Local nurseries busy as South West locals turn to gardening in isolation

Shannon VerhagenSouth Western Times
Leschenault Community Nursery manager Jacquie Rusha said gardening was a great way for people to keep busy in isolation.
Camera IconLeschenault Community Nursery manager Jacquie Rusha said gardening was a great way for people to keep busy in isolation. Credit: Shannon Verhagen

Locals are getting their green thumbs on and turning to soil, seeds and shrubs to ease their minds – while sprucing up their yards – during the coronavirus pandemic.

A number of nurseries have noticed a spike in sales, as long-time gardeners and newbies alike stop in to stock up.

Leschenault Community Nursery manager Jacquie Rusha said gardening was a great way for people to keep busy in isolation.
Camera IconLeschenault Community Nursery manager Jacquie Rusha said gardening was a great way for people to keep busy in isolation. Credit: Shannon Verhagen/Shannon Verhagen

Leschenault Community Nursery manager Jacquie Rusha said with the rains just starting, it was actually a great time to garden, particularly with native plants.

And although fruit and vege seeds are flying off the shelves elsewhere, the nursery’s Seed Exchange program — where people donate excess seeds from their vege patches in exchange for different types — is still running.

Ms Rusha said gardening was therapeutic and they were pleased they could provide an outlet for people feeling stressed, but were nervous about what would come next.

“It’s scary for us as we are mostly run by volunteers so pretty much all of our volunteers have stopped coming, we’ve only got a few that are pretty fit and healthy that still come,” she said.

“Not even all of the paid staff can come as they are in the high-risk categories.”

It’s difficult for us and it’s scary. Even though customers are picking up right now, we don’t know how long that’s going to last.

Jacquie Rusha

“At the very worst if we have to shut the gates, we’re still going to be doing orders and people can pick them up.”

With many parents taking their children out of school, Waterloo Nursery owner Trevor Besiot encouraged them to get the kids into the garden for a bit of outdoor education.

“It’s a good time for families to get together and get back to basics,” he said. “Kids of today want to be on their computers, but this gets them outside and learning.”

Expecting a downturn, Boyanup Botanical site manager Barb Shilton has been pleasantly surprised by the numbers and grateful to have been able to keep all of her staff employed so far.

“We’ve got the old die-hards coming in as well as a lot of newbies,” she said.

It’s great exercise and keeps your mind healthy.

Barb Shilton

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