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I know I'm not alone, but the Covid era has done something to me mentally. It doesn't help that we are in our rain and gloom season, which has kicked my SAD into overdrive. I've just felt lethargic, hopeless and sad for months and like I will never climb out of the hole.

Yesterday for the first time in ages, the sun was out, so I went out to finish up some plantings for the backyard habitat program I'm enrolled in. I walked around to check on some of the other things I planted in the fall and realized they're starting to bud out and bloom. The crab apple I made a special trip for had tiny leaves on it. The native rose that I thought had died had fresh leaves and growth. The native strawberry had blooms. The fir I planted is a couple inches taller. Seeing all of that did something to me, and it made me feel a certain kind of pride that I haven't felt in ages. And it felt good to feel good. Weird, but good. It just feels like things will maybe be ok.

After my walk around, I went to work planting my new plants, including 3 native trees. I don't know if anyone else feels this way, but there is something about planting trees that is so comforting. Just knowing they will be there long after I'm gone, providing food and shelter for all the little birds I love watching every day, it just hits me in the feels probably more than it should. I love them already and can't wait to watch them grow.

Is anyone else feeling a spring gardening boost?

I know I'm not alone, but the Covid era has done something to me mentally. It doesn't help that we are in our rain and gloom season, which has kicked my SAD into overdrive. I've just felt lethargic, hopeless and sad for months and like I will never climb out of the hole. Yesterday for the first time in ages, the sun was out, so I went out to finish up some plantings for the backyard habitat program I'm enrolled in. I walked around to check on some of the other things I planted in the fall and realized they're starting to bud out and bloom. The crab apple I made a special trip for had tiny leaves on it. The native rose that I thought had died had fresh leaves and growth. The native strawberry had blooms. The fir I planted is a couple inches taller. Seeing all of that did something to me, and it made me feel a certain kind of pride that I haven't felt in ages. And it felt good to feel good. Weird, but good. It just feels like things will maybe be ok. After my walk around, I went to work planting my new plants, including 3 native trees. I don't know if anyone else feels this way, but there is something about planting trees that is so comforting. Just knowing they will be there long after I'm gone, providing food and shelter for all the little birds I love watching every day, it just hits me in the feels probably more than it should. I love them already and can't wait to watch them grow. Is anyone else feeling a spring gardening boost?

23 comments

[–] Unruly_Rose 1 points (+1|-0)

I know this is a few months out now, but gardening has been the best thing I could do for my mental health. I made a big move a little bit before the pandemic from a country home to a suburb type area with sketchy neighbors too close. I felt so uncomfortable for so long. We have a good fence, so I feel lucky with that, but I didn't start to really feel at home until I started gardening. I really missed/needed that access to nature. There is something very satisfying about learning to grow your own food and watching the progress the plants make every day.

Hey, I love this! It's really so true. My "therapy" lately is getting up early so I can get everything watered in the garden. It's so peaceful out there in the mornings, and I just walk around with my coffee and the hose and it's a bit of a walking meditation. I love seeing the daily changes in my veggies, the flowers, my baby trees, etc. <3

[–] [Deleted] 2 points (+2|-0)

This is the first year that my wildflowers/prairie are really coming through--it's been mostly observation and prep before. I was obsessed last year with documenting weeds.... but now I HAVE SO MANY FLOWERS, thimbles, anemones, bluestem, benjamins buttons, lazy suzans, blue bonnets, cone flowers

Despite a large portion of my lawn being covered with flowers, I know each square inch intimately. I go out literally every day several times a day to look at them. It has definitely made my spring so much better, I'm not sure if that's the only reason my mental health has gotten so much better, but I do think it helps quite a bit.

I take walks and try to ID native plants around me on inaturalist--birds as well. I saw a bluejay for the first time yesterday (they seem to be far more shy for some reason) and I found a nature trail a 15 min walk from my house that has a series of wetlands which allowed me to spot a whooping crane.

I was asking myself...this year with winter comes along, what can I do to stay healthy and outside? We don't get snow, just gloomy rain and dead trees. I'm thinking about buying berry-producing shrubs that will attract birds in winter as well.

On the bird-friendly berry shrubs, beauty berry is very pretty, and the berries lasted on my neighbor's well into February: https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=caam2

I have a couple of snowberry bushes in my yard and really recommend them. The bees and hummingbirds go wild for the flowers, and the berries are very pretty and elegant looking. The berries lasted until about January or February. https://www.kb.jniplants.com/common-snowberry-symphoricarpos-albus/

[–] [Deleted] 1 points (+1|-0)

Okay you've made my mind up! I've actually been looking at beauty berry for the past couple of months. I couldn't decide over that or possumhaw. Possumhaw is seeming like more and more of a pain as it has to be fertilized by a nearby male, of which I cannot find anywhere. You helped me make my decision. I'll get beauty berry this weekend!

