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Home gardening has taken root and spread across the nation. In a world without theaters, sports events, concerts, and theme parks, tending a garden is the perfect home-based activity for all ages. Whether you’re a furloughed worker, a parent with small children, or a housebound senior, gardening can benefit your body, mind, and soul.

With temperatures getting milder and days getting longer, now is the ideal time to start. And it’s a great way to support local businesses, with garden centers deemed as “essential” by most states. Whether you’re a farmer or a florist at heart, nursery staff are happy to advise what to plant in your local climate and conditions.

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of gardening is getting us outside at a time when we’re all feeling cooped up indoors. Gardening promotes physical health by exposing us to fresh air, sunlight, and a healthy dose of vitamin D. Weeding, digging, and planting burns calories and strengthens the heart; in fact, the CDC says that one hour of gardening can burn 330 calories. The activities of gardening provide a whole-body workout, by using many different muscles and increasing strength, flexibility, and stamina—all without a gym membership.

Case studies show that gardening also improves our mental outlook, by reconnecting us with nature and providing a respite from the challenges of everyday life. The predictable rhythms of gardening can be comforting in uncertain times, and green environments can decrease levels of cortisol, the hormone linked to stress. In turn, gardening activities prompt the release of endorphins, the hormones that help us feel relaxed and content. And inhaling the healthy soil bacteria M. vaccae can increase serotonin, known as the “happiness hormone”—giving a whole new meaning to “a breath of fresh air”!

If that’s not enough to get you digging, consider that gardening rewards us for our efforts, whether it’s the beauty of flowers, the symmetry of a manicured hedge, or the bounty of fresh produce. As the old saying goes, “Gardening is cheaper than therapy—and you get tomatoes.”

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, gardening fosters a sense of faith in the future. Indeed, planting a seed or a sapling is a hopeful thing to do. And what better time for hope?

I awoke in the morning,
thank you God for that.
Arthritic hands; a dull ache.
Back is sore from bending over
to pull weeds, once more.
Reseeded lawn, starting to grow,
Dahlias planted, nothing to show.
Slugs have enjoyed the rain,
eating our Primroses, for breakfast and lunch.
Something the rabbits wont do.
Daffodils are still growing strong;
Tulips are on their last legs.
Soon we will be seeing more color,
but we need some warm weather,
starting today, the weather they say.
Thank you for the beautiful setting,
a most colorful, Spring array.

The black earth, we have in part
of the garden, is rich with the
nutrients needed to grow the beautiful
flowers, that come from bulbs,
of Hyacinth, Tulips and Daffodils.
I plant Perennials, where I can.
Annuals are beautiful but a waste
of money for their short life.
My main task is to water and feed
and to keep all the critters at bay.
The Rabbits love to eat the tops of
Tulips and will bite into a new bud,
which ruins the flower. They don't
eat the Daffodils but the Squirrels
will dig up the bulbs and bury
them in unexpected places.
I now have single Daffodils
in places that I didn't plant.
Sometimes a Tulip will appear alone,
by itself.
A solitary Sentinel.
No matter what volunteer help I
receive, I relish the beauty
that I see.

Working at picking up stray leaves
in the garden space.
I noticed a large branch that was
broken from a Salvia, or "Hot lips"
that was on the ground.
The cause of the break was from the
snow that we had in January.
I cut it from the main trunk,
then cut the branches so I
had a total of 4 branches.
I cut those at an angle and
the branch were green.
I placed the ends into some
Root Hormone powder
and then into pots.
Now I'll see if I have
recaptured my "green
thumb" and if I see new
growth as the weather warms.

Among the paths through
our garden here,
where Perennials planted
far and near.
Daffodils, Tulips, Hellebore ,
Columbine, shades and hues,
Grape Hyacinth; Bluebells too.
Hot lips or Salvia, draw forth,
Humming birds, for nectar sip.
Azaleas in shades of pink,
in this lovely garden space.
Rhododendrons towering above,
bringing colors of purple face
while I till the soil, in this garden space.

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