When the tough gets going, do the tough start growing? In the case of gardeners, yes. 100% categorically, yes.
Covid-19 has coincided with a thankful lull (well, looking on the bright side there has to be some good news to be pleased for at the moment) in the 5th wettest winter in the UK since records began but more importantly, it has coincided with the start of the growing season. Spring is the season when gardeners are at their most manically busy; getting the garden up and running after any winter is always a huge task but getting the garden up and running after months and months of wet weather when it is still nigh on impossible to step on the ground for fear of compacting it is much harder.
The race is on to chase the daylight. An increase in three or so minutes every day turns into an hour and a half in a month and as the light increases so does the plant growth. Covid-19 or no Covid-19 plants grow at this time of year at a rate, in some cases that you can almost see. Trees blossom, bulbs push forth and it is the time to sow and propagate for the summer ahead. Whether you sow and germinate those seeds on a kitchen windowsill or in a large fancy greenhouse doing so is always exciting. No matter how many times I do this I am taken back to my childhood where my mother covered all (and I mean ALL) the windowsills in little propagation trays, often spreading out onto boards that my Dad would span between the sills when the seedlings had been potted on and more space was needed.
The smell of warm compost inside the house for some would just be downright weird but I loved it and I still do. Gardeners have always known that the process of propagation is hugely satisfying and enjoyable but in these deeply troubled times this act of germination, growth and regeneration speaks volumes as to how we will pull ourselves back together once the heavy cloak of isolation is eventually lifted. For some, hunkering down in front of the TV or immersing yourself in a good book and living life through the eyes of others is their happy place. For gardeners it is the potting shed, bench, kitchen worktop, windowsill, indeed any level space that allows the mixing and spreading of compost with ease. Tear a seed packet open, sow it, add water, shelter and sunlight, prick out, pot on and enjoy. Maybe when the flowers bloom and the vegetables ripen, we will be back out into the world relishing our freedom again and planting out what we have sown and cared for during these times of isolation. For now, my #newnormal (or perhaps sanity) is a little mini greenhouse, some seeds, bulbs and tubers and a hope that these plants, like the rest of us will soon be hardy (or well) enough to be allowed outside where they will thrive. That said, I think the Cosmos may have already bolted… I didn’t say it would be easy!