Archive for the ‘Winter’ Category

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013
At the thawing lake's edge, jewels of ice linger on wildflower stalks. Photo by Naomi Sachs

At the thawing lake’s edge, jewels of ice linger on wildflower stalks. Photo by Naomi Sachs

Nature always holds mysteries. Sometimes they reveal themselves easily, taking us by delighted surprise. Sometimes we have to look a little harder. Sometimes we must simply thrill in the knowledge that they are there, like a secