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Published: March 6, 2024

Rachel planting a tree

This is the time of year when patience starts wear thin for men and women who call themselves gardeners. The official start of spring is still several weeks away and the unofficial start even farther, and memories of colorful blooms and fragrances of past gardens have all but faded.Time for Plan B to help plow through to the other side.

Read and Dream

Flipping through colorful seed catalogs or scrolling through online seed sites cast a spell of sorts, and there’s lots of seed stuff out there.

Here are four favorites from The Garden Glove:

  1. Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company;
  2. Johnny’s Selected Seeds;
  3. Burpee Gardening
  4. Park Seed

For a deeper dive, check out a new gardening book.

Three books recommended by Meghan Shinn, editor of Horticulture are: “The Ultimate Wildlife Habitat Garden” by Stacy Tornio, “What Makes a Garden” by Jinny Blom and “The Garden Journal” by Linda Vater, with nudges and reminders along with room to write notes over five years.

Explore Indoors

One of Cleveland’s best spots to fight off the gardening blues is the Cleveland Botanical Garden. Along with an assortment of exotic and regional plants and trees displayed year-round, the annual Orchids Forever show is now on display through Sunday, March 17.

If you’re heading south consider a stop at the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus or the Krohn Conservatory in Cincinnati.  

Start a small indoor garden with seeds and grow lights, or buy a system such as AeroGarden. You can get a head start on your seeds or just enjoy colorful blooms and tasty herbs during the doldrums.

Plowing through at Kendal

Here’s how Kendal horticulturist Rachel Duncan has been biding her time this winter.

“When I'm not pruning woody plants or cutting back perennials and grasses, I work on planning out the rest of the year. New projects need landscape designing, plant orders need to be organized, and contracted work like plant healthcare treatments and deep soil aeration must be scheduled.

I often walk or drive around campus with a critical eye, looking for gaps in the landscape, plants that aren't thriving, open spaces that beg for a tree, gardens that lack interest during a specific season, etc. Winter months are perfect for planning ways to improve our views by working on plant healthcare programs and planting plans. The effort put into these plans and designs allow us to hit the ground running as soon as the spring weather arrives!”

And finally ….

If you’re a wannabe gardener but fearful of getting dirty – or worse having a brown thumb – maybe 2024 is the year to dig in.

There are lots of benefits to gardening besides the obvious of growing your own flowers and veggies, such as increased physical activity.

“While tending a garden, you perform functional movement that mimics whole body exercise. You perform squats and lunges while weeding. Carrying bags of mulch and other supplies works large muscle groups. Digging, raking and using a push mower can be physically intense activities. You may burn as many calories as a workout in the gym. Gardening also can improve your balance, strength and flexibility,” writes Lisa Wimmer, Nurse Practitioner and avid gardener, for Mayo Clinic Health System.

Other benefits include reduced stress levels, Vitamin D increase from nature’s balm and enhanced social connection.

For help getting started contact your county Ohio State University Extension office, your local part district or ask staff at a nearby nursery or garden store for assistance. Holden Forests & Gardens also offers classes, including a book club.

Check Out Our New Gardening Guide:

Gardening is a great activity at all ages. Get helpful tips here!

Download My Guide

Author Molly Kavanaugh 2020In the past, Molly Kavanaugh frequently wrote about Kendal at Oberlin for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where she was a reporter for 16 years. Now we are happy to have her writing for the Kendal at Oberlin Community.

About Kendal at Oberlin: Kendal is a nonprofit life plan community serving older adults in northeast Ohio. Located about one mile from Oberlin College and Conservatory, and about a 40 minute drive from downtown Cleveland, Kendal offers a vibrant resident-led lifestyle with access to music, art and lifelong learning.