Planting in the Pandemic

May 6, 2021

by : Jill Brooke

Jill Brooke is the new Floral Editor at Bedford & New Canaan Magazine, and is the founder of, the first daily floral news site. Jill has been Editor-in-Chief of Avenue, Travel Savvy and Show Circuit magazines, a CNN correspondent, and a Post columnist. She is the author of  “Don’t Let Death Ruin Your Life” and “The Need to Say No” as well as the play “What’s Eating You?”. She and her husband, Gary, and son, Parker, have a flower and vegetable farm in Bedford.

Planting In The Pandemic

Nature has pressed the pause button.

As a result of spending so much time at home, many have started to take a keener interest in what’s outside our doors. 

It’s as though folks can finally appreciate artist Georgia O’Keefe’s prescient words: “Most people rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. To see takes time.” 

During the first four months of Covid, more than 16 million new gardeners discovered the joy of planting vegetables and flowers, and seeing a garden grow.

Nurseries have had record sales, as curiosity and desire to garden has been activated – and this megatrend will continue to bloom. 

As any veteran gardener knows, gardening teaches lessons about patience, perspective, serendipity, resilience, delicacy, and finesse. Most important – it will reward. Growing food feels primally fortifying at a time when feeling in control of anything is very much appreciated. Try lettuce as an easy first-timer foray. And seeing a kaleidoscope of color as flowers peek up with purpose  never ceases to delight.

Fall is prime time to plant the most glorious flowers. 

Siberian Iris, feathery fringed tulips, a dainty crocus, dreamy lavender alliums and canary-yellow daffodils require fall planting. Some flowers, such as tulips, are like dulce de lece for deer and other critters, so if the garden is not fenced-in, consider planting daffodils, hyacinth and alliums. 
Vegetables and lettuce plants can go back into the earth with cooler temperatures, and a crop of quick-maturing fall vegetables includes: broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, spinach, arugula, kale and beets. 

As soon as plants have passed their prime and are about to bolt, pull them out with abandon and then replant a different crop in that space. Rotating crops is healthy for the soil and not only helps avoid diseases, but adds new beneficial nutrients. 

Another advantage to fall and cooler temperatures is that it’s an ideal time to plant shrubs and trees (before the first frost). Perennials such as hydrangeas do much better planted in the fall, after the summer’s heat, and just in time to hibernate before spring’s re-awakening and growth. 
And think of something new. Each garden addition is a part of life’s adventure and a suggestion that the best is yet to come. 


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