I wonder how many people would like to have had the opportunity to learn to garden, plant flowers or grow their own fruit and vegetables, but have never had the time? Time was something we were always short of. We had to rush to work or drop off kids, returning tired or anxious ready for the next day. Even in lockdown when time outside the house needs to be limited there is no better opportunity to learn a new hobby, and appreciating nature is great place to start. But how, do you ask?

If you are finding that you have a bit more time on your hands, why not search online for your local garden center and purchase some plants. Many garden centres are suffering financial hardship as a result of the pandemic and are using social media to sell their plants and seeds. There are also tutorials online to help people learn how to choose and plant seasonal fruit, vegetables and flowers. Can we hear the birds singing the songs of hope? Green seedlings start somewhere, let it be today.

If you don’t have a large garden space you can use plant pots to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs on a patio, balcony or window sill. You grow anything from parsley to potatoes to juicy strawberries. If you are lucky enough to have a bit more outdoor space, you could even plant an apple or plum tree. How wonderful would it be to see them grow – organic, fresh and deliciously nourishing. There is nothing like good food which is organic, especially if has come from your back garden.

Cooking doesn’t have to be a chore and this might also be a good time to spend a bit more time doing it. We can take this opportunity to reconnect and start to build that relationship with food we all need. Why not try a new recipe? Find one online or make up your own.

So let us make now the time to sow the seed of discovery and exploration. The sounds of nature are calling us to friendship so let us all flourish together. Thank you.

By Toqueer Ahmed Quyyam, Outreach Campaigner with Birmingham Friends of the Earth

Local garden centres that are selling online:

1. Pacific Nurseries, Chester Road, Streetly

2. Kitchen Garden Cafe and Shop, Kings Heath
www.facebook.com/kitchengardencafe; www.kitchengardencafe.co.uk

3. Bournville Garden Centre, Bournville

Online gardening tutorials:

1. Gardening 101: How to Start a Garden

2. 10 Herbs You Can Grow Indoors on Kitchen Counter

3. No Backyard? No Problem. 10 of the Easiest Vegetables You Can Grow in Containers

4. How to Plan a Low-Cost Vegetable Garden