Many New Brunswickers are using the pandemic to have a green thumb
Forget homemade sourdough bread or TikTok feta pasta – many New Brunswickers have turned their attention away from the kitchen.
This spring, things like planters, hanging baskets and window baskets – even bird feeders – are flying off the shelves for people to spruce up their lawns.
“Just huge interest,” said Andrew Currie, owner of Currie’s Greenhouses in Douglas, “More than I’ve ever seen before.”
Currie said he has seen a recent wave of customers interested in starting their own gardens and planting their own flowers outside their homes.
‘Spend money on beautification’
He said the boom had a lot to do with the COVID-19 pandemic and people were spending more time at home.
“I’m sure they’re spending money on beautification and enjoying their own properties more than they ever have,” he said.
“They don’t mind spending money that beautifies and improves their lives.”
He added that people are also keen to try out different types of vegetables, such as ground cherries or cucumber plants that children can snack on on the deck.
“They plant artichokes on zucchini,” he says. “Any veg you could possibly plant.”
From what they read in gardening magazines, he said people are also becoming much more aware of the food they eat and how it grows.
“They know it’s safe, it wasn’t transported 4,000 miles,” he said. “By growing your own food, you will be eating healthy and safe foods.”
New Brunswickers are also investing in planting tubs and improving soil and drainage on their properties. They also buy planters, planters, urns and hanging baskets.
“From the elderly, who grew up on a farm and now live in a city, to young families with children in their cars,” he said.
Currie said he hopes the gardening trend continues after the pandemic.
“I didn’t know what to expect this spring, but it’s certainly as busy this year as it was last year.”
Gardening enthusiasts are turning to Facebook
Evelyn Pedersen manages Gardening in New Brunswick Canada, a Facebook group that shares information about gardening.
“For years it was a small group without a lot of activity,” said Pedersen, who lives in the Waasis area, about 20 kilometers south of Fredericton.
“The pandemic has really changed that.”
She started the Facebook group about five years ago to share her love of gardening with her family and friends.
Since the pandemic began last year, she said at least 8,000 people have joined her group – including 4,000 in the past two months.
Pedersen was so busy she had to add two moderators to her Facebook group so more people could be added to the page.
“I couldn’t believe it at first,” she said via Facebook Messenger. “The requests were difficult to follow.”
Most members live in New Brunswick or plan to relocate from another province and range in their early 20s to mid 40s.
Many people in the group ask others to identify certain plants or trees, how to garden, when to leave plants outside, how to build a greenhouse, or how to beautify their garden.
“It’s a very active group now,” she said.
A rise in landscaping
Even landscaping companies are seeing an explosion in the number of people looking after their gardens because they spend more time at home.
“We’re definitely a lot busier with everyone at home,” said Amanda Anderson, owner of Lipstick Landscaping in the Fredericton area.
“I generally find that a lot of people put money aside for vacations and [because] they can’t go on vacation or whatever, they put it back in their house. “
Anderson said residents of the Fredericton area have already started booking for next summer and summer 2023.
“I try to squeeze people as best I can.”
The landscaping company was already very booked over the fall and winter months for the coming season.
People have asked for fireplaces, patios and swimming pools. They also asked for outdoor kitchens.
His landscaping team worked five to seven jobs at a time because the landscaping materials didn’t arrive – including stone, flowers, and shrubs.
“It was really crazy,” she says. “Everyone wants everything done yesterday so it’s really stressful.”