Given that you’re reading a gardening website, I think it’s probably safe to imagine that one of the things helping you through the COVID-19 pandemic is pottering in your garden. It’s springtime in the UK, and – if the media is to be believed – an army of housebound people has taken to sowing seeds. Online seed companies nearly buckled under the strain as garden centres closed, and I have had to resort to ordering peat-free compost from the milkman*.

We are (almost) all safe at home. I can hardly imagine what it must be like for people who have no home. The Lemon Tree Trust is a charity that supports people who have been forcibly displaced, transforming refugee camps with gardens. They need our help to continue their important work during the pandemic crisis.

I am sure that you feel the benefits of gardening. It can be a powerful therapeutic tool, addressing issues of isolation and mental health while producing beauty and food security. 

The Lemon Tree Trust also supports agricultural businesses and gardening initiatives in refugee communities, creating employment and restoring cultural identity, dignity and purpose.

Their long-term vision is to expose every refugee camp in the world to garden competitions and to encourage self-sustaining ventures run by and for refugees. Through the provision of seeds and plants, we empower social and economic change.

During #NationalGardeningWeek, Mr Fothergill’s will donate a packet of seed to the Lemon Tree Trust for every packet bought via their website by UK customers. So if you’re planning on placing a seed order, consider doing it by 7th May with Mr Fothergill’s.

https://twitter.com/LemonTreeTrust/status/1256181840324505602?s=20

But if you’re not planning on placing an order, or you’re reading this after gardening week has finished, you can still help! The Lemon Tree Trust accepts donations of seeds from individuals. Have a sort through your seedbox to see what you can spare, and then email info@lemontreetrust.org for the relevant UK or USA postal address.

“Our gardeners in Kurdistan grow a range of edibles and ornamentals and are willing to try new things as well as those crops they know and love. Favourites include, courgette, broad beans, salad crops, radish, chard, tomatoes, sweetcorn, carrots, leafy herbs (parsley, coriander etc), rocket plus all manner of ornamentals including snapdragons, violas, petunias, sunflowers, zinnias, lavender, geraniums, hollyhocks, mint, rosemary and thyme.

These are just suggestions though as we are really very grateful for any seed you can spare. Any colourful annuals, biennials or perennials you have would be fantastic. The gardeners in Domiz also keep bees, so anything you have for pollinators would be great.” 

And if you’re short on seeds, the Lemon Tree Trust also gratefully accepts donations of money, 100% of which go directly to benefiting people in camps.

*He is a man. His name is Trevor.
[Images courtesy of the Lemon Tree Trust.]