Editor's note

During isolation and lockdowns, screens can only give you so much relief. That may explain why so many Americans are finding themselves paying extra care and attention to their gardens. According to the University of Washington’s Jennifer Atkinson, there’s a long tradition of finding solace among fruits, vegetables and flowers. Amid this age of social and digital distancing, gardening, Atkinson writes, “arises as an antidote, extending the promise of contact with something real.”

This week, we also liked articles that cast light on what science has to say about whether pets make you more a productive teleworker, offered an immunologist-eye-view of what it may take to survive COVID-19 and gave pointers on volunteering at a time when most of us need to keep our helping hands to ourselves.

Nick Lehr

Arts + Culture Editor

During coronavirus lockdowns, gardens have served as an escape from feelings of alienation. Richard Bord/Getty Images

The impulse to garden in hard times has deep roots

Jennifer Atkinson, University of Washington

What drives people to garden isn't the fear of hunger so much as hunger for physical contact – and a longing to engage in work that is real.

Working from home involves new co-workers. Halfpoint Images/Getty Images

Very good dogs don’t necessarily make very good co-workers

Jessica Myrick, Pennsylvania State University

Are the best co-workers really the ones with four legs and a tail? Science says it depends.

What would Darwin consider the best adaptation to protect against the coronavirus? rolbos / Getty Images

What does ‘survival of the fittest’ mean in the coronavirus pandemic? Look to the immune system

Prakash Nagarkatti, University of South Carolina; Mitzi Nagarkatti, University of South Carolina

Who is most likely to survive an infection of the new coronavirus? Two immunologists explain that it is those who mount exactly the right immune response – not too weak, not too strong.