If the pandemic has taught us one thing, it’s to look after our mental health. If it’s taught us another, it’s to look out for others’ wellbeing at the same time. Having been vulnerable to depression and anxiety in my youth, these days I consider myself fairly robust. Even so, at the start of this week I found myself welling up every time anyone said anything nice to me. This took me by surprise; after all, what do I have to complain about? Yet when one considers everything that’s happening in the world right now, it should not be a surprise to anyone that negative feelings might occasionally catch them unawares. The trick is to read the signs and do something about it pronto, rather than wallow. My response is always to get out of the house for some fresh air, even if that only involves crossing the road to the bakery for a sneaky sausage roll.
Us gardeners are fortunate in that we need scant encouragement to go outdoors and generate a little Vitamin D. Gentle exercise is good for us, of course, but as a source of escape, distraction and hope there’s little to rival our garden or allotment. Searching for signs of spring can keep us amused for hours during the winter months. I spent most of the day pottering about outside and not once did I give work pressures, viruses or lockdown a second thought. None of them have gone away, but giving one’s brain a break from any source of worry or negativity is absolutely essential in these uncertain times. I hope it will also make for an excellent night’s sleep.
Today we finished planting the tulips. Should you have the odd bag of unplanted bulbs hanging about, now’s the time to take action. Tulips will be perfectly happy planted now, daffodils will be less forgiving, but it’s still worth a try.
Before I came inside I counted the terracotta pots in the jungle garden bulb ‘stadium’: we have eighty-eight in total. Given each is home to around twenty-five bulbs, that’s at least 2,200 blooms we can look forward to between March and May. This should be quite a spectacle in a space no more than twenty feet by thirty feet. Planting seeds, bulbs and trees are activities charged with hope and anticipation. Depending on your needs and circumstances, you can do no better than to undertake one of these pursuits if you’re feeling the slightest bit blue. In just a few weeks there will be new leaves, rapid growth ……. perhaps flowers ……. and the whole world will seem better for them. TFG.