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A home garden retreat can provide a timely escape for those craving outdoor activities

A home garden retreat can provide a timely escape for those craving outdoor activities

Whether you know it as nature therapy, ecotherapy or “getting out of the house,” relieving stress with a trip outdoors has been a common practice for millennia. At Brent and Becky’s Bulbs in Gloucester County, it’s known as forest bathing.

A relatively new practice, forest bathing began in Japan in the 1980s as people took trips to tranquil forests to improve their mental and physical health. With many people practicing social distancing inside their homes, a home garden can offer a modern alternative as an outdoor retreat.

“Forest bathing is about being healthful and mindful, and going out and sitting in the peace and quiet in the forest and having the feeling wrapped around you,” said Becky Heath of Brent and Becky’s Bulbs. “It creates a very healthful biome in your body, and it lowers your stress level, blood pressure and all of that stuff. They’ve found the same can happen in a garden.”

While operating under limitations of its own, Brent and Becky’s Bulbs is continuing to satiate the interests of gardeners hungry for an outdoor escape. While tours of the property have been cancelled in accordance with current health and safety measures, customers can continue to draw inspiration from the numerous resources available at

Customers can continue to place orders online and by phone. Ambitious gardeners can even preorder their bulb supply for this fall.

For those wishing to get started in their home gardens right away, Heath recommends planting popular springtime flowers such as anemones and lilies. For those looking for a summertime bloom, she recommends planting alocasias, colocasias or other tropical flowers that will enjoy the heat and humidity of a Virginia summer.

“Get outside, and get your kids with you—there are all kinds of things that are very easy to plant,” she said. “Find things you can plant right now. There’s a bulb called oxalis, or Iron Cross, that comes in all kinds of shapes and colors. It’s a great perennial plant, and putting it in a pot makes it a great house plant.”