Pandemic Gardening Hobby Still Taking Root

The pandemic has seen an estimated 20-million first-time gardeners

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Inside greenhouse #8 at Southwest Perennials in Dallas, plant starters in 2,500 trays form a blanket of green. The plant business has been brisk during the pandemic, sprouting an estimated 20-million new, first-time gardeners.

"There was that time of uncertainty, It seems like a lot of folks gravitated towards the hobby of gardening," Daniel Cunningham said. Cunningham is a horticulturist and co-owner of Rooted In. "One of the largest seed suppliers in the country, when the pandemic first hit, had shortages."

The supply seems to have caught up with the demand now. In some ways, gardening is in our DNA.

"Somebody in your family's history has worked the soil," Cunningham said. "My grandmothers, some of my early mentors really, pun intended, planted the seed for what I would grow into as an adult."

Cunningham is a professional plant guy. His Rooted In business' Go 'n Grow Garden in a Box with 24 plant starters is geared toward the first-time gardener or someone who is new to gardening in Texas.

"So there's plants that bloom in the shade, plants that provide color in their foliage, pollinator plants," Cunningham said. The idea was to make gardening ' bulletproof' for someone who wanted to take up the hobby.

"We have some pretty good data to show it's good for our physical health," Cunningham said. "It's kind of a way for us to recharge our batteries and just feel better about the situation that we're in."

By getting back to our roots, we find space to grow.

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