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How has Lockdown affected Gardening and Nature?

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It’s great to have people enjoying the outdoor spaces here at Bressingham Steam & Gardens now that the pandemic is coming under control - so how important were gardens and outdoor spaces to us all during the height of the lockdowns?

How gardens suddenly became so important in 2020

It’s not surprising that during all that happened in 2020 that the importance of gardening and outdoor spaces was elevated.

I’m not sure where they got their numbers from but the Royal Horticultural Society in January 2021 estimated that there were about 3 million new gardeners in 2020 to 2021, with garden centres one of the handful of businesses able stay open throughout the majority of lockdown periods.

The RHS weren’t the only ones putting their surveying hat on - Garden centres were busy doing their own like this one by Squires Garden Centres that reported that 93% of people taking part said that gardening had been a “lifesaver” during lockdown and that 77% of them were able to do more of it during that period!

But what about anyone not lucky enough to have a garden?

The Office of National Statistics in May 2020 had some grim numbers on garden ownership, saying during the first lockdown:

One in eight households (12%) in Great Britain has no access to a private or shared garden - This rises to more than one in five households in London (21%).

The percentage of homes without a garden is higher among ethnic minorities, with Black people in England nearly four times as likely as White people to have no outdoor space at home.

Quite early on in the pandemic one resident of a flat with no outdoor space available went as far as stating “There are now two classes, people with gardens and the rest of us”

How was nature impacted by the lockdowns

Whereas the lockdowns were a mixed bag for people regarding their experience and access to outdoor spaces and gardening as far as nature was concerned the events were all quite positive.

This report on how Coronavirus lockdown helped the environment bounce back by group of Indian academics reported that Vital environmental changes had been evidenced during COVID-19 lockdown including:

  • 500% decrease in sewage and industrial effluents in rivers.
  • Dissolved oxygen(DO), Biological oxygen demand(BOD), pH of river water has been improved by 79%, 30% and 7.9 respectively
  • Noise level was reduced up to 35% to 68% all over the world.
  • Wild life gets a chance to reclaim their land.

Although the report gets a little hyperbolic (at one point stating “Although coronavirus vaccine is not available coronavirus itself is earth's vaccine and us humans are the virus”) it’s central themes are bourne out by The Natural History Museum who saw the pandemic as “a unique opportunity to better understand how human activity - and its absence - affects the animals and plants we share the planet with.”

Dubbing the phenomenon the 'anthropause' they shared figures of users of the website iRecord reporting that they saw:

  • 66% more bees, wasps, ants and sawflies

  • 33% more squirrels and other rodents

  • 13% more deer and hooved mammals

  • 143% more bats

  • 11% more dragonflies

  • 97% more butterflies and moths

  • 18% more hedgehogs, moles and shrews.

Is there anything we should’ve mentioned?

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By Stuart Paterson at 6 Jul 2021, 00:00 AM