“…the slow breathing of the earth.”

October 27th, 2014
Photo by Henry Domke

Photo by Henry Domke

“Gravity is measured by the bottom of the foot; we trace the density and texture of the ground through our soles. Standing barefoot on a smooth glacial rock by the sea at sunset, and sensing the warmth of the sun-heated stone through one’s soles, is an extraordinarily healing experience, making one part of the eternal cycle of nature. One senses the slow breathing of the earth.” - Juhani Pallasmaa  The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses

 

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Fundamentals of Horticultural Therapy classes

October 26th, 2014

HT class

What: Fundamentals of Horticultural Therapy classes
When & Where:

  • Oct.23-26 / Upper Marlboro MD (Melwood)
  • Nov.6-9  /  Denver CO (Anchor Center for Blind Children)
  • Nov.20-23 / Half Moon Bay CA (Elkus Ranch)

Learn how to combine a passion for gardening and helping people through the innovative field of horticultural therapy. Join students from across the country to learn more by enrolling in Fundamentals of Horticultural Therapy this fall in one of three locations. Download class flyer >>

About The Horticultural Therapy Institute –
At the non-profit Horticultural Therapy Institute, students gain the skills and confidence to create and manage successful horticultural therapy programs, and are inspired to become leaders in the practice and profession of horticultural therapy.  Our experienced instructors are dedicated to teaching best practices with passion and excellence, keeping an eye on the changing needs of programs, people and places.  Learn more >>

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Wordless Wednesday, 9/10/14

September 10th, 2014
Callicarpa (beautyberry)

Callicarpa (beautyberry)

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Wordless Wednesday, 8/27/14

August 27th, 2014
Icelandic horse

Icelandic horse, Skagaströnd, Iceland. Photo by Naomi Sachs

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The healing garden down the street: Guest blog post by Joan Vorderbruggen and Lisa Overby-Blosser

August 22nd, 2014
Joan Vorderbruggen's garden patio. All photos by  Joan Vorderbruggen

Joan Vorderbruggen’s garden patio. All photos by Joan Vorderbruggen

I first met Joan Vorderbruggen at the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) meeting in 2013 in Providence, RI. She presented an expanded version of this lovely post, and I was very moved. Sometimes we researchers and designers get so bogged down in trying to analyze and quantify everything that we forget the more human and – dare I say it? – even the spiritual dimension. Joan’s and Lisa’s words, along with images from Joan’s garden, get to the heart of it. Many thanks to both of them for sharing here.

The healing garden down the street
By Joan Vorderbruggen and Lisa Overby-Blosser

The spring of 2012 held little hope for my neighbor, Lisa, wife and mother of four teenagers.  Lisa had just been diagnosed with stage four breast cancer and was given a year or less to live. Asking me if she could spend time in my backyard garden, she felt time in a peaceful setting would help her deal with the upcoming chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and other stresses.

Over that summer, Lisa spent a great deal of time walking the 5-house distance to my yard, sometimes barely able to put one foot in front of the other.  Still, she persevered, settling in to journal, sketch, and just be in the moment.  While I encouraged her to come and go as she pleased, I was happy that at times, she would join me on my deck and, without any prompting, speak of how the garden and natural world supported her during that time. I asked if I could share her words with others.

Lisa’s words (italicized) fit neatly within the framework of Stephen Kellert’s Biophillic Design Elements (below). According to Kellert, these elements stem from an intuitive human-nature connection, where people feel that spending time in nature can help them heal mentally, physically and spiritually. The Biophilia hypothesis assertion is that because humans evolved with nature, they feel comforted by nature (Kellert and Wilson, The Biophilia Hypothesis, 1993).

PROSPECT
The idea of prospect is primarily about being able to control your view, to scan the horizon and understand where you are in relationship to your surroundings.
In the garden you have control – of where you sit, where you look, what you choose to focus on – whether it’s a wide view or something really small…  There are so many choices available to you.  The fact that you can make a choice of something can be healing.

Prospect. Photo by Joan Vorderbruggen

Prospect and Refuge

 

REFUGE
Refuge allows us to feel safe, sheltered and protected.  In my garden, Lisa chose to sit under a grapevine trellis.  She speaks more in metaphor of her feelings of refuge.
The garden is always welcoming; no plants fall over or trees drop their leaves in disgust or empathy when I took my hat off exposing my baldness….  The garden accepts where your body and emotions are at that moment in time.

Read the rest of this entry »

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