Should you keep a garden?

Well, like everything, it depends. However, my immediate answer based on my personal experience would be yes. When I was working at the office before the pandemic, I tried to make it feel homely by bringing some office plants. It worked pretty well. When the lockdown was announced, I quickly had to run to get all the plants back to my room (as well as all my lab mates who could not make it to collect them).

Stuck at home, this little garden proved to be not only a very welcoming distraction but also improved my living and working environment, as well as my mood. I felt happier with some green life around me, so I started seeding and experimenting with more varieties of plants.

Thanks to the garden society, I also had a handy group chat to consult when I found myself baffled by some new development appearing on my little greens. It was a great way to connect and learn. Quickly, my small garden became a project. Here some tips I learned:

What to plant? How to choose

Think about what you can seed or keep. Research and experiment 🙂 If you don’t have much time or are starting up, you may want to go for more resilient and less time-consuming types like cactus or aloe vera.

You may want to get plants that are already grown a little, so you don’t have to start from the seed. Something that is indoor friendly and hard to kill. With this, I don’t mean you can stop taking care of your plants. You can absolutely kill a cactus (I have seen it). But some are not as delicate. As you progress, you might want to move onto more complicated stuff.

My first plants were basically weeds. What I had seeded did not grow, and a new bush basil-looking plant grew in its place. It was so pretty I continued caring for it. I then ended up planting new ones from the vegetables I ate. Many of them did not work out, but some did. Onions grew very well, and I found their flowers very pretty.

^^ Some of the plants I am keeping (not all mine, some I am keeping for others) and the flowers growing out of my onions… they are so pretty…

Location. Big spaces are good but not fundamental!

Whether a room, flat or house, search for the best place to put plants. Where could they get the best sunlight? The best temperature? In my case, I place all my plants near the few windows I have access to, which allows them the best chance for fresh air and sunlight. Of course, it will all depend on the type of plants you have. Some don’t like direct sunlight at all.

Budget… It is not necessary to spend a lot of money!

At some point, you may want to invest some money in your garden. However, don’t rush to start buying things! You can keep being sustainable. Many everyday items like bottles and jars can work as pots. I recently walked past the Korean restaurant Gooi Nara and saw that they have repurposed plastic bottles and agree growing something on their shop window. Second-hand items also work great. Take a look online to avoid unnecessary expenses.

What if I don’t have any room/time?

I think that almost any room has a place for a plant. Some are so small that they can fit anywhere and require little care. However, if keeping any plant is completely impossible for you, there are other things you can do. Reading (and particularly Whiteknights campus) has a lot of green spaces to appreciate. Now springtime offers the chance to see a lot of blooming.

There are some apple and pear trees near my house with beautiful flowers, and I have been collecting pictures of them.

^^ Some lovely flowers I have seen around my house. Can you guess which two are the pear and apples ones? It may not be that easy 😊

So, should you keep a garden? If you can and enjoy the experience, I think it is a great idea. Having a few plants around is a nice hobby and can make your living environment much nicer. However, even if you can’t make your own garden, there are still many chances around to appreciate flora!

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