As most of the world continues to shelter in place this spring, plants are proving their worth more than ever. In the northern hemisphere, spring has sprung and Mother Nature is doing her thing, but we celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day this year in virtual space while practicing self-quarantine at home in the face of the novel coronavirus.
Especially for urban dwellers without big yards or gardens, houseplants are playing a huge role in our efforts to remain healthy, happy, and calm. Meanwhile, as rampant unemployment and food uncertainty increase, demand for vegetable seeds has skyrocketed, and The Washington Post recently reported that seed companies are flush with orders. We are seeing a resurgence of what were once known as victory gardens.
Victory gardens, a term attributed to George Washington Carver, were vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens planted at private residences and public parks in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Germany during World War I and World War II. These governments encouraged people to plant edible gardens to boost morale as well as to supplement food rations.
Here at Science Connected, we asked our reader how plants are helping them withstand the crisis. Your responses were rapid, beautiful, and inspirational. We are excited to share those submissions now because this article is made possible by you and your springtime plants!
Indoor Orchids in Scandinavia
Carlemi Calitz is taking solace in orchids at home in Sweden.
My name is Carlemi Calitz, and orchids are my favorite indoor plants. I love them as they are a living contradiction, simplistic in nature yet strikingly beautiful—a few single branches with beautiful iridescent flowers that command your attention. They brighten up all the rooms I have them in. They are the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning and the last before I close my eyes. They create a serene setting that is both inviting and relaxing. For this reason I also like to present them as gifts to friends to share in this beauty.
Springtime Plants, Veggie Sprouts
Mackenzie Myers is enjoying sprouting seeds to grow her own veggies at home in Michigan.
“I’ve started seeds for Swiss chard, romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, pickling cucumbers, peppers, and cilantro! Between self-isolating, finally having room for a garden, and dreaming of spring (it snowed here in Michigan this week), tending to these little guys has been a wonderful way to stay busy and hopeful.”
Deutsche Welle. (n.d.). A brief guide to German garden colonies: DW: 30.05.2018. Retrieved from https://www.dw.com/en/a-brief-guide-to-german-garden-colonies/a-39133787
Higgins, A. (2020, March 30). An onslaught of orders engulfs seed companies amid coronavirus fears. Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/home/an-onslaught-of-orders-engulfs-seed-companies-amid-coronavirus-fears/2020/03/27/5a19ccca-6ec7-11ea-aa80-c2470c6b2034_story.html
Pack, C. L. (2016). The war garden victorious. Middletown, DE: publisher not identified.
Stone, K. (2020, April 21). Join in Earth Day 2020. Retrieved from https://magazine.scienceconnected.org/2020/04/join-in-earth-day-2020/
Zarate, D. (2020, April 15). Spring in the Time of Coronavirus. Retrieved from https://magazine.scienceconnected.org/2020/04/spring-in-the-time-of-coronavirus/