It's so pretty! I've admired my neighbor's all year long, so I'm going to have to get one myself! The berries are like this pretty pop of amethyst in the gloom.

[–] [Deleted] 1 points (+1|-0)

I have a black thumb but a balcony with good exposure and am thinking of garden therapy. My preference is for things I can eat. Any advice.

[–] Prairie 0 points (+0|-0)

Herbs! Most are easy to grow in containers, expensive to buy in the grocery store, lots don’t hold well in the refrigerator and are beautiful looking and smelling.

[–] ellienoire 3 points (+3|-0)

I’m so sad that I currently live in an apartment with no balcony and very little sunlight from windows. Gardening feels so good!

[–] LepistaNuda 4 points (+4|-0)

I just expanded my garden and chicken proofed it by fencing it in with fence rolls my landlord was going to take to the dump. I love this time of year, planting, seeing what is returning from last year, moving things around and designing the garden layout.

It is good therapy and a good way to reset back into reality for awhile. I think everyone these days needs something whether excercise, gardening, hiking, etc to allow for just reconnecting with being human on this planet.

In the meantime, I need more slugbait, little bastards have eaten my daffydils...

[–] CowBird 5 points (+5|-0)

Yes! The rose bushes I planted last year came back, which was expected, but still feels like a miracle. I’ve got tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, beans, and okra ready to start hardening off tomorrow. My little planties are getting ready for the sunny windy world!

Oh man, those are all my fav veggies! I've got beans, corn, collards and squash started and they are going crazy!

[–] sensusquaeram 8 points (+8|-0) Edited

You had me at backyard habitat program!

I've been clearing out the more aggressive invasive species and re-planting native plants, shrubs, and trees for years, along with well-behaved bulbs and flowers, and it is incredibly therapeutic. Our elderberries are beginning to leaf out now -- I completely get what you're feeling. ☺️🌿

(clarity edit)

It's been very rewarding and I highly recommend for everyone to look up to see if there are similar such programs in your area! Even if you just Google what's native to you and have a small pot of something, it's very rewarding.

[–] f_by_nature 8 points (+8|-0)

Nature is just brilliant for grounding and making things feel "real". I'm so glad that your garden is blooming with the coming of spring and that's lifting your spirits.

(also I really love your username!)

Ha! Thank you. I love crows and ravens, and have a very spoiled crow family here at our house. They're my little shadows if I'm outside, and just like to hang out whenever they see us sitting on the deck. I get some pretty withering looks if I'm late with the evening peanuts though!

[–] prumblepuss 12 points (+12|-0)

Absolutely, the garden coming back to life, taking walks and watching greenery poke up from the forest floor, it has really hit differently this year. Finding the strawberry plants that the birds and squirrels planted for me last year while eating all of the berries, placing them in the berry patch. It's harder to be mad at them for the berry stealing when they help me fill out the garden.

I also started up a grow tent in my basement (since it's too cold to plant outside yet where I live), and it's such a rewarding experience to watch those lil sprouts come up. Highly recommend!

[–] [Deleted] 1 points (+1|-0)

Oh my gosh I love hearing about the squirrels planting for you!

I have ants in my yard and have just learned how important they are for seed dispersal and cleanup. They also will take seeds and leave them uneaten, allowing my wildflowers to (hopefully) keep growing past their current border, meanwhile they prey on common pests and till the soil at the same rate as earthworms. They've been eating the sap from my unopened bachelor's buttons and I think they will be just as happy as I am when they finally bloom. There are so many helpers in our gardens!

[–] shewolfoffrance 6 points (+6|-0)

Squirrels are such little scamps. I need to plant some sunflowers and lavender to bring more birds and squirrels to my yard.

Yes! I love just wandering around the garden thinking about what I could plant.

I've been much more motivated generally on warm sunny days. With lockdown I was fed up doing the same brisk walk in the cold, but in the sun you can really enjoy the scenery.

Same! We get out for walks 2-3 times per day, but it's hard to enjoy it when it's constantly peeing down rain and freezing. Obviously grateful to have anywhere to walk at all, but yeah. It's been sunny the last couple of days and suddenly out of nowhere, everything is exploding with blooms. It makes the walks so much nicer, especially all of the cotton candy pink cherry blossoms!

[–] ThisReality 9 points (+9|-0)

Another gardening/nature therapy fan here. Even if there's nothing I need to to with my plants at the moment, I go out at least once a day just to look at them. I love taking walks and looking at plants, seeing if anything is growing wild that I can forage or take one back with me to plant. (keeping local laws and ordinances in mind)

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