If you’re anything like me, you probably took up a few new hobbies during the pandemic. Anything to pass the time and serve as a healthy distraction from the virus. Like many, I decided to focus some of my time on sprucing up my gardens and planting some flowers. I figured sunshine, physical labor, and getting my hands dirty was good for my mind, body, and soul. It also seemed like something my small children could help me with, and over time it could become a family hobby. My almost 4-year old enjoyed helping dig the holes, rake the dirt, and use the watering can. He eagerly checks on the garden with me daily and happily reports the sprouting of new flowers (as well as which ones “don’t look so good.”)
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Although I personally just stuck to flowers so far, I know many people who have started full backyard vegetable gardens and have begun growing their own food in response to possible food shortages due to the virus. I am hoping to add some potted herbs such as basil and mint this summer, and aspire to something bigger and better next spring.
A simple google search can provide you with plenty of tips and step-by-step guides for starting a garden if you’re a gardening newbie like myself. I found this article by Better Homes and Gardens a good start. I definitely think adding some organic composting soil helped improve my plants and flowers, as well as watering daily (unless it rains) and making sure to put your plants in the proper sun/shade spot. I’ve found the PlantSnap and SmartPlan apps helpful for identifying different plants and flowers and making sure they are in the right location and receiving the right care.
Now that Rhode Island is into Phase 2 of reopening, most nurseries and garden supply shops are open and people are able to safely shop for all their planting needs. Whether you simply want to plant a couple of flowers, or go full-on raised bed “victory garden,” here are a few local spots that can help with all your gardening needs.
This colorful flower shop with greenhouses is open and ready to make your vibrant floral dreams come true. They’ve got a wide variety of indoor and outdoor plants and flowers and are open for customers to shop (with restrictions and masks.) Curbside pickup and delivery are also available. Call 401-596-1785 or visit pleasantacresflorist.com
130 Franklin Street, Westerly, RI
A top-notch Wedding and event florist, garden supply and gift shop, and landscaping operation, Broadview has all you could want and more. Their Instagram feed shows off some of their prettiest blooms, including two of my favorites – Hydrangeas and Gerber Daisies. Currently, their indoor shop is closed, but their outdoor displays are open and both curbside pickup and delivery are available. You can order online at broadviewgardencenter.com
5 Langworthy Road, Westerly, RI
This gardening center has everything you need to get growing. From soil to fertilizer to veggies, herbs, trees, shrubs, flowers, and more. They are open and allowing customers to come shop in-person, but are also offering a variety of options to make shoppers more comfortable, including call ahead for order pickup, paying by credit card over the phone, drive up to browse pre-made displays and free home delivery. Visit their website at stoningtongardens.com
154 Lantern Hill Road, Mystic, CT
So tell me, what hobby have YOU taken up during the pandemic? If you’re a gardener (or fellow gardener-in-training) what did you plant this year? Any tips? Please share it with us in the comments!