Coronavirus pandemic leads to new generation of plant, garden lovers

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The coronavirus pandemic forced many of us to be confined into our homes for extended periods of time, but a popular trend is helping people get outside while bringing them a little peace of mind.

Planting and gardening is known for being a peaceful activity and since COVID-19 has drastically impacted our way of life, many have taken up the outdoor hobby.

From the looks of one South Shore garden, you'd think the woman behind it was an expert but Nyajai Ellison says it just happened.

"In the midst of a global pandemic, I decided to start my own little grocery store," Ellison said. "I have my garden."

She calls herself an extrovert and says she struggled as everything around her began to shut down.

"I was working from home and I would wake up moments before I had to log in to work. It was just dreadful. The days felt grey [and] I wanted more," she said.

That's when she decided to test out her green thumb.

"I found love in my garden and I honestly never expected it to get like this but I'm so blessed. It's so rewarding," Ellison said with a smile from ear to ear.

Shops like Christy Webber Farm & Garden say they have seen a sudden increase in business due to the pandemic.

They say millennials in particular are posting their plants on social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, and those photos are inspiring others to discover the magic of plants and gardens too.

"A lot of our customers are apartment dwellers and they don't have any green space in the city. So it's so important to help them get more plants in their lives," Webber said.

Fortunately for Ellison, she has all the green space she needs.

What started as a random activity has now allowed her to enjoy the fruits of her labor.

"My tan is popping now. I mean the sun has been treating me so lovely so I'm just getting rewarded in so many different ways while gardening," Ellison said.

If you are new to the gardening game, Ellison says to take a leap of faith and try it. You may make some mistakes along the way but in the end, she says it'll be worth it.
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