Share your spring garden with others

Stuck at home with the weather improving and time on their hands, many Victorians to taken to their gardens to cope with lockdown.

Nurseries are run off their feet, Instagram is full of budding green thumbs and front yards are a festival of colour. The Age wants to give our readers a chance to share their tulip triumphs and resplendent roses with us and each other. Using the form below we invite our readers to send us picture of their gardens and tell us how tending their gardens has helped to get through a difficult year.

University of Western Australia historian and associate professor Andrea Gaynor says that throughout history people have turned to gardening in times of crisis, particularly vegetable gardening.

"Growing your own food has always increased during times of social or economic insecurity, there is a desire to be self-sufficient," she says.

Gaynor says that was seen again as the pandemic prompted panic buying leading to food insecurities.

"People were worried about food disappearing, there was a direct anxiety," she says.

Carlton GardensCredit:Eddie Jim

Charity group Sustain Australia conducted a survey recently found one in four respondents have grown significantly more food since Covid and that 38 per cent felt less stressed or anxious when gardening.

This hobby has also encouraged online gardening communities, Dr Gaynor says.

"People grow their own food and then they have something to share on social media and engage with other people who are doing similar things," she says.

Botanical Gardens Credit:Jason South

Montrose gardening expert Natalie Buttenshaw, who works with The Seed Collection, says she’s seen a huge spike in seed sales since April, fuelled by food insecurities.

"The pandemic prompted panic buying leading to a shortage in supermarkets, so a lot of people turned to growing their own fruit and vegetables so they can be self-sufficient," she says.

Buttenshaw says the rising cost of produce is also a driving factor in the gardening boom.

"Australians are paying a lot for convenience of having produce available all year round, it’s affordable for people to purchase a range of seeds and grow their own food," she says.

Botanical Gardens Credit:Jason South

Buttenshaw says she’s also seen an increase in orders for sprouts and microgreens by beginner gardeners.

"It’s perfect for people in Metropolitan Melbourne with limited backyard space, also people with young children, as growing sprouts is a fun and easy activity," she said.

This rewarding hobby is also helping Victorians pass time and relieve stress amid Covid-19 lockdowns, Buttenshaw says.

St Kilda Botanical Gardens Credit:Simon Schluter

"Gardening helps to connect people back to the environment, gets them out into fresh air and sunlight, it helps people relax, they can watch the change of seasons rather than feeling that time has passed them by," she says.

The hobby is also allowing Victorians to connect with others whilst restrictions still apply, Buttenshaw says.

"People are coming together with gardening as their new hobby and it’s a great way to connect with other people who have similar interest whilst in lockdown," she says.

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