SOUTH CAROLINA— This peach tree is my mom's pride and joy. It was the first tree we planted, and for five years it didn’t have a single flower or fruit. Seeing the first flowers on it felt like a miracle. South Carolina has a debate with Georgia about who has the better peaches. With this tree, South Carolina definitely wins.
SOUTH CAROLINA—My mom has a green thumb, so our house has been full of plants for as long as I can remember. Gardening is one of my favorite things to do with her. Despite our many attempts, we have never been able to grow berries. But this year, with some more time at home in the garden, we had our first blackberry flowers and baby berries.
HONG KONG—When I was undergoing my mandatory 14-day quarantine upon my arrival home in Hong Kong, I wasn't allowed to set a single foot out the door, and I had to limit interaction with my parents to prevent possibly transmitting the virus to them. To keep me company, I adopted our azalea plant into my room and, upon my friend's recommendation, named her Jacinta.
HONG KONG—We've always had plants chilling beside our window, nearly 30 floors above the ground. The oldest one in this batch is the aloe vera plant on the right, which we occasionally squeeze the sap out from for some impromptu moisturization.
MARIN COUNTY, CA—Growing citrus fruits in Northern California can be very difficult because of the cold winters. But, this year, my kitchen has been stocked with only homegrown lemons.
MARIN COUNTY, CA—When the flower bushes start to bloom in my backyard, my cat loves to nap exclusively next to the flowering plants.
MARIN COUNTY, CA—This past fall, I chose not to bring my succulents to my dorm and instead left them for my mom to take care of them. Both succulents died, and my mom managed to replace them with identical succulents before I came home for winter break, thinking I wouldn’t notice.
WESTWOOD—Over spring break, when the first stay-at-home orders came in for California, my girlfriend started doing a lot of gardening. When I went to stay at her place, it quickly became a daily pastime for us. Working outside in the fresh air and the daylight significantly improved my mood, and the process proved incredibly soothing. Watching our efforts result in sprouting seeds made me really happy. I think – in a way – it reminded me that little miracles are happening around us all of the time, even during a pandemic. My girlfriend gave me these three marigold seedlings to take back to my apartment with me, and being a plant parent has remained a source of comfort during these strange times.
KANSAS—The front of our house is lined with an assortment of flower pots and shrubbery. My mother planted these pansies last week because she said she wanted sweetness and color in her garden in the middle of a pandemic. She hopes to see them fully bloom as the weather gets warmer in coming weeks.
KANSAS—Curry leaves show through the branches of a hibiscus plant in our kitchen. The curry leaves are used in cooking a number of Indian dishes, best known for their tangy flavors and digestive benefits.
TAIWAN—According to my mom, the original intention behind inserting window lattices beside the front door was to balance out the paramount feeling disseminated by the fair-faced concrete wall. These window lattices later became where her moth orchids would pop out to greet the passerby. As my mom enjoys the presence of flowers in her everyday life, she placed some orchids on the niches behind the lattice, wishing to share their beauty with and lighten the mood of those who pass by the house.
SINGAPORE—After several weeks of patiently waiting, I woke up on a Saturday morning to a newly bloomed yellow hibiscus – much more elusive than the red variety. Unfortunately, these vibrant hibiscus flowers stay on the vine for just a few days before withering.
SINGAPORE—Springtime blooms dot the garden in various colors.
SINGAPORE—Even in an urban setting, Singapore’s tropical climate makes sustaining a backyard garden a rewarding endeavor, yielding various herbs, flowers and even fruits.
BERKELEY—A trowel, clippers and gardening gloves sit alongside a group of basil plants and flowers ready to be planted in our garden. My front lawn had always been a dead, sullen patch of grass. With hours of time suddenly on my hands, I decided to build vegetable boxes and fill them with an array of vegetables. Basil plants can be planted all spring and into the summer. Their delicious-tasting leaves make for great spices but are also fabulous for a fresh batch of pesto.
BERKELEY—Morning light casts its gentle gaze onto a group of flowers and herbs just bought from a local nursery in Berkeley. As shelter-in-place restrictions forced us to stay home, my sister and I turned to in-home hobbies such as baking and gardening.
MINNESOTA—My mother, Linda Tsai, is growing an indoor home garden using leftover vegetable scraps. Within days of placing the roots of bok choy in a shallow container of water, new baby sprouts begin to grow. After a few weeks, she will transfer the sprouts to soil and eventually to an outdoor garden.
MINNESOTA—My mom places the roots of green onions in soil, which begin regrowing within a week. Especially during shelter-in-place, she speaks about the fulfillment of home gardening. “It’s a wonderful sense of accomplishment seeing something grow so quickly,” she said.