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Gardening’s growth fuelled by pandemic-driven need to connect with nature

As the days grow longer, the signs of the growing interest in gardening are everywhere in Metro Vancouver.

Local garden stores such as GardenWorks are already trying to keep up with the early demand for seeds and the arrival of scores of first-time gardeners. So far, this spring looks to be even busier than last year.

More people than ever before are looking to connect with nature by growing something whatever way they can.

Lynda Pasacreta, president of the Richmond Garden Club, has seen the growing interest in gardening in the growth in volunteers in Paulik Neighbourhood Park, located in Richmond’s city centre area.

Right after the start of last year’s provincial health emergency, people started strolling through the park’s 30-plus raised flower beds and mature stands of Western Cedar, Sitka spruce and Douglas fir.

Before the pandemic, the garden club struggled to get 10 volunteers to help with the raised beds in the 0.6-hectare (1.5-acre) garden. Now, the club has more 30 volunteers smitten with the gardening bug.

“These are very passionate people who have never gardened before in their life,” Pasacreta said.

In a recent presentation to the Canadian Federation of University Women about connecting to nature, Pasacreta talked about the growing body of research about the beneficial effects of being outdoors in a natural setting.

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