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Amid pandemic, gardens help people’s spirits grow

Updated October 15, 2020 - 11:50 am

Fall has started in Boulder City and even though temperatures are higher than normal and the pandemic is still around, the time is right to try something new. Like gardening.

“It’s a great outlet for people right now, emotionally and spiritually. … It’s an excellent time to start a garden,” said Cheryl Waites, an avid local gardener.

A garden doesn’t have to be large or expensive in order to provide that relief for someone.

“The easiest thing to do would be something small like an herb garden,” said Waites.

Herb plants are inexpensive and can be found at most grocery stores, hardware stores and nurseries. They are small and can be put on a porch or windowsill to grow if there is no available yard area.

True Value Home Hardware & Variety in Boulder City has seen an increased demand for plants and gardening supplies since the pandemic started.

“Our spring was like we’ve never seen before. … Everybody was doing a garden, I think,” said Manager Sherrie Perrone.

Perrone said since fall started, plants are selling but not as many as in the spring.

Waites suggested novice gardeners start with different combinations of herbs for the holidays.

“Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme are a great herb garden for Thanksgiving,” she said. “Basil, oregano and chives are a good one for Christmas.”

Waites said another option is to create a “little box garden” with vegetables.

“Veggies are good, especially greens,” she said.

Waites said radishes, clover, alfalfa and lettuce are all easy to grow in a box garden.

“It’s like growing your own little salad,” she added.

People can also start a garden by collecting seeds from vegetables they buy from the grocery store.

The seeds from pumpkins, peppers and watermelons can be dried for a few weeks and then planted at a later time.

“You can start a new garden with all the produce you bring home,” said Waites.

Waites said gardens attract birds, insects, butterflies, bees and other pollinators to the area, which is good for the environment. According to the National Park Service, a pollinator is anything that helps carry pollen from the male part of the flower to the female part of the same or another flower. They are important because they help stabilize soil, clean the air, supply oxygen and support wildlife.

Milkweed is another option for starting a garden, and it helps bring birds, insects and caterpillars to the area.

“You can get a milkweed and have that in a pot and that hosts monarch caterpillars,” said Amanda Crinigan, social media specialist for the Red Rock Audubon Society. “It will attract other insects that are going to be eaten by other birds. Hummingbirds will feed at milkweed flowers. And then when we have orioles that come through, typically during migration season … (they) use those milkweed fibers for their nests.”

Waites said she usually rearranges her garden when fall starts to make room for bird nests. She also said fall is a good time to plant trees if you want to try something larger.

To help people learn more about gardening and how to start one, Waites is holding the “Autumn Day in the Garden” from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 24, at the community gardens, 300 Railroad Ave. She said there will be garden workshops, safely distanced garden activities, a plant sale and projects to take home.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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