I recently read an article that stated doctors in the UK are urging us to avoid gardening or DIY jobs around the house during the coronavirus lockdown. They’re concerned that it might result in injuries that could add to the strain that hospitals are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It makes sense, and we all need to be doing everything we can to stay safe and support the NHS. Best to avoid any risky activities, only tackle those sort of DIY jobs if they are essential, and you know how to use the equipment safely.
That said, whilst I won’t be getting the chainsaw out anytime soon, there is still plenty we can be doing during the current lockdown. And for me that means Destination Garden, especially with the May bank holiday this coming weekend…
So far in lockdown though, I’ve jet washed my patio, tidied the garage and painted the living room over successive weekends. I think it’s important we stay active, keep our minds busy, try and keep some sort of sense of normality. If we are stuck at home, we might as well get our homes and gardens looking great!
These are unprecedented times though, and the speed at which things are changing is making me a little dizzy. I often feel guilty if I take the dog out for a walk on my allowed daily exercise. All we can do is use a little common sense, keep socially distant and stay home as much as we can. We are now passed the peak, and talk is turning to how the government can safely ease us out of lockdown.
Destination garden is perfect for physical and mental wellbeing
As we discussed in our recent Gardening Wellbeing article, our gardens are a tremendous source of physical and mental wellbeing in this crisis. From exercise to relaxation, we are staying home to stay safe, and we most definitely need to make use of our personal outdoor spaces to support that.
The UK Government, whilst reiterating the importance of staying at home in the effort of containing the spread of COVID-19, stressed that we can still use our gardens freely if it is a part of our own property and not a public place where risk of infection is heightened.
They also stated that the importance of exercise and fresh air for the benefit of not just our physical, but also our mental health. Getting one form of exercise a day is vital, especially given the unprecedented nature of the situation we are now in. Those of us lucky enough to have a garden, we must use them, we want to use them.
Having a garden or outside space is the single most important home feature that contributes to wellbeing, according to the 2019 Home Owner Survey. However, the number of us with a garden or outdoor space has allegedly dropped by as much as 1.5 million between 2007 and 2014.
So at Lazy Susan, if you can, head for Destination Garden and start working on it while the weather is nice, and we’ve got all this extra home time on our hands. Spring has most definitely sprung, we’ve had some lovely mild weather of late with plenty of sunshine, so here’s hoping for more of the same this Bank Holiday weekend. The Friday is looking like the pick of the bunch.
No matter how big or small your outdoor space, you can start growing plants, flowers and fruit/veg now and throughout the summer. For those who never have before, this is the perfect time to learn a new skill or two and get your garden not only looking great but a place you and your family want to spend time. Even with social distancing in place, DIY stores have started to put procedures in place and are starting to safely reopen.
Of course, there are many benefits to gardening, and we discussed these in detail last month. Even just spending a few hours or so a week in our gardens is linked to greater health and wellbeing. So why not spend that a each day we are in lockdown if you can? It’s a great form of physical activity, but also a great escape from the constant cycle of bad news.
Stay safe but carry on gardening
If safety is a concern, we certainly don’t want to place any unnecessary burden on the NHS, then just leave any jobs that require power tools. If you want to just do a little pruning and tidying of containers and borders for example, then my advice would be to make sure you protect your hands with a pair of good quality gardening gloves. This is especially important in the current pandemic as I know all this increased hand washing has left my hands a little dry and sensitive.
If you’re looking for some more detailed gardening advice, and I am strictly a hobbyist not an expert, then I would recommend Small Garden by garden designer John Brookes. We’ve listed it in a number of our gardening book lists/top tens. It is one I always go back to as it covers every aspect of gardening in a limited space, which I’m afraid I currently have after a recent city centre move. It has easy to follow diagrams and plenty of inspiration for things such as achieving the perfect lawn, maximising space on a balcony and making best use of window space.
Any other newbies to gardening out there might also find the Picture This plant identifier and encyclopaedia app beneficial. As I say, I recently moved into a new property, and with no clue to what was growing in my garden it was a welcome tool that helped me learn more about what we had and what we needed to do to care for them. Free to download, it is a great resource. You just take or upload a photo of any plant, and get instantaneous ID results from their AI database.
It is not just about our own personal wellbeing too
If like me you have children, then getting them outside in lockdown is critical. Well, not just in the lockdown, anytime. Getting them off their iPads and games consoles is so important. However, to do that, you need something of interest for them to do. Gardening, might not sound that exciting, but trust me once you get them started, they’ll love it.
One of the best ways to get a sweat on this weekend is to get them outside and make up some games. With school closed, I know my two are suffering from a touch of cabin fever too. There go to is the iPad or Nintendo, so it is good to get them out in the garden. I’ll take them out to do some star jumps etc, but I’ve also set them off growing their own herbs and veg. I keep them interested by letting them take a picture diary and making their own little YouTube style videos.
Our garden is our personal gym too. Every morning at 9am the girls have been advised by their school to do Joe Wicks PE lessons. Now I find him a little annoying to be honest with you, but I have to admit his workouts are brilliant, and the kids love doing them outside before they start their virtual lessons. Plus, they’re not aimed it me, I just join in with the kids.
So, with all the stress and anxiety surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, our garden is the only destination we need this bank holiday weekend.