Go Green, be happy | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Go Green, be happy

23 January, 2022

For almost one and a half years Sri Lankans and many across the globe were forced to remain confined to their homes due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Some of us continued to Work From Home, but the prolonged homestay had left many people feeling anxious and depressed. As global statistics reveal domestic abuse cases and depression rates among the youth as well as the elderly have increased at an alarming rate during the past two years. None of the countries is yet out of the danger and the pandemic is still far from the end.

The good news is though; every dark cloud has a silver lining. During the dark and bleak days when the pandemic was at its peak and the entire world was struggling to develop a vaccine to combat Covid -19, people started trying out ‘new’ things or reviving old habits, to spend their time meaningfully and get rid of boredom. Many had opted for watching movies or reading books while some had found solace in spending more time with their family and pets. And the ‘wisest of all’ had opted for the most prudent investment, testing their green thumb!


As an ancient Chinese proverb goes, life begins when you start a garden. Another saying goes as gardening adds years to your life and life to your years. Many governments including ours prudently advised their citizens to try out gardening, an activity that offers a host of mental, physical, and economic benefits.

Moreover, at a time not only Sri Lanka but also the entire world is heading for a food crisis, each of us has a responsibility to make our individual contribution to enhance household food security even in a small way. Maintaining a home garden has been identified as the best method to do it!

It is heartening to note that a considerable number of citizens who have taken up gardening for the first time during the Covid -19 lockdown, keep doing it with much enthusiasm. Not many are privileged with huge compounds or backyards in their gardens. But even the city dwellers have turned to either container gardening or rooftop gardening making full use of available space.

For years our National and private electronic and print media have been doing a commendable service in promoting the home gardening concept. But many of us did not have the time to test our gardening skills!. As our lives became less busy with no time wasted on the road travelling to and fro, a golden opportunity had descended upon us to get closer to mother nature through plants!

Success stories

A grandfather who has been an enthusiastic gardener for more than fifty years said that he found it almost impossible to get his grandchildren into gardening before the pandemic. But as they were compelled to stay home due to continuous lockdowns, the children had gradually developed an interest in digging the soil and touching the leaves. Now, almost after two years, schools have reopened, but his grandchildren still make it a habit to rush to the garden to see whether the “ Flowers, vegetables and plants are doing fine.”

Not only them but also many school-going children and adults alike are now enjoying the immense benefits of their home garden - whether container-gardening or otherwise.

“I started with two chili plants, but now my small container garden is rich with many varieties such as tomatoes, brinjals, and spinach,” said a female banker who wants to expand the garden even further. “ Nothing makes me happier than plucking tomatoes or making a spinach soup with freshly picked leaves,” she added.

An elderly woman said she has made it a habit to eat two or three raw “gotu kola” leaves every other day to slow down “brain-ageing” and “enhance memory.” The results are amazing,” she added.

Her husband helps her with her gardening mainly through maintaining a compost bin. “Organic fertiliser” is simply the best. “We just don’t need to bring in any chemical fertilizer to our garden,” he said.

True happiness

True! Gardeners whether big or small always end up with a “bigger’ success story! Happiness is enjoying the little things in life! Touching the soil, nursing a plant, or simply watching the sight of a well-grown vegetable bed will bring us immense happiness. Sharing your harvest with your neighbour will help strengthen social bonds. Reading a newspaper or novel seated on your garden bench will draw you even closer to nature.

Let your child get closer to nature. Teach your pet how to stay patient while you are busy in your garden. A little squirrel peeking from the top of your roof or a tiny bird perched on the branch of the mango tree will fill your heart and and soul with joy. A feeding table for squirrels will add beauty to your garden just as it would help the innocent creatures to satisfy at least a part of their food needs.


Remember George Eliot’s words? It will never rain roses: when we want to have more roses we must plant more trees!

So be less judgemental, get closer to nature, grow more plants, talk to them and be happy!