Share, , , Google Plus, Reddit, Pinterest, StumbleUpon


Posted in:

Considering what is essential landscaping during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Taking a page from the Buffalo Horticulture Project: Journal

Just the other day, my mother in law asked me if I knew about any places in Buffalo that deliver plants and other gardening supplies, so that she could begin to work on her garden. She didn’t want to leave the house for something that was not considered “essential”, but at the same time, she’s an avid gardener and it’s driving her nuts that she could be… should be preparing her garden for the warm weather ahead.

I told her that I was not aware of any services that were delivering soil, plants, etc., but that I would keep a lookout for anything that might be of interest to her. With businesses such as Urban Roots temporarily closed – they left the following note on their website:

Please remember that while we did have a very mild winter and spring actually looks like it might arrive on time this year it is still very early to be in the garden. Wet soil will compact if walked on and can do damage to emerging plants. Take a deep breath, make some plans for a new space or change up an existing bed, consider growing some veggies, be patient.

While businesses such as Home Depot remain open because they are deemed essential, shopping for plants is not something that anyone should be doing until the coast is clear.

So what is an avid gardener to do, without the gardening essentials?

While perusing information on the Buffalo Horticulture website, maintained by designer and horticulturist Matthew Dore, I came across the latest blog post that posed an interesting question… rather, quandary. Dore began his entry by stating:

Our present situation during the COVID-19 Pandemic offers the opportunity to think about things in a new way as we work to reorganize the production of everyday life to limit contact points for the spread of the virus. Questioning what are the minimum and essential practices right now drive my thinking.

Under The State’s current criteria of essential service
Is the spraying of herbicides (Roundup) 
“…application of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and minerals…”
Yet mulching has been pointed out specifically as
“Not essential. You will be shut down if you mulch.”

Dore presents a number of salient points that beg the question – how is mulching considered a “cosmetic practice” when the spraying of Roundup is considered “essential practice”? Dore suggest that the prevailing mindset throughout history has transitioned from gardening to landscaping

In my work 
the application of mulch is done as weed control
and the personal work and craft of its application
is the aesthetic.

It’s not to say that anyone should be leaving their house for any sort of residential or commercial gardening purposes. But then there’s the farming community, that must continue to press on with their daily business operations at hand.

Ultimately, the issue extends far beyond the crisis.

Dore is essentially reminding us that we must rethink the system as a whole, and how we got to the point where consumerism overrides centuries old best practices.

Once again, we watch the TV commercials that tell us that our lawns must resemble manicured golf courses, and we poison our residential and commercial landscapes to keep up appearances. But to what end?

Certainly we only make this critique as an opening to understand our own cultural history and development.
The critique isn’t aimed at The State
But our culture as a whole
Whose discourse and practices have been subsumed into McDonald’s like ways of thinking.

While we should not be hopping into our cars at the moment, and heading out to purchase any manner of gardening supplies, we can still “garden in our minds” and feed our souls in the process. One way to go about this is to follow Dore’s online journal that spells out ways that we can all keep busy by fortifying ourselves with the proper gardening essentials that will prepare us for the day when we can get back to nature.

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

View All Articles by queenseyes
Hide Comments
Show Comments