It’s that time of year where everyone is looking ahead to the New Year, and considering what kind of a year 2020 was there seems to be even more looking ahead and hope that 2021 will be different.

Which of course got me doing some reflecting of my own, but instead of looking back on 2020 and just being glad it’s over, I wanted to try and find a few silver linings. What I’ve come up with is that people generally slowed down, there was less commuting as we learned how to work from home, we went for more walks, there was a surge of loungewear as a viable fashion choice, and more people started gardening. This last silver lining is to me the most significant and it reminds me of a quote that has resonated through my head for years, but I have never been able to properly track down the source. It was told to me through a translator by a well know Japanese garden designer as he had a version of it carved into a rock (in Japanese) for one of his installations. It goes something like:

A poor man was given $3, so he spent $2 on bread and $1 on a flower. When asked why he said, “the bread to feed my body and the flower to feed my soul.”

My research into the source has led to a Chinese proverb that is similar but not quite the same (there may have been something lost in the translation). I’ve also found similar quotes attributed to the Prophet Muhammad and the 13th century Persian poet Muslahuddin about bread and hyacinths. So there are different variations out there on the same theme, feed both your body and soul and that is what I believe people began to do in 2020 when they took up the trowel to try their hand at gardening.

The act of growing something, is beneficial and healthy on multiple levels. Physically it tears you away from bingeing the latest shows and instead outside, breathing fresh air and moving your body. Environmentally you add to the “thin green line” that is the protective covering of plants on our planet, sinking carbon, making oxygen, providing food and habitat for wildlife, pollinators and yourself. And mentally the act of caring for and seeing something grow, bloom and develop even in the darkest days of winter absolutely feeds your soul.

So, lets set a goal to do just that, grow something. What you grow is up to you, it can be small or ambitious. Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Starting seeds indoors to clear up winter blues. Setting yourself up with a grow light and a few accessories to grow some seedlings might not be as nice as a trip to Mexico; but in the depts of winter when its either been raining or snowing for days it can be an escape of sorts. It can and will lift your spirits and help to banish those winter blues, and it’s way less expensive. You can grow seedlings to plant out in the spring or micro greens to add to your salad or sandwiches.
  • Start some sprouts. This couldn’t be easier, you just need some sprout seeds, a jar and a mesh lid. Then don’t forget to rinse it daily and for a few seconds each day of your time you can be eating healthy sprouts in just a few weeks.
  • Research and start to plan/design a new planting bed. If you have a spot in the garden that you just don’t know what to do with or would like to change. Now is the time to think about what you want to do, and how you can change it. So, start researching plants and shrubs and look for some inspiration online, or come in and talk to one our our experts.
  • If you live on the mild west coast you can soon think about getting a jump on spring by planting some spring primulas/pansies in a planter on your balcony/patio/front door porch. I guarantee it will make you smile, but you should make sure you have a covered frost free spot.
  • A pot of herbs on the windowsill will make you smile and your elevate the level of your food. Some of the new pottery in stock is so beautiful that I would welcome it in my home even without the plant.
  • Adding indoor plants to your space is so beneficial that I can’t get into it all right now, so stay tuned and lets talk about it once 2021 arrives.

Setting a good goal also means making a plan, a goal without a plan is more of a wish. And full disclosure gardening and growing things is not always perfect and rosy. Plants die, and you make mistakes, but the key is to learn from them and do some research to start off in the right way. That really is the reason to start your new growing health goal at GardenWorks. The true treasure is the knowledgeable and passionate staff that are so ready to share their knowledge and help you find what you need to make it all work. It’s literally in the name, Garden….Works.

So set a goal for health in 2021 and grow something…. Anything. You might be new to gardening or a proper expert, but no matter where we are on the gardening skill level I think it would be good for everyone to try something new, and stretch ourselves a little. Personally I will be attempting to grow watermelon radishes and creating (and sticking to) a proper planting plan for my community garden plot. Whatever you chose to do everyone will benefit, the environment, the bees, and you. It sounds amazingly hokey but the world really would be a better place if more people did.

Happy New Year!

Written by: Ingrid Hoff

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