Go Forth and Garden

Whether you use a pitch fork or a trowel, digging in dirt puts homebound homeowners where they want to be despite the coronavirus.

By Gene And Katie Hamilton

pitch fork the virus

In this roadside display near us the pitch fork says it all. We want to beat the virus and return to our old way of life. Many of us are chewing at the bit to go outdoors and do something - anything - to move around and enjoy fresh air and a change of scenery, it’s no wonder that gardening is so popular for both first-timers and veteran homeowners who want to dig in the dirt.

Just drive by a garden center and take a look at the cars and pickup trucks filling the parking lot. You’ll see rows of pots and flats of plants - azaleas to zinnias - flowering shrubs and bushes, and overhead lines of colorful lush hanging plants. There’s always an expanding section of specialty tools - hand and power - and supplies to buy ready for pent-up gardeners; and the birds seem to have overtaken their own domain of the gardening aisles with seeds, foods and bird houses.

At most garden centers you get a wheel barrel or wagon so you can load it with a bounty of blossoming perennials and annuals and bags of fertilizers and mulch. You pull your wagon to a mobile checkout station, make your purchases and you’re ready to go. Many nurseries have extended their online sites with plants-to-order you can pick up or have delivered. With social distancing it’s not as easy to ask for advice about shady spots, or which type of fertilizer will work in your sandy soil, but you can call them and get help. We saw two women on cell phones in a lengthy discussion standing aisles apart from each other; turns out it was a customer talking to a sales person who waved when they realized it.

When I was out walking last week I chatted over the fence with a neighbor who said, "My husband and I can’t remember ever spending so much time together working in our yard." And I’m betting when the Spring sales numbers from the gardening industry come out, it’ll be one of the winners of the pandemic because there’s nothing more fulfilling and tiring than to "dig, plant and grow" in your garden, and that makes you feel good."

Here's a link to some gardening crossword puzzles you can work online or print.