes in Asian vegetables, or try heirloom seeds from Thomas Jefferson's home at Monticello, Virginia.
  • Plant a tree. Arbor Day is April 24.
  • Be newly inspired by reaching for your garden books and magazines, some you have never gotten to read.
  • Take a walk-in a nearby natural area where you are permitted to go, and take time to notice what is growing.
  • Take an online gardening class about seed starting seeds, how to make a raised bed or how to prune certain trees or whatever interests you; maybe watch some YouTube instruction videos about a specific garden topic.
  • If you are lucky enough to be near a garden center or nursery that will do a curbside pick-up as long as social distancing is practiced, place your order for pick-up of your plants.
  • Think about new containers for brightening your patio, deck or front entryway.

Lose yourself in the world of gardening. I am going now to pick-up my pansies for my window box.

Carole McCray resides in Cape May, New Jersey and is an award-winning garden writer who has been writing a monthly garden column, The Potting Shed, for regional newspapers for nearly 20 years. Her articles have been published in The Christian Science Monitor Newspaper, Coastal Living Magazine, Cape May Magazine, Growise Garden Guide and Ideals Magazine. She won the Garden Writer's Association Award for newspaper writing for The Christian Science Monitor Newspaper.

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