Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Gardening amidst Pandemic

Tulip "Angelique" (April 2020)
2020 is now halfway over.  Covid-19 pandemic has presented the world situations we have never experienced all our lives.  We all had to adapt in our own ways to the threat of the virus and its effects on what we've considered normal.  "Sheltering in place" was something we had never known.  But then one day in March, Governor Newsom of California said we all had to shelter in place to slowdown the spread of the virus.  Some people called it a lock down or quarantine.  We were also instructed to observe social distancing to avoid contracting or spreading the virus. So we did.  Three months later, although some businesses are slowly and cautiously opening, we are still sheltering in place.

One of the things that resulted from sheltering in place and social distancing is that we (my husband and I) acquired more free time.  Time was a gift that came from this unprecedented global disaster.   Busyness, a situation where the time allowance we get in a day is committed to the max suddenly lost its force as a social status indicator.  With the sudden surge of time, we started to spend more of it in the garden either by enjoying; maintaining; or changing it.  We planted more plants and cared for them better than we would have done had we been distracted by travels and social obligations.

Last year I was already planning to change our small front lawn.   Inspired by Monty Don on Gardeners World, I was intent on rewilding or at least increasing biodiversity the  the yard.  The monotonous and water and fertilizer-voracious grass is now old and irrelevant.  For the first step, we planted three Rainbow Ascot euphorbia (1 gal) and two gallardia along the perimeter of the grass. So I bought  some seeds (California poppies) and collected some (Queen Anne's Lace) from the wild during our morning walks with the intention of sowing them in December.  But I missed my schedule and sowed them late.  I think it was already February when I sowed them.  None of the poppies survived but a group of Queen Anne's lace emerged and with some help, they made it.  This year, God-willing, I will sow seeds in the fall.  I'll mark my calendar and ask Alexa to notify me. 

One thing we did according to plan was to plant bulbs: tulips in pots; and alliums in the ground.  Most of the tulips we planted were parrot and peony type.  They were a beautiful and since I have not grown them before, each variety carried an element of surprise as they bloomed in the spring.  The different varieties bloomed in succession and so we enjoyed them longer.  The alliums on the other hand were a complete failure.  We never saw a leaf grow beyond one inch above the ground.  We then made a path on the area where we planted them where they were immediately forgotten.

There are more things we did and are continuing to do in the garden as triggered by the pandemic which I will continue to chronicle in the succeeding posts.

Gardening is a peaceful and therapeutic engagement with nature.  
Grow a plant today.

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