Life During Quarantine 21: Gardening Blooms during the Pandemic

I have been looking for the positive side of the Pandemic. Today at my post of Program Director of the Optimists of Coronado (, my speaker was the Superintendent of Schools, Karl Mueller. He had such a wonderful presentation concerning going back to school. It was not is the glass half empty or half full. What a beautiful glass!

In the next weeks, I will cover the subject of Hobbies. t is important to stay resilient and sustain your mental health during quarantine to help you cope. Especially for students the isolation and social distancing we are experiencing to prevent the virus from spreading is leading us to neglect other aspects of our lives, especially health. One way to express we express ourselves is by having a hobby. Whether to begin a new one or rekindle one from our past.

One way that many people are filling their at-home time is by exploring hobbies with a fervor once reserved for, well, all the other stuff they used to do.

For many of us, our primary pastimes used to look something like this: patronizing restaurants, bars, and various “non-essential” businesses. That kind of leisure activity is, of course, all over for the time being. These days, the lucky among us are trapped inside, alternating between stressed, bored, and some kind of new stress-boredom hybrid. One way that many people are filling their at-home time is by exploring hobbies with a fervor once reserved for, well, all the other stuff they used to do. This has led to a new trend in social media: the hobby humblebrag. Part nesting impulse, part distraction, and partially born out of a need for something to help define us, the hobby humblebrag is a well-intentioned, if the sometimes oblivious advertisement of people’s newfound love for things like baking, floral arranging, and jigsaw puzzling.

Many of my friends got into gardening. One friend has been taking care of senior parents and helping them revive their garden. It’s an activity that brought them together, provided an inspiration source for photos and art, and gave them something healthy to eat. Another friend redid their whole lawn! I went to visit a client and they blessed me with the bounty of their garden. You can always seek professional advice like Oviedo gardening and tree experts to help you with your gardening projects. I am thinking the trend to explore gardening has made our world a much more beautiful place! Let’s see what the consensus in the news says!

The 50th anniversary of Earth Day this year coincided with the coronavirus outbreak and, relatedly, rising consumer demand for fruit and vegetable seeds. Big-box retailers such as Lowe’s have had an increase and so have smaller seed companies. Linda Look, the owner of Arkansas-based seed seller The Seed Guy, said she can barely keep up with sales demands.

Spring, of course, is a seed company’s busiest time of year, true; but this year has been unique because of COVID-19,” she said. Let’s remember plants are non-judgmental. Plants are ready to respond to anybody, starting today.

said Flagler, who’s also the school’s agricultural extension agent for Bergen County, a suburban county near me. As an agricultural extension agent, Flagler helps homeowners, garden stores, farmers, nurseries, landscapers, and others with their garden and agricultural efforts. Rather than creating a whole garden, rookie gardeners can begin by putting seeds in pretty much any container, so long as it has drainage at the bottom. If you want to grow a larger plant, like a tomato, or put a couple of plants or flowers together, Flagler said it would be good to start with a bigger container. (That could be something with that’s between one and three feet in diameter, he said. And, again, don’t forget the drainage at the bottom.) Add sun, water and a “positive attitude” and you’re on your way.

The world’s champion for the power of plants’ the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) has pulled together the scientific evidence that shows how gardening and being in the garden will help to keep you well. Gardens provide a place for experiencing nature which is proven to benefit mental health, cognitive functioning, and emotional well-being.

Some of the widely recognized benefits of gardening:

Mood booster.  In a survey conducted by San Francisco area hospitals, 79% of patients felt an increased sense of calm and relaxation after having spent time outdoors in a garden. Another 19% reported feeling more upbeat and positive with their outlook, with an additional 25% citing that they felt stronger and refreshed. Another study, published in the Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, found a correlation with improved mood, more frequent feeling of happiness, and a sense of soothing in the presence of flowers. It turns out that both visual and physical stimuli of working or being in or around a garden increases feel-good chemicals in our brains (such as dopamine and serotonin), improving our mood and mental health.

