Inspiration for using your garden during the pandemic

Inspiration for using your garden during the pandemic

In March 2020, when the UK went into national lockdown, schools and businesses closed, and travel was not allowed except for work and essential shopping. Many parents found themselves trapped in the home with children who needed entertaining. The weather smiled favourably on them and was somewhat warmer than we would have expected for the time of the year.

For those families fortunate enough to have a garden, this was the lifeline that they needed. Not only was it a place for children to let off a little steam whilst sticking to the lockdown rules but also a great place to escape to when things got difficult or just somewhere to relax.

The importance of fresh air

We already know that getting regular exercise can be very beneficial for health, but at the beginning of the lockdown the scientists and medical experts assisting the government made a point of mentioning how important getting fresh air was. In fact, in the UK, we were still permitted to go out for fresh air, either through taking a short walk or cycle ride, where other countries only allowed people outside with a special permit. Fresh air is of benefit not only for physical health but also to mental health as well, something that for many people became a real issue during the lockdown.

What can you do in a garden?

The garden is often thought of as an extension of the home. It is much more than simply a space for children to play or where you can garden.

On a beautiful summer’s morning it can make a great place to do your morning exercises. All you need is a little peace and quiet and your exercise mat. If you have a large enough garden, you could even set up a simple tennis net and have a game of tennis with your children; and with a little imagination there are a number of other sports and activities that would work well in a garden.

If you were fortunate enough to already have weatherproof outdoor furniture for your garden, then this made a great place to attempt some of the schoolwork that your children might have been given in the early part of the lockdown – before virtual lessons were setup. This not only made lessons a little more interesting for children who had been robbed of their normal routine but also gave parents who suddenly found themselves trying to work from home for the first time the opportunity to adjust to their new routines without having the children in the same room.

The wonderful weather also made the garden a great place to be to eat meals, particularly if you had a large table and chairs, and if you didn’t with the addition of a picnic rug lunchtimes suddenly became much more exciting.

Nature lessons

It wasn’t just sales of garden furniture that increased during the lockdown, seeds, gardening tools and all manner of gardening items were very high on peoples lists as they realised that if they were going to spend more time in their gardens that they wanted to make them look nicer. This gave children the opportunity to learn all about plants and growing with many planting a range of different vegetable seeds in plant pots and nurturing them before finally being able to plant them out in the garden and watch the fruits of their labour grow. Without realising it parents were teaching their children valuable life skills whilst trying to keep them occupied, and children loved it.

Whilst we might, hopefully, not find ourselves confined to our gardens next summer, hopefully this newfound love of growing will stay with this generation of children for many years, leading us to spend more time in our gardens.

Joanna Webster