MEMPHIS, Tenn — If you spent more time in the garden over the last year, you are not alone. Gardening bloomed during the pandemic with more people spending time at home.
People that discovered their green thumbs say they have plans to keep with it this spring.
“Gardening really was one of the bright spots for me. I think partly just being outside in the sunshine was very helpful," Liz Kinnmark said.
Kinnmark is one of the many people for whom gardening as a hobby grew out of the pandemic.
"There is just also something nourishing about connecting with plants and having your hands in the dirt," she said. "It was sort of like a restful activity when a lot of things in my life were very stressful.”
For LaToya Chavers, gardening had always been a hobby, but during the pandemic, she said, is when her garden flourished. She spent a lot of time in the garden, so much time that it became a business adventure for her on top of her career.
“It’s important for people to know that you can grow your own food," she said. "You don’t have to go to the grocery store all of the time. You can grow in your backyard or your balcony.”
She started Container Gardening with Toya LLC to show others that they can grow food in small spaces, whether it's a small backyard or an apartment balcony. All they need is sunlight, a container and potting soil, she said.
“Most of the people that I talk to are brand new gardeners and they are just starting and they don’t know what to do, but because of food desserts and they’re working from home, it’s a good idea," she said. "I think that’s been on a lot of people’s mind to start a garden.”
For budding gardeners like Kinnmark, the journey started when she was doing work on her new studio location on Lamar Ave. for her business Bendy Beast Fitness. She was working on fixing up the overgrown grass and weeds surrounding the building.
That was right before the pandemic hit and shuttered her in-person classes for the next year.
"Once COVID hit, I had just sort of given a taste of gardening and I realized it was something I could still do," she said. “I probably would have had a little fun with it, but it really became a creative outlet during COVID."
Now, you'd never know that area was overgrown by the flowers that surround it. It hasn't only brought joy to Kinnmark but also for the community that pass by it.
Kinnmark said she reopens her business for the first time this Saturday but gardening will stick with her.