By Wayne Mezitt
Most of us have now been confined to our homes far too long, forced to draw upon our personal-creativity resources to keep from being bored, with excessive opportunities to contemplate. But as depressing as April’s cool, damp, mostly-cloudy weather may have been for us humans, it has been a truly glorious period for the green constituents in our gardens.
Experts agree that early spring, before many growth and flower buds open, is the ideal time for managing plants, trees and shrubs. Moist soil enhances a plant’s ability to thrive; our recent more-than-weekly rainfall reduces significantly the necessity to add water to the root zones of our new plantings. Getting their roots firmly attached to their surrounding soil now will reduce the need for summer water applications, when the weather inevitably turns dry.
Fortunately (when the weather cooperates!) our venturing outdoors is generally not restricted. And when we observe social guidelines, many outdoor activities can be inspiring as well as healthy. Personally, my wife and I are spending many hours “playing” around our yard: pruning, mulching, transplanting and getting new plants installed exactly where we want them. We also benefit from driving through neighborhoods, observing how spring is progressing in people’s front yards, even getting some new ideas about our own yard.
I find cool temperatures comfortable for working, with fewer annoying insect pests: black flies, gnats, mosquitoes, etc. have yet to emerge. Covering my arms and legs is more comfortable now and helps reduce abrasion and skin irritation handling tools and heavier plants. And since my visits to the gym are now restricted, I appreciate the invigorating physical activity of gardening.
At-home schooling can be an unfamiliar experience for many parents, so scheduling outdoor gardening activities with kids is both healthy (physically and mentally) and productive. And adding interest to our yard turns out to be a prudent financial investment as well: real estate professions will document that a good-looking landscape significantly enhances the value of any home.
We can’t yet know how long the current limitations on our movements will continue. But everything we can do now around our yards will help make our summer gardens more enjoyable. We’re also probably saving money from restrictions on our normal social activities: what a great opportunity to invest in enjoyment of our home.
And who knows, this may be another summer when many families choose a “staycation” instead of travel—having an attractive yard around the home will certainly help enhance that situation!
Wayne Mezitt is a 3rd generation nurseryman, a Massachusetts Certified Horticulturist, now chairman of Weston Nurseries of Hopkinton, Chelmsford & Hingham MA, and owner of “Hort-Sense”, a horticultural advisory business. He currently serves in various capacities on several horticulturally-related organizations, including the Massachusetts Horticultural Society at The Gardens at Elm Bank in Wellesley MA, and chairman for the Massachusetts Invasive Plant Advisory Group (MIPAG).