Mini Stories: Encouraging Home Gardening to Alleviate Stress and Boost Morale

eBay News Team

U.K. seller Shaun O’Brien is urging his community to take up gardening as a soothing, recreational activity.

Editor’s note: During this unprecedented time, we’re highlighting the individual acts of kindness from our global seller community. Now through June, we’ll share a story about one of our sellers on how they’re paying it forward in our Mini Stories column.

As the weather lightens and temperatures warm, people around the world are looking for ways to safely enjoy the outdoors. Many are turning to their gardens as a way to cope, start a new hobby and enjoy the fresh air. 

U.K. seller Shaun O’Brien believes that backyards can be comforting oases during difficult times — sanctuaries of both mental and physical health. As the owner of plant nursery and eBay store Direct Plants in Norfolk, England, Shaun is supporting his community by hosting a fruit tree give away. 

Worth £25 each, Shaun donated 20 plum trees to 20 winners in hopes of brightening someone’s day while everyone is at home.

Call for participants

Founder of Direct Plants, eBay U.K. seller Shaun O'Brien is helping the local community from his own backyard, encouraging others to get outside and tend to their gardens. 

“As a company staying afloat during this crisis, we wanted to give a little cheer back,” Shaun said. “We also launched a 20% discount to all NHS staff on our main website.” 

Winning plum tree

The staff at Direct Plants are determined to spread as much kindness as they can, and they are already making an impact. Recipients of the prize are taking to Twitter to share how their new fruit trees have brought them joy.

“Thank you for my lovely prize of a plum tree! Best thing to happen during lock down.” -@pinkJJ27

“Thrilled with our lovely plum tree. Thank you Direct Plants!” -@joanneheathflp 

Plant recipient Sharon Mead sitting alongside her new plum tree.

Awarded the Specialist Seller Award in 2019, Direct Plants boasts an extensive inventory of plants and continues to deliver high-quality service to its customers nationwide.

While the global pandemic has had wide-ranging effects throughout his local community, Shaun is overwhelmed by the camaraderie among his neighbors and friends.

“It’s like something from a movie how all members of the community have adapted so well and all pulled together with no questions asked,” Shaun said. “I'm overwhelmed with the actions and responses from small businesses—from the local butcher helping me put a bulk meat order together for all my staff once a week, and the bakery doing a delivery on a Friday each week and the local produce company delivering fresh fruits and vegetables to us all on Thursdays! It’s been a breath of fresh air seeing everyone around the area respect each other and have massive community spirit!”

Since 1995, our purpose has been clear: to empower people and create economic opportunity. We’re committed to helping our sellers during this difficult time. 

For more eBay news and updates related to the coronavirus outbreak, please visit our seller community center. For information on government support for small businesses in the U.S. and abroad, visit eBay’s Government Relations site at