Gardening supplies, as well as hair dyes and cooking utensils, have blown off shelves and e-commerce sites in pandemic popularity. Dr. Nathan Segall, who oversees a COVID-19 vaccine study, has seen the benefits of being a lifelong gardener.
“Gardening is as much a pastime as it is a hobby. It engages both the senses and the intellect and connects us to the environment in a way that is not duplicated in any other way. ”
Gardening is often considered a top hobby in the United States and is growing in popularity during the pandemic. According to national health sources, it offers psychological benefits for the mind and body. And with practice, patience and experimentation, gardeners dig in the dirt at home and think about soil, seasons, insects, water systems and light sources.
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Segall’s interest in the “outside” comes from growing up in Montgomery, Ala., In a plant-filled neighborhood on a bicycle picking plums and blackberries. He recalled that gardening was more common “a long time ago” when the air conditioning gave us an excuse to go inside for the internal environment, which made us less appreciative of our immediate surroundings [outdoor] Environment.”
Dr. Segall recommends a garden space for reflection and daily visits to observe small changes.
I also shared an interest in gardening with my own father, Harry Caller. Together we built and painted the woven white lattice slats for purple roses. A double-edged family joke was that he mysteriously acquired cow dung that “stank to the sky” to make cantaloupe-sized tomatoes of all varieties: pink duchess, acid-free yellow, to traditional big boys. The aroma of these leaves and stems lives on.
In his current home, Segall has designed and developed many gardens spanning around 300 square meters, which he describes as a “large stamp and the perfect size for a person to potter in”.
His garden has sun in the front and shade in the back with paths connected to a water feature. “It would be described as eclectic with many subjects as I consider myself an impulsive gardener.”
In his water feature, swans hold up the water pan and a young boy grabs the fish while water spurts out of its mouth. Two goldfish and the occasional bullfrog inhabit the pond.
Segall’s Little Garden has several collections: hydrangeas, Japanese maples, and mini and maxi hostas that have generated interest and delight over the years. He also has several plants from his mother’s garden in Montgomery that serve as reminders of her passion for gardening.
Segall is a fan of the Mini and Maxi Hostas which have brought joy over the years.
“My mother liked roses and pecan trees. In the summer, gardenias bloomed in front of our windows that were almost intoxicating. “
Segall combined his love of gardening with that of (pre-COVID) travel. After his trip to Japan, he was inspired to design a small zen garden in the middle of a seat that gave him space for thought. Other visits: Winterthur, Delaware, a du Pont family garden; Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia; Japanese Garden in Golden Gate Park, a must-see along with its botanical gardens, Zealandia in Wellington, New Zealand, a developing nature reserve. “Gardens in Atlanta that I like are the Atlanta Botanical Garden and Smith-Gilbert Gardens. When my wife and I travel, gardens are always a treat and offer interest in the surroundings that you otherwise cannot get. “
Segall points to gardening books to help with seasonality and housework, and magazines provide ideas and suggest plants for different spaces. “Robin Lane Fox’s column in The Financial Times is a delight and always fun to read.”
Dr. Segall practiced internal medicine, allergy and immunology locally for decades. Currently, while working on COVID vaccine trials, he states, “It was an incredible ride that I really appreciate but am waiting to get off.”
Segall suggests tea roses for fragrance and beauty.
Segall’s tips for starting and maintaining a garden:
■ The diversity of plant material helps prevent diseases.
■ Choose plants that you like.
■ Spend time in your garden almost every day. Not only is there joy and familiarity, but a sense of how things change with each season and with the time of day.
■ Use as little insecticide as possible
■ Plant hybrid tea roses for beauty and fragrance.
■ Put bird feeders and hummingbird feeders in a location that you can visualize from home.