Gardening Outdoor Fun

Start Your Garden Now For Health

We are often told that gardening is good for our health both mentally and physically. It is widely believed that spending time with nature, having house plants, access to windows with views of natural scenes, real and facsimile floral arrangements in our living and working spaces and even pictures of plants and flowers have the power to make people feel better. I was gifted five books on horticultural therapy for Christmas, and I now have the proof right in my hands (if I needed it) that all of these assertions are true!

Some of the physical benefits of participating in indoor or outdoor horticultural activities, and in some cases merely viewing plants or landscapes, include improved mobility, coordination, endurance, muscle conditioning, blood pressure, heart rates and respiration (Doherty 21-22, 27-28). The mind and it’s functions also respond positively to horticultural activities and subjects. Clients of horticultural therapy and people exposed to plants and aesthetic representations of plants have been known to show improvements in memory, social development, psychological development, cognitive development, relaxation and positive attitudes (Doherty 21-22, 27-28).

As I work my way through this new mini library I have been fortunate to acquire, I will learn more about why horticulture benefits us in so many ways and how to leverage the effects to the best of my ability in my own gardens, and any others that I may be asked to work on in the future. I’m currently in graduate school for Advertising and Marketing Communications at Webster University while I work part-time for Schnarr’s and don’t know what direction my life will take when the course of study is done. What I do know is that gardening will be part of my life as long as I have sufficient life in me and that any human being can benefit greatly from activities involving horticulture and plants (Doherty 24).

Seed starting display at Schnarr's Hardware.
Seed starting display at Schnarr’s Hardware on January 20, 2021.

In our Lawn and Garden department at Schnarr’s Webster, we’ve endeavored to make it a little easier to start your garden this year by suggesting plants that you can start from seed, and later in the season transplant and harvest, right at the time you visit the store. Each week as I change the display I hope you enjoy the new information.

You can also view the calendar we have provided on this blog that includes St. Louis area based suggestions for seed starting, transplanting outdoors and harvesting dates for various popular plants. In addition, when we hear about educational classes and events that we think sound worthwhile and have the potential to increase the value you get from your garden, we will include those on the calendar also.


Works Cited and Bibliography

Doherty, Janice Hoetker. A Calendar Year of Horticultural Therapy. Lilyflower Publishing, Inc., 2009.

Marcus, Clare Cooper and Naomi A. Sachs. Therapeutic Landscapes: An Evidence-Based Approach to Designing Healing Gardens and Restorative Outdoor Spaces. Wiley, 2014.

Simson, Sharon P, PhD and Marha C. Strauss, HTM, Editors. Horticulture as Therapy: Principles and Practice. CRC Press, 1998.

Wells, Suzanne E. MS, Editor. Horticultural Therapy and the Older Adult Population. The Haworth Press, Inc., 1997.

Winterbottom, Daniel and Amy Wagenfeld. Therapeutic Gardens: Design for Healing Spaces. Timber Press, 2015.


The Right Plant in the Right Place…

The Right Plant in the Right Place…

by Carolyn Hasenfratz Winkelmann

… is the advice you hear over and over again when you are learning about gardening. To help make both yours and my garden planning easier, I’ve made Pinterest boards on the Schnarr’s Pinterest site that go along with the rudimentary diagram I made for my garden planning last year. I have included plants I need to transplant now, plants that I am possibly interested in growing in the future and many other popular selections. You can use our boards as a starting point to make your own boards or photo galleries that correspond with the garden categories relevant to you.

We have boards with plant suggestions for:

Part Shade Vegetable/Food Garden

Full Sun Vegetable/Food Garden

Part Shade Rain Garden

Full Sun Rain Garden

Part Shade Rock Garden

Full Sun Rock Garden

Part Shade Ornamental Garden

Full Sun Ornamental Garden

Part Shade Herb Garden

Full Sun Herb Garden

Part Shade Water Garden

Full Sun Water Garden

Right now I’m managing two gardens, one at my condo and one at the house I have lived in with my husband since we got married in August. Last year I started transplanting some plants from the condo to the house as I work on the new garden. The process has been a lot slower than I expected but I’m back at work now and I’m overjoyed to be outside!

