By Pam Erikson/Special to Langley Advance Times
This is, by far, the strangest gardening year we have seen!
Not only because of the weather pattern – after all, this is British Columbia, and they do say that if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change!
Not only because we have seen very cold nights followed by extremely warm days; the sixth driest April on record; or the unexpected hailstorm when it was supposed to be sunny!
But because, due to an unpredicted pandemic that has caused quarantines and isolations across our country, millions of people have suddenly turned to gardening who never did before.
Seed packages have sold out everywhere; garden centres have lineups (with hopefully the correct social distancing in place) of eager shoppers; and people who never had real time to spend on their gardens suddenly are creating magazine-worthy lawns and gardens since they have all this time at home.
To see such interest from new gardeners in growing their own vegetables or creating a floral paradise, and renewed vigour from seasoned growers, truly warms my heart.
For so many years, local garden clubs have lamented the aging membership and low numbers of new, younger members.
But 2020 has suddenly brought gardening back into the limelight.
Social media pages that are dedicated to gardening are finding new members joining in masses; eager new gardeners wanting to learn how to truly help out in their current situation by learning how to grow and tend to vegetables, fruit trees, and flowers.
When the list of ‘essential services’ was brought out by our provincial government, garden centres and nurseries were on that list. Not only, I believe, because of the capacity to enable people to grow their own food, but also for the sheer therapy of gardening – a way to keep our sanity while remaining at home.
Weeding, lawn cutting and general gardening may have been viewed as ‘tasks’ before – but now gardening seems to have found a new niche – a way to be outside of the four walls of our homes, that after a few weeks, tend to become a little ‘prison-like’ for some.
So step outside, breathe that fresh air, look at the garden as an artist’s blank canvas and start to create.
Whatever the next few months bring, be assured that the soil will always be there, ready and waiting for you to grow food or flowers, nurture the lawn, dig a pond, build a gazebo – the choices are endless, and yes, therapeutic.
– Pam Erikson is owner of Erikson’s Daylily Gardens and Perennials and president of the Langley Garden Club