Well-Being: Create a Garden

It may just be the pandemic fatigue setting in, but there is something about gardening this year that is offering more self-satisfaction and happiness.  It is refreshing to create life with these small blooms and fight for victory against the shutting down of our lives by the coronavirus.  Although not with the same dire needs as it was created for in the past, the victory garden concept is one that I am glad has been revived.  I am fully supporting the #victory garden this year – by starting my family’s first vegetable garden in our newly purchased and constructed – elevated garden.   

We have done herb gardens in the past.  But for many years, I have longed for the beautiful cedar elevated (3 feet above the ground) garden.  Finally, pushed by the quarantine and the outlook of a summer predominantly at home, I did it!  Pulled the trigger!  I ordered it and what arrived at my door was basically a box of lumber…thankfully my children and husband took over at that point to construct it while I continued gardening, planting, and purchasing more flowers, herbs, vegetables, and fruits at the open –air garden centers in our area.  Although I was covered with a mask and sometimes gloves, I so enjoyed being able to mosey through the aisles of flowers outside or in delightfully vibrant greenhouses. 

The concept of creating a garden may seem daunting.  Don’t let the idea intimidate you.  This is a great stress reliever in the end.  It may raise your blood pressure slightly to tackle the project or shop for all the items you want, but the process is a labor of love that will produce hopefully a beautiful, fruitful harvest.  Just think – this summer while we are without so many outdoor activities, you will be able to walk through your garden, or sit on your patio and admire all of the flowers, fruits, and vegetables growing abundantly around you.  You will care for them and help channel some of the stress and anxiety you may be feeling into a productive outlet. 

There are many different levels of gardening.  Most people will be restricted by space.  So if you have never gardened before, start with container gardening.  Then maybe draw out some ground plantings – both perennial and annual for your front or backyard if you have either or both.  Next, consider a raised garden purchase to create your own herb, vegetable, and/or fruit garden.  All of these types of gardens are wonderfully fun to try to create and enjoy throughout the summer months.

First, container gardening.  It can be as simple as a small, terracotta pot – filled with potting soil and one beautiful annual.  Or a large pot filled with the hills, the frills, and the spills – one plant that has significant height, then a flower the fills in the middle layer, and then a vine that will grow over the edge and down the pot’s side.  Look for these three elements in professional containers and you will get a good idea of what to look for on your next visit to a garden or nursery.  Another simple container method is to pick your three favorite herbs.  Fill up the smaller containers with potting soil and plant the already growing herb.  Enjoy snipping fresh herbs to add to salads or complete recipes all summer long!

Next, take a walk around your yard if you have one.  Check out where the sun is during different times of the day.  Start a little doc in your notes app on your phone.  List out which direction the front, sides, and backyard face for the sun.  Are there trees providing shade?  Google plants that like shade and those that don’t.  You can even search for plants for a north-facing garden, for example.  Then decide where you’d like to permanently plant using perennials.  This will be a more expensive, long-term investment of money, but these flowers will come back every year.  If you are looking for bulbs to bloom in the spring, make some notes about places to plant the bulbs this fall for a beautiful awakening next spring.  Look for places in your yard where a bright border of annuals would fit.  I love sunpatiens for a front yard border.  Like the name implies, they love at least 6 hours of sun per day, but they did great for me in an eastern facing plot that only receives morning to early afternoon sun.

Finally, the big purchase in my garden this year was the raised, elevated garden.  This has already produced so much delight watching both started vegetables and seeds grow with healthy leaves and buds!  Make sure this is placed in a sunny spot.  All the vegetables, fruits like strawberries, and herbs will need plenty of sun and water.  We water every morning, but also add water globes for continuous watering all day long.

Overall, the garden can serve as an outlet for stress, anxiety, and any extra energy you have while sheltering at home and waiting for more freedom to move about the world.  You can create another source of your own well-being by trying to cultivate a victory garden.  Enjoy the blooms and new life surrounding you throughout the summer months! 

© 2020 Megan Davia Mikhail

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