My little garden is helping me cope with being cooped up away from work and social interactions during these contagious times.
It’s hard to not dwell on the seriousness of COVID-19, and I certainly don’t want to downplay its impacts on … well, everything. Including garden lecturers like me who are usually very busy this time of year lecturing several times a week and nearly every spring weekend, but are now out of that kind of work for the foreseeable future.
I’m getting advice from busybody paragons of virtue who think that now that my pub is shut down, I’ll actually wrap up old to-do lists like sharpen tools, put up a bird feeder and the like. Shaping up a boxwood here, thinning cluttered branches in a holly tree there, cleaning out the water garden, painting an arbor, replacing a weak board in a deck, starting a few heirloom seeds in egg cartons of potting soil. These and a few other short-term chores don’t take much time.
Nah. I’m more likely to stay indoors out of pollen’s reach and watch more reruns of “Gunsmoke,” “Twilight Zone” and “Andy Griffith.”
Sure, there’s good weather for catching up on little chores around the garden. Trouble is, after decades of developing a basically self-regulating garden of low-maintenance plants, I can only knock around the yard with a cup of coffee in hand for so long without wishing I had more to do.
In spite of the likelihood of a touch of “blackberry winter” frost later this month, it’s mighty tempting to swap out my winter flowers and herbs for summer stuff. I only have four small flower and herb beds and three groups of big pots, located strategically so they play off one another to create the illusion of way more color. At least I can fill some pots with soil to plant in a couple of weeks.
Maybe I’ll get rid of leftover plastic pots by filling them with hardy perennials and bulbs and stack them on the curb with my email address in case neighbors want to find out how to grow them.
Luckily, my Friday and Saturday MPB radio broadcast doesn’t require elbow-bump encounters, so at least our cheery virtual garden party can continue both live and via podcasts.
Then again, maybe I’ll just gird myself with antihistamines and get out and make another colorful bottle tree or hang some cheery garden lights.
Or, hey — let’s have a little fun, entertain ourselves. Shoot me a clear photo of some of your yard art (email@example.com) and I’ll post a blog on our funkiest!
Whatever it takes to get us through, eh?
Felder Rushing is a Mississippi author, columnist, and host of “The Gestalt Gardener” on MPB Think Radio. Email gardening questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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