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.


Start Some of Your Spring Planting Right Now! Part 1

Start Some of Your Spring Planting Right Now! Part 1

by Carolyn Hasenfratz

I live in a condo and space is very limited. As a result I haven’t done much experimenting with starting seeds indoors so far. Over the last year I’ve been updating the Calendar on the Schnarr’s Blog with planting times of some of the seeds that we sell in the store and a few others that I grow. My source for these planting times, indoor or outdoor, is using the average first and last frost dates for the St. Louis area as a guide along with the When to Plant App published by Mother Earth News. It’s amazing how early some of these dates are. This year I want to see what kind of success I can have actually following the schedule and not just throwing some seeds in the ground when I have time!

Since I collect and save seeds from year to year, first I took inventory of what I have and used the Calendar as a guide to see when to start the seeds. Three of the seeds in my stash, Yucca filamentosa, Purple Coneflower and Columbine will be ready to plant indoors in mid-January. I refreshed my memory about starting seeds by reading some articles on the Dave’s Garden web site.

I have some work to do before I’m ready to plant but I am making sure I have on hand the following:

Covered growing containers with a clear lid*
Peat pellets*
Sterile seed starting soil*
Spray bottle for watering*
Plant markers*
A source of light for the seeds*
A source of heat for the seeds
Gardening journal for notes
*Available at Schnarr’s

When I get ready to plant, I’m going to make a page in my journal about each plant I’m attempting to sprout and make notes about what conditions the seeds require, then I will do my best to meet those requirements. I’m planning to make use of an aquarium that is currently empty to house some of the seeds. The aquarium light will act as both a light and heat source and the lid will help hold in moisture to create a mini-greenhouse. As an experiment, in an atrium in a building where I am renting a studio, I’m going to put some covered seed starter trays with some of the same species of seeds to see where they do better. I already have some of my house plants over there. Gardening involves a lot of trial and error – I will take good notes so in the future I will know what worked and what didn’t.

Here are some examples of seed starting supplies you can pick up at Schnarr’s:

Miracle-Gro Seed Starting Mix

Miracle-Gro Seed Starting Mix

Garden Markers
Garden Markers

Jiffy Seed Starter Kit
Jiffy Seed Starter Kit