Reduce anxiety and stress. If there is one thing that we can all agree on, it’s that COVID-19, and its downstream impact on our lives has everyone stressed out and anxious.  In a study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, participants working on tasks involving plants reported feeling more relaxed and comfortable than those working on administrative and computer tasks. Yet another study found in the Journal of Health Psychology found that gardening resulted in a significant decrease in stress and cortisol (stress hormone), with participants subjectively noting an improved mood and positive outlook afterward.

  • Enhanced air quality. Plants, both indoor and outdoor, are natural air purifiers, taking air pollution and carbon dioxide in and releasing oxygen in return. This can aid in improving overall health and well-being while reducing exposure to harsh and dangerous toxins.
  • Exercise in the garden does a body good. Around 80% of adults in the United States fail to be sufficiently active in their day-to-day lives, leading to an increased risk of both physical and mental conditions ranging from high blood pressure and heart disease to obesity, cancer, and depression. Gardening is not only a fun pastime or hobby but it’s also a means to be more active and enjoy all of the benefits that come with it. Keep in mind that regular exercise is key. Plan your days ahead of time and set up a schedule. Know the weather today so you can fit in your gardening time around rain or storms.

A Harvard Medical School study found that just half an hour of gardening activities can burn 135 calories or more while helping to develop motor skills and overall strength. If there is one thing no one wants to do amid the pandemic, it visits the hospital. Fresh air and regular exercise can help make sure you stay safe, healthy, and happy.

“Here in DC, All Things Considered editor Sarah Handel says she’s planting more since the pandemic hit. “This year in our garden we’ve got three different kinds of tomatoes, we’ve got swiss chard, lettuce, sugar snap peas, hot peppers, an onion we replanted from an onion top,” and all kinds of herbs. “More mint than we could ever use,” she jokes. And a fig tree.

But let’s be honest — you’re not going to be able to feed your family from a backyard vegetable patch. So why do we love to grub around in the dirt so much? “People have always gardened in hard times, but food is only one part of that story,” says Jennifer Atkinson. “They’re also motivated by the desire for beauty or contact with nature. Maybe they’re looking for a creative outlet or a sense of community. And there’s immense gratification that comes from work that gives you tangible results.”

And on a final note, it has been said that gardening is like mindfulness.  During a particularly difficult time of my life, I spent a fair amount of time at a local retreat center, Deer Park Monastery. The walking meditation on the mountain through gardens and the like was such solace. I was happy to see that others agreed with me.

“People talk about how [gardening] is a bit like mindfulness, where you enter into a slightly different kind of world, because the pace of it slows down,” Gross said. “You have to change your way of thinking and not become so anxious about things happening quickly.” The sense of control that accompanies gardening may provide relief during the pandemic. Gross said that this pandemic has wrenched away a sense of certainty and control in the world. Gardening provides a way for someone to take back some of that control. “People say, who are gardeners at any time, that for them their garden is a way of managing, a way of coping with difficult things in their lives or stressful things happening at work,” Gross said. “It is something else to think about that’s productive.”

I encourage you if you haven’t added a hobby like gardening to your list of quarantine activities, I highly recommend it!


Cynthia Kosciuczyk, MBA
Cynthia Kosciuczyk, MBA
I took the less-traveled roads which led to many careers. Each of these contributed to my unique mix of expertise: science research, teaching, food, art, and textiles. Owning and operating my own businesses (a bakery, a gallery, and a consulting business) thrust me into the driver seat of learning many diverse roles from customer service to public relations and resulted in my unique management style. Participating in the creation of startups, working in design, and my own businesses and technology endeavors. My quest for knowledge and seeking out the best has turned me into a networking enthusiast. A lifelong passion for textiles and Persian rugs taught me an array of professional skills such as research, writing, and community events. Networking resulted in a multitude of business opportunities. My experiences include Management, Entrepreneurship, Sales, Design, Descriptive Writing, Business Strategy, Color, and Textiles. Every facet of my work and life comes together like pieces of a puzzle. I strive to be a phenomenal networker and problem solver who continues to learn and grow.

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