Decisions about where to put my transplants are much easier now – I just match them up to the correct category on my diagram. Some areas will need more detailed planning later but for now I’m getting the job done by putting the plants in the correct section and working with what I have. Stay tuned as I make slow but steady progress!


Adventures in Indoor Horticulture With Rich Reed

Adventures in Indoor Horticulture With Rich Reed

by Carolyn Hasenfratz

Name of Image

Rich Reed is a gardening friend that I met several years ago while trading plants on Freecycle. He also recently became a volunteer at Missouri Botanical Garden. I previously interviewed Rich for my blog in 2015 because I was impressed by what he was able to achieve at the apartment complex where he lives, using it as a living laboratory for indoor and outdoor growing.

At the time I’m writing this article we are past the average first frost date for our area without actually having frost yet. I’m enjoying the extra time to keep our plants outdoors this year but soon many of us will have to bow to the inevitable and bring some of them in. I wanted to interview Rich again because he grows a lot of tropical plants outdoors in the warm months that need to be moved with the seasons and he propagates a lot of plants indoors for transplanting outdoors later. I knew he’d have some useful tips for home gardeners because he does not indulge in a lot of special equipment and has learned a lot through trial and error on how to use his indoor growing space. Since our last interview, the manager of the apartment complex where Rich lives has given him the use of an empty apartment unit where he can store supplies and grow lots of plants. He packs this extra unit, which he calls the sun room, as well as his own living quarters with as many plants as possible! He also has an agreement with the apartment manager to supply plants for the grounds and the building’s indoor spaces such as stairwells and balconies. I asked Rich for some of his best tips.

Cuttings growing in the sun room

Because this apartment unit is not used as living quarters, Rich can make maximum use of the window light for growing cuttings.

Like the rest of us Rich does struggle with getting plants that normally live outside to stay alive indoors. His situation does not allow for a lot of supplemental lighting. To get more light to the plants he recommends rotating the plants outside on warm days whenever possible. He gets light from the West through his windows – both his living quarters and sun room face in that direction. He makes some use of ordinary household lighting fixtures and bulbs. He prefers fluorescent to incandescent lights because they are not as hot. When plants are not doing well in a particular spot in the room he moves them to see if the light is more favorable somewhere else.

Overwatering is the most common way for Rich to lose plants – not surprisingly he has found that plants kept indoors need a lot less water than when they are outside, and less water still when it’s colder. He does not take any precautions to remove pests from his plants or pots before bringing then indoors. Fortunately his pest problems have been minor so far.

He has had the most consistent success indoors with “viney” plants such as Pothos, Arrowhead vines, Sweet Potato, Lamium and Vinca. Not surprisingly the types of plants that are commonly sold as house plants do well in home lighting conditions.

Banana plantRich is planning on bringing inside some of his really large and nice banana plants for the winter while leaving a few small ones outside as an experiment. His tropical Hibiscus and other tropical plants that are woody will also come inside as whole potted plants. He has many herbaceous tropical plants outside augmenting his perennials and annuals. For space reasons it’s not really possible to bring them all in intact, so he gets around that by making small cuttings of plants he wants to grow again next year. He grows more cuttings than he needs for the apartment property so that he has some available for gifts and trading stock. He does not use any special rooting hormone or treatments for cuttings – just water and soil.

Celosia outside and Celosia cuttings

Celosia adding color to the outdoor garden on the left. The right photo shows a cutting with root growth after two weeks in water.

Rich with rubber treeEven with an abundance of plants in his environment Rich still likes trading. Any plant he doesn’t already have he would like to add to
his collection – but realistically he has to be mindful of how much room is available. He is on the lookout for a Chinese Evergreen and some Peppermint – he has been able to find numerous other members of the mint family for trade but is missing that one.

At left: Rich with a favorite rubber tree and some other plants that live in the apartment building’s atria all year round.