KUALA LUMPUR, June 14 — As the calls to stay-at-home grew during the movement control order (MCO) brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, one part of the home also came to the forefront – the humble home garden.

Whether just a tiny patch of grass and potted plants at the porch area or a larger compound with fertile soil filled with vegetables, fruit trees and shrubs, these growing grounds gained a little more attention during the restricted movement period than they normally would have.

In some urban houses, hardy vegetables and fruits from gardens also became a source of additional food.

Event manager and dancer, Vijaya Kumari, found herself giving away much of the produce from her garden, such as moringa leaves, drumsticks, snake gourd, bottle gourd and bananas to her immediate neighbours during the MCO.

Later on, with the conditional MCO, Vijaya started distributing the harvest from her garden to her friends and relatives living nearby as well.

“During the peak of MCO, we tried avoiding going to the markets as much as possible and we started using up all the produce from our backyard gardens. The vegetables became even more precious.

“It was not just about the produce, but the fact that so much was coming from the soil, the earth,” she said.

Vijaya said she also spent a lot of time reflecting in the garden area on the generosity of nature and the wonder of the Creator.

“The bottle gourd creeper crept up the moringa tree and its fruit hung from the tree. It was amazing to see that,” she said.

As for Indumathi Krishnan, an artist, her garden is a place of inspiration. Among the vegetables and herbs grown in her garden are kangkung, green chillies, okra, capsicum, a variety of spinach leaves, ginger plant, fenugreek, coriander leaves as well as several fruiting trees.

“Actually, we harvested most of the vegetables from our garden just a week before MCO, but there was some still kangkung,” she said.

Married to a doctor, and a vegetarian as well, Indumathi said she had to still go to the markets to get more vegetables during the MCO but added that the vegetables from her garden were certainly handy.

“We were planning on growing even more vegetables before the MCO. Organic gardening is really good, and you know where you are getting your vegetables and so on,” she said.

This was something echoed by Rukkumani, a home tutor, who grows her own curry leaves, turmeric, guava fruit tree, as well as the herb Thulasi or holy basil in a small patch of land in the backyard of her house.

“I really wished I had more space. I would definitely grow more stuff. The importance of growing your own vegetables became even more pronounced during the MCO. For now, growing vegetables like tomatoes, chillies and other vegetables on potted plants is an option for me as there is limited growing space,” she said, adding that a majestic mango tree in the front compound provided some fruits during the MCO.

The MCO may have come and gone and the new coronavirus might just linger on for more but one thing is certain, people in general have always been attuned to nature.

The pandemic, however, could have brought on an even stronger appreciation for the wonders of planet Earth and how it continues to sustain man, animals, plants and other living organisms with its abundance.

A bountiful garden in this case could very well symbolise the restorative powers of the Earth — its ability to heal body, mind and soul. — Bernama