Gardening isn’t canceled!

Gardening is a healthy form of stress relief — and it pays dividends in the form of continuous beauty throughout the spring and summer.

Or as Walter Sedlacek of Laurel Bay Gardens, a retail garden center in Florence, Oregon, put it: “Gardening is therapy!”

The COVID-19 pandemic has curtailed many activities, but gardening doesn’t necessarily need to be one of them. People can still garden and enjoy the solitude, fresh air and sunshine in their yard — all while maintaining social distance to protect themselves and others, and flatten the curve of exposure. It just takes the appropriate precautions most of us are already practicing.

Plant shopping can be the same way. Retail nurseries, garden centers and specialty nurseries are adapting to the difficult circumstances we now find ourselves in. They’re coming up with ways that gardeners can shop for and purchase plants and still follow social distancing guidelines.

Some are taking plant orders over the phone or the internet. They’re allowing customers to come pick up in a dedicated area at the nursery, or get the plants brought to their car. Others are offering delivery. And some are posting their new arrivals on the web, or to social media, to give customers ideas of what to shop for.

There’s even a social distancing solution for gardening workshops. While some garden retailers are cancelling their workshops, others are simply moving them online, through services such as Zoom, GoToMeeting or Facebook Live. This allows gardeners to learn and enjoy gardening without the risks associated with shoulder-to-shoulder exposure to other people.

Through it all, garden retailers are following common sense. Most are following the recommendations from the Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN):

  • make hand sanitizer available to employees and customers;
  • clean and sanitize frequently touched surfaces on a regular basis;
  • have employees wash hands frequently;
  • direct employees to stay home if they have symptoms; and
  • encourage employees and customers to practice physical distancing.

We at Plant Something Oregon have assembled a list of garden retailers that have rolled out healthy changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, you can find out who is taking phone orders, offering delivery, changing their hours, or adapting in other ways. You can find that at www.PlantSomethingOregon.com/coronavirus.

We have not heard from every garden center on our list yet, but we will keep the page updated as we do. If the information you want is not there, please check in with your local garden center. Many are posting the information to their website, their social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), or both, or you can call them to find out. To pull up contact information for the OAN-member retailers in your area, simply use our online retail directory.

A number of garden centers have made clear the safety of customers and employees is their highest priority.

“We are taking precautions to keep both staff and customers safe,” said Sean Hogan, owner of Cistus Nursery on Sauvie Island in the Portland area, “and we have protocols posted for our customers to follow as well.”

“We have over 5 acres of shopping space so it is easy to spread out and maintain social distance here,” said Grace Dinsdale, owner at Blooming Junction, a garden center in Cornelius, Oregon. “We also have a small grocery so you can pick up your food items at the same time as you get fresh air and shop among our extensive plant selection. We are following all CDC protocols and are committed to making a safe shopping experience for all.”

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