Gardening Horticultural Therapy

Gardening as Coronavirus Therapy


I don’t know about you, but I’m in a self-imposed coronavirus lockdown. Actually, it’s more a wife-imposed lockdown: Marie won’t let me out of the door unless I promise to go no further than the street. Most people will probably come through a bout of COVID-19 with no more symptoms than from a bad cold, but I’m one of those people who suffer from a “pre-existing medical condition,” a lung disease called pulmonary fibrosis. People with PF who come down with COVID-19 aren’t likely to survive.

So, I’m stuck at home for the next few weeks (at least!) and guess what I’ll be doing to keep active and alert? Gardening! It’s better therapy than watching TV and you don’t have to go anywhere to practice it. I have all the supplies I need on hand (if not, I could order them online), my seed orders have arrived and need to be started and I have plenty of houseplants that require various bits of care: from pruning to repotting to complete makeovers.

Where I live (Quebec, Canada), it’s still far too early to be gardening outdoors: there’s still about 90 cm (3 feet) of snow on the ground and that will take a month yet to melt away. So, for the moment, I’ll be gardening indoors. But if the need for isolation continues long enough (who knows?), I have outdoor gardens that will slowly emerge out of the snow and need a bit of care. 

So, maybe I’ll be a bit less laidback about my gardening for a while, doing a few things I would normally avoid as not being absolutely essential … but if puttering in my garden helps me deal with feelings of insecurity and isolation (and it does!), then I’m willing to put a bit more work into it. Not that it will feel like work: gardening always feels a bit more like accomplishing something than work.

Try it and see! Do a bit of gardening daily, or even a lot of gardening, and you’ll see time fly.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to mix and mingle again soon!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

8 comments on “Gardening as Coronavirus Therapy

  1. Trish Hardman

    Absolutely the best therapy! Take care and God bless…

  2. Margaret

    Be well! Stay safe! Listen to Marie!

  3. I won’t be doing it as therapy, but while I can not go to work, I will be catching up on a bit of it.

  4. Tim Murphy

    Keep going , cheers from waiting to go Toronto…

  5. Exactly, it’s the best therapy! Keep safe!

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