Senior Environmental Educator, Inniswood Metro Gardens
April is Gardening Month and the perfect time to get outside and see what’s blooming in your Metro Parks. A stroll through Inniswood Metro Gardens will awaken your inner gardener. While some of us take plants for granted, the staff at Inniswood works hard to cultivate beautiful gardens for everyone to enjoy.
Gardens and plants enhance our lives in various ways like when we toss a ball with our kids on grassy fields, eat big salads or sniff the air near blooming trees. Plants also save our lives. In order to have clean air full of oxygen, plants need to continue growing. They play a critical role in protecting water quality and as the producers in our food web, they are vital to life, since plants are the only thing that can make their own (food) energy.
As an act of gratitude for all that plants do for us, consider becoming a gardener. There’s no better time for that than during the National Gardening Month in April. In Ohio, April is when we see dormant plants begin to sprout new leaves and flowers. Tree buds swell and pop open and new green leaves emerge from the ground recently covered in snow. At Inniswood, we brainstorm what ‘new’ plants we can grow this year.
The easiest gateway to gardening is making observations. Spend some time each day watching trees and animals. By doing so, you can increase your interest, build confidence in your gardening abilities and boost your mood. Perhaps you haven’t really looked at a tree in your yard or never noticed a plant you may pass by on your way to school or work. Taking a few minutes to look and listen will help connect you to nearby gardens and plants. Studies have shown that even being near plants helps speed up recovery times for those with illnesses. Picking up litter is another great way to celebrate gardens. Trash has no place in gardens. A visit to a Metro Park can help you make observations, learn something new and you may even get to plant something.
Check out these top five ways to be a gardener this month:
1. Observe a tree in your neighborhood.
2. Observe birds as they use plants for nest building this month.
3. Pick up litter.
4. Learn about plants at a Metro Park.
5. Plant something.
Gardens can be large or small, indoors or outdoors or public or private. Gardens are literally described as spaces for plants to grow. They often become an oasis for people. Gardens also provide vital habitats for bees, bats, butterflies birds, and other animals. You don’t need to actively grow plants to be a gardener. A gardener advocates for, respects and appreciates plants. Be a gardener this month and every month.