Early signs of spring abound. Robins are beginning to return; bulbs beginning to burst through the ground. But the nights and some days still hold onto the lingering chill of winter, keeping many people indoors. This March, bring the early signs of spring indoors to put smiles on people’s faces and a sense of renewal in their hearts.
Three easy ways to bring your therapeutic garden indoors this month include:
- Force early spring shrubs to bloom early. Take clippings of a few plants, place in warm water near sunny windowsills and watch the warmth of indoors trigger the plants to bloom. The best plants for forcing include forsythia, flowering quince, cherry, plum, magnolia, pussy willow, crab apple, Cornelian-cherry dogwood, redbud, serviceberry and witch hazel.
- Appeal to people’s sense of smell. The fragrant whiff of spices, herbs and other plants remind people of the warmth and help to improve mental health by warding off depression. Consider starting an indoor herb garden, including beauties such as lemon balm, rosemary, marjoram, mint and oregano. (Basil is trickier to encourage to thrive indoors. If you do plant basil, remember that it prefers a constant temperature around 70 degrees – meaning don’t keep it on a windowsill that gets cold at night.) Other plants that aren’t herbs that you could consider growing indoors: spice viburnum and fragrant angel daffodil.
- Get social. Involve older adults in planning this year’s garden. Create an event where interested people can sit together, chatting and creating visuals of what they’re interested in gardening this year. Cut out pictures of plants from seed catalogs to tape to copies of maps of the layout of your garden. Discuss what the community hopes to gain from the garden and any inspirational directions in which they are hoping to head.
Bringing early spring indoors primes older adults to be keen to the change of season, instilling a sense of rejuvenation and awakening that positively impacts people’s bodies, minds and spirits.