Gardening is our friend in these times of anxiety, bored kids and isolation.
“Gardening provides a better time in lockdown,” says Lachlan Richardson, director of horticultural company Bluebell.
“Being in the garden has amazing physiological benefits like reducing blood pressure and heart rate.
“From an evolutionary perspective, we spent all of our lives connected to nature. A big part of that is a connection to the seasons and ecological processes and having a heightened awareness of those things,” he said.
“It is so soothing for the human soul and for the human body, to be connected and attuned to nature.”
Horticulturist Katrina Cachia said when you experience different colours, smells and feel textures and see small birds just interacting and going about their day, it helps you take time to be slower in our busy lives. A garden is a place for rest, it’s a very calm space.
“I think if people are feeling a bit anxious, something simple like sitting in the sun and having a good cup of tea in fresh air is good for the soul.”
“A green thumb is a myth. People think that you’re either born with it or not. I knew absolutely nothing about gardening four years ago. Anyone can learn to garden.”
Whether gardening is for children or your grandmother, these horticulturalists recommend taking on bite-sized projects.
Below are four projects that we can all do during lockdown.
Build a birdbath
Ms Cachia says use pot plant saucers, they’re really great because they’re shallow. Birds can clean themselves but there’s no chance of them drowning. They feel more secure when their legs touch the bottom. Keep the birdbath elevated because birds feel safer off the ground away from predators.”
Build a cubby
Everyone loves cubbies. Nature play expert Nicole Sadlier’s strongest tip is “get a really good structure like a pyramid. Three sticks to make a pyramid shape is really effective. A big thing is finding out what materials you have on hand and making a nice stable base with material to cover the cubby,” she says.
“Make it fun and cosy with big pillows inside. Bring in some books and kitchen supplies to make it a whole day of adventure. For parents, don’t just do it for your kids, do it for yourself, we all need to be outside to enjoy nature. Read a book – it’s nice to get outdoors as a family.”
Grow an onion plant
An onion plant grows from the root of spring onions and provides immediate satisfaction. Mr Richardson’s tip is to grow spring onions.
“Once you’ve finished with the onion, plant the core in compost. I plant every single spring onion that I’ve ever bought. They end up planted in my garden and then they keep growing and I keep harvesting them.”
Decorate the house with flowers
Floral designer Greta Kerr, co-owner of Spiral Botanicals has some advice.
“Display flowers en masse. Lots and lots of a singular type of flower looks more generous and beautiful. Fill different kinds of vessels. Anything that holds water can hold flowers.”