Gardening with Em

While we are all dealing with these rather different times I assume the majority of you are spending a lot of time at home. Thus resulting in too many snacks, multiple cups of warm beverages, trying to juggle work around the kids or maybe you are enjoying the slow down from our busy lifestyles. Whatever your current situation I thought it was fitting to inspire you all to get outside into the garden, get dirty and get happy.

Appreciating nature

I for one have really appreciated slowing down, it’s given me time to be able to just potter in my own garden for once. Slowing down gives you the opportunity to really stop and notice the treasures and wonders around us. Try spending time at different parts of the day to observe the wildlife around you; this will give you an understanding of the creatures you share your home with. Do you have larger birds hanging around the garden or do you see smaller birds? How many species can you spot? Perhaps you could offer some habitat to attract smaller birds or maybe make room for plants that will encourage seed or nectar eating animals? Or maybe you can install a nesting box to encourage species that need hollows?

Don’t forget your bugs too. Pay attention to what you find in your garden. Pests are often followed closely by their predators and nature is magnificent in balancing out problems. Provide local flowering species and they will reward you by enticing pollinators that will make your productive garden flourish and entice predatory species like mantids, silver eyes, native wasps and ladybugs to keep those pesky pests down and provide an alternative to using pesticides.

Green and Healthy

Gardening is great exercise, shovelling, pruning, raking and weed pulling are great, they get the heart rate up and this type of work really builds up a sweat. Please ensure you wear protective gear and take care of you back though! Moving your body is an effective way of boosting mood and it helps to lower stress and anxiety.

I find it hard to ‘just exercise’ as I need purpose to what I am doing so gardening is great as its fun plus I am creating something for others and I get to watch it grow and transform.

Try researching the type of environment your property exists on and what plants grow in your local area and go for a walk/jog to see what else you can find. It’s a lot of fun and you can still visit local nurseries. This gets you out of the house, investigating your local environment and learning new things you may not have known before.

Regardless of the extent to which individuals feel or perceive, research has indicated that simply spending time in nature is beneficial to human health.

Connecting with Others

There a many things that can boost our moods, some are short term like a block of chocolate whereas others like good relationships are much longer lasting. Gardening offers plenty of opportunities to connect with others.

Why not start a verge garden and get your neighbour involved? Better yet get the whole street involved. Verge plantings are wonderful additions, but ensure you do a little research and check with your local council about regulations and guidelines for verge planting. I believe rejuvenating that little strip of wasteland and turning it into a dynamic area of green space that feeds us, feeds local wildlife, creates a safe habitat for fauna and helps to mitigate the urban heat island effect is so much more beneficial than a lawn that does nothing but requires maintenance.

It is easily achievable to grow a verge garden that encourages wildlife and it helps them to venture into your garden too. Native plants provide refuge, food, pollen and a place to breed. Always remember the greater diversity of plants the greater the variety of life.

There are many online resources you can look at not to mention nurseries around your local area that can provide you with a plant palette that suits all creatures. So get together and get gardening.


Okay, so take a deep breath, slow down, and reconnect with nature. Take pleasure in the simple things in life! The delight of sowing seeds then expectantly waiting for the first seedlings to pop up; the satisfaction that comes from a beautiful bed of vegetables after a weeding session; the joy of seeing a Honeyeater visit your newly planted Banksia; or the elation of seeing a critter visit the nestbox you installed. Be mindful. Be present in the moment. Slow down and take the time to think about what you’re doing and the wonderful results of it.

Look after yourself, each other and our ‘non-human’ others too.


Written by Em Bowman from STEM Landscape Architecture & Design | | Studio 3, 1/177 Beavers Road, Northcote, 3070, Vic.

 and   @birdsinbackyards
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