The ongoing pandemic has had a profound effect on humanity. Meetings, events and appointments were canceled, creating a lot of free time on calendars.

As an alternative, some folks simply went outside and spent time with nature in their gardens as a method of therapy because, as they say, “gardening has not been canceled.” 

Since the 1800s, the calming effects of the people-plant connections through horticultural therapy has been documented and proven. More specifically, horticultural-therapeutic landscaping has been used to assist those with physical disabilities and provide mental health benefits. Even if a disability is not involved, there are upsides and advantages for spending quality time in the yard and garden.

According to many experts, consider the following gardening benefits:

  • Improves physical health: Provides low- to moderate-intensity physical activity, builds strength, supplements your body’s Vitamin D via exposure to sunlight.
  • Improves mental health: Strengthens attention and memory; increases happiness; reduces stress, anxiety, tension and depression; heals and empowers; provides a sense of responsibility; boosts levels of serotonin and dopamine.
  • Connects us to nature: Helps us to relax and let go, to live in the present, and to see the big picture.
  • Produces homegrown vegetables and fruits that are extra nutritious in vitamins and minerals.
  • Provides flowers for decoration.

First and foremost, gardening is easy. Anyone can do it. But we must be cognizant of our own strengths and weaknesses. Consider the time, effort and budget you wish to commit and start searching for ideas.

There are multiple ways to do so: Search the internet, stroll through nurseries, or simply walk through your neighborhood and see what others are doing and have done. 

Unlike many activities to get started, it does not take a big space, a lot of time or a large budget. Don’t have a yard? Consider decorating a patio with container plants. It can provide a sense of control.

Is time an issue? Set mini goals and take on as much or as little time as you choose. Tight budget? Look around the house and yard for used stuff. The reuse of old items (containers, pots, vases, lumber, stones, etc.) can be both economical as well as creative, decorative and unique. 

Consider it a multi-generational teaching opportunity. Looking for things to do with your children and/or grandchildren that all of you can do and will enjoy? Encourage them to get outside and connect with nature by planting a seed, a shrub or even a tree. Or teach them how to grow a vegetable garden.

It does not take long to do the work, nor to see the results. Be choosy and pick scents, colors and foods that make you happy.  

Thank you to Tulsa County Master Gardeners for their expertise in this subject matter. Allen Robinson has been a Master Gardener since 2010.

Master Gardeners’ Lunch and Learn Series goes virtual

Each year, the Tulsa Master Gardeners host informative sessions about practical gardening topics. Because of COVID-19, the group has taken presentations to a virtual format, available through the Facebook pages of Tulsa Master Gardeners and Tulsa Central Library.

Presentations are from noon-12:45 p.m., and are free of charge. For more information, visit

March 9

Let’s get your veggie gardens ready

March 16

How to grow beautiful veggies in containers

March 23

Grow your garden with heirloom seeds

March 30

Grow herbs for wonderful flavors

April 6

How to grow beautiful tomatoes

April 13

Attracting pollinators to your garden

Upcoming events

Spring is around the corner and several community garden events are scheduled. As always, confirm event information with organizer prior to attending.

Through March 31:

Tulsa Master Gardeners Online Plant Sale

Contact-free pickup on April 22 at Tulsa Fairgrounds Exchange Center

April 9-10:

SpringFest To-Go

Drive-thru pickup at Tulsa Garden Center 

April 17:

Sand Springs Herbal Affair

Downtown Sand Springs

April 24:

Jenks Herb and Plant Festival

Main Street, Jenks

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