Archive for the ‘seasonal interest’ Category

#TLNnaturephoto challenge (Wordless Wednesday, kind of)

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015
Photo by Naomi Sachs

Who says there’s no fall color in TX? #TLNnaturephoto day 3 of 7. Photo by Naomi Sachs

First of all, OMG, it’s December! How did that happen??

Second, obviously this isn’t a true Wordless Wednesday post because of, well, all the words, but it’s Wednesday and there are pictures, so close enough.

Finally, here’s my invitation: A FB friend recently invited me to take and post 1 nature photo a day for 7 days. I’m supposed to tag someone each day to continue the chain but that feels too much like a creepy chain letter so I’ve stopped that part. I take a lot of nature photos anyway, but I have to say, committing to take and post 1 a day has made me look more carefully at my surroundings, which I’ve really been enjoying.

So, I invite all of you readers to join me: 1 nature photo a day for 7 days, posted to Facebook, Twitter, Instragram, etc. If you choose to accept this mission, please use the hashtag #TLNnaturephoto so we can follow each others’ progress. Have fun!

Photo by Naomi Sachs

Dewdrops on a horizontal web, #TLNnaturephoto day 2 of 7. Photo by Naomi Sachs

Photo by Naomi Sachs

Rainy Sunday. #TLNnaturephoto day 1 of 7. Photo by Naomi Sachs

Photo by Naomi Sachs

Floating Cercis leaf. #TLNnaturephoto day 4 of 7. Photo by Naomi Sachs

The quiet joys of January

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012
Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa spp.). Photo by Naomi Sachs

Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa spp.)

This past Sunday, New Year’s Day, The New York Times ran a great piece about quiet (“The Joy of Quiet,” by Pico Iyer). I can relate. Though I live in the Hudson Valley where it gets pretty cold this time of year (12 degrees Fahrenheit when I woke up this morning), and though I’m a gardener who loves digging in the dirt in my spare time (back to that in a minute), I think that January has become my favorite month. Because it’s quiet. As a landscape designer who does not do installation, most of my work is indoors, even in the busiest times of year (I wonder if Ken Smith‘s family still asks him why he doesn’t have dirt under his fingernails with all that “landscaping” he does…). But clients never call in January and February, and installation doesn’t need to be supervised, etc. etc. etc., and just generally I can worry less about juggling my design work and my work with the TLN. Ironically, the only time when I seem to have spare time is when the ground is frozen solid…


Nurture connection to nature by nurturing winter wildlife

Thursday, December 29th, 2011
Black-capped Chickadee. Photo by Henry Domke,

Black-capped Chickadee. Photo by Henry Domke,

The TLN Blog has published posts in the past on winter wildlife, and we will do so again in the coming year. But today I’m sharing this post from one of my favorite blogs, Beautiful Wildlife Garden:

Top 10 Tips for Your Winter Wildlife Garden

The article discusses the many rewards of creating a winter wildlife garden and offers tips on how to best provide food, water, and shelter for birds.

And speaking of which, the Audubon Christmas Bird Count is still on, through January 5th:

Each of the citizen scientists who annually braves snow, wind, or rain, to take part in the Christmas Bird Count makes an enormous contribution to conservation. Audubon and other organizations use data collected in this longest-running wildlife census to assess the health of bird populations – and to help guide conservation action.

Thanks again to Beautiful Wildlife Garden for the heads up on this.

So whether you’re enjoying watching wildlife from the comfort of your warm, cozy home or outside braving the elements as a Citizen Scientist for the Bird Count, connecting with nature at this time of year will nurture and sustain you until spring returns.


Autumn and Albert Camus

Friday, October 14th, 2011
Fall maple by Henry Domke,

Fall maple photo by Henry Domke,

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
–  Albert Camus


If you can only plant one thing, plant a tree

Friday, May 27th, 2011

White oak. Photo by Henry Domke,

White oak. Photo by Henry Domke,

The best friend of earth of man is the tree.  When we use the tree respectfully and economically, we have one of the greatest resources on the earth.
–   Frank Lloyd Wright

Let’s say you are designing a healing garden – for a client or yourself – and you only have 10 square feet of planting space. You could plant a few shrubs, or a few more perennials, or a bunch of annuals. Or you could plant a tree. If there’s enough vertical space, and there usually is, go for the tree. Why? Here are some reasons:

Shade is one of the most important components of any therapeutic landscape, and yet it is overlooked so often that sometimes I just want to cry. I’ve seen countless designs that might be successful if enough shade were provided for people to actually enjoy the garden even on hot, sunny days. I’m going to do a whole post on this soon, but I’ll point out a couple key things here. Especially in the healthcare setting, shade is crucial. Many people are “photosensitive” – sensitive to sun and bright light, either because of their condition or from the medication that they’re on. Imagine a garden in a cancer center without shade. I’ve seen those! If you include trees in your design, make sure they are big enough when they go in to provide shade right away. See that mother who is visiting her sick child and wants to sit with him under a nice, shady tree for a few minutes? Look her in the eye and tell her to come back in five years when the tree will be big enough to provide adequate shade. Or plant a big tree and watch as people gravitate to and gather under its soothing, protective boughs. Speaking of which…

You can’t beat trees for symbolism. They are so strong and resilient, and yet so graceful, flexible, and nurturing. And they can live for hundreds of years. Pretty inspiring. Furthermore, lots of trees are used for medicinal purposes. Even if a willow isn’t actually harvested for its analgesic properties, it can still be a good symbol of pain relief in a setting where healing is the goal.

Alone with myself
The trees bend to caress me
The shade hugs my heart.
~Candy Polgar

Sensory engagement
Sight is the most obvious sense, and we can appreciate a tree from a distance, from below looking up at the leaves and the patterns of light filtered through them, from above looking down through a window onto green rather than brown or grey. Remember Roger Ulrich’s seminal study* of patients recovering from surgery? The view that the patients had who recovered faster and needed pain medication was of a grove of trees. (more…)