• Phoebe Aubury

Gardening During the Coronavirus Pandemic

How to use your garden to cope and thrive through self-isolation and lockdown.

At Natural Design Studio there are not many places more important to us than the garden, and even more so during the Covid-19 outbreak we realise just how crucial people’s gardens have become. No longer just a place to enjoy after work, but in self-isolation, it is perhaps our whole world.

New figures show "huge" increase in gardening online sales during coronavirus crisis

27 March 2020 , M.Appleby

And indeed, gardening is the whole world to us, promotes wellbeing, alignment with nature, good mental health, provides food and medicine for our pantries! If this pandemic has taught us some things, one thing might be that our economic and job systems are fragile and impermanent, in the current crisis people will sadly suffer through no fault of their own as they are unable to work and provide for themselves financially. As it dawns upon us that everything will change, and things might never go back to the way they were before, we understand that people’s gardens are a place of sanctuary and opportunity where they can survive and thrive through these tough times.

Things are uncertain right now making it hard to think ahead, let alone plan for the future, nobody knows what will happen from one day to the next, but there are some things we do know; the world will keep turning and gardens are a safe place to be! We want to share our expertise to ensure they CAN provide for themselves at least enough to eat, based on natural systems which are permanent and quite reliable – regardless of what happens to our economy and job security. So, here’s our advice for making the most of your garden through these tough times.

1. Start simple - enjoy the fresh air, the breeze on your skin, looking at the clouds. Take your shoes off, feel the grass or gravel under your feet… lie on it… and breathe. Embrace your space. You can’t control things outside, but you can control what happens in your garden. Focus on that.

2. Go out in the rain! – This might sound a bit weird but seriously if you really need to calm down go out in the rain, it’s refreshing and a bit like meditation we swear it cleanses the mind, the initial shock and cold are replaced with calm and invigoration. If your stressed, do it (and then put something warm and dry on afterwards!).

3. Plan – There is plenty of time to think and plan. If you have a balcony garden or maybe a courtyard you can plan pots and raised beds. If you have a bigger garden you can start to plan herbacious borders or crop rotation. No matter the size of your garden the planning you put in now will reap you great rewards in the long run, it will give you a strategy and something to look forwards to. It might just give you hope.

4. Design! – If you are planning a full-on re-design and need some help then get in touch, we consult on everything from planting schemes to permaculture, and can create designs ranging form ‘make overs’ to complete garden renovations. So, if you need a big project to get you through this time then send us a message and we’ll be happy to take care of everything for you!

5. Plant something, cress on the windowsill, a sunflower in a pot, a glorious herbaceous border, a tree that bears fruit… heck plant a verge with wildflower! Plant nurseries are shut but for now you can still order plants online. Just plant something.

The kids can totally do this to and it’s a great opportunity for learning and engaging with nature. It can help them to feel in control, planting things, and then taking care of the plants whilst they grow, can give them a new positive focus.

6. Make a home for wildlife… we have a whole blog post on this subject, so go ahead and check it out.

7. Reconnect with nature - when, during the daily commute, and 9-5 grind, do we have time to re-connect with nature?... now we do. Have you ever looked up at a tree in awe of how tall it is? Or seen a flower that’s so pretty it made you go ‘wow’ inside (or out loud?!). The sights, sounds, shapes, of plants, birds and bees are taken for granted every day… but when you have time to stop and think… you remember the magic.

8. Share the magic with the children – encourage them to experience the awe and wonder of nature.

9. Feed yourself - gardens are good for feeding souls and BELLIES! A lot of people are worried about food security right now and social distancing measures mean going to the supermarket is tricky, so grow your own at home. A little patience is required but once you are up and running the harvest will be great. Not only will you have your own food supply in your own garden but it will taste better and be much more satisfying than its supermarket counterpart! Tomatoes and potatoes are easy and reliable place to start, if your more adventurous then try leeks and root vegetables, then voila, you’ve got yourself a full meal! (herbs and radishes are good for impatient people, crop in 28 days)

10. Learn about permaculture and organic gardening, with all the garden centres shut now is a good time to learn gardening methods that don't rely on chemicals and products. Read our post on that here!

We hope this has helped to give you some ideas and focus, please do take care and know that historically people turn to their gardens in time of economic crisis, which is exactly what people did with ‘victory gardens’ after the war and ‘depression gardens’:

"During the Great Depression of the 1930s. A sinking economy meant, then as now, that people were looking for ways to save money on their grocery bill, by growing their own food…and make the most of what you have." -

What will Natural Design Studio be doing during the Corona virus outbreak?

We are facing the same challenges as everyone else, and given those challenges we are responding by making some changes. Our objectives are still the same: Helping people achieve wellbeing by designing beautiful and sustainable gardens. But we also have a new objective: Reaching more people online and changing the way we work so that we can do consultations and presentations remotely, making the most of the technology at our disposal such as video link and conferencing. Although we will REALLY miss seeing our clients face to face, to protect everybody we must for now work from a distance. And maybe some good will come of it, maybe our reach will be a little further as with technology distance is no barrier, so we can work with anyone, anywhere!

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