Gardening comes back for Springtime

The end of winter hibernation has come, and while many choose activities such as hiking or running, others get back into the fruitful activity of gardening.

For some, it stems from a childhood enthusiasm and blossoms into a lifelong passion. Math teacher Jean St. Clair has been gardening for all her life.

“I’ve been gardening since I was a kid. My dad taught me,” St. Clair said. “Even when I was in college, I had plants in my dorm.”

Virginia as a whole is a very green state, both philosophically and literally, lending itself well to environmental activities. However, there are challenges that even a master gardener must learn to overcome.

“I live in an area where we back up to a park [with] deer,” St. Clair said. “I’ve had [to] find plants that look nice, but ones the deer don’t eat.”

At its roots, gardening is a simple process. However, one can always improve.

“I’ve read books and talked to people,” St. Clair said. “Some of it’s trial and error, and some of it is figuring things out.”

Sophomore Caleb and junior Daniel Mitchell, brothers, run a landscaping business.

“[We] own and operate our own home and lawn care business,” Daniel Mitchell said. “We offer [landscaping services] to dozens of homes.”

Much like other hobbies, gardening has its intricacies, including many plants available, with completely different traits.

“[My plants are] mostly perennials. Some bloom, [but] not all of them do,” St. Clair said. “I have a lot of trees.”

At first glance, it may be hard to understand why so many enjoy gardening and its related activities, due to many students’ limited background knowledge.

“I think it’s the physical activity and the satisfaction of getting stuff done and looking nice [that makes it enjoyable,]” St. Clair said. “I like to see the plants grow and how they interact.”

Fairfax County Parks offers programs for students to learn about gardening. For example, there are programs sowing the seeds of fundamentals covering vegetable gardening, planting trees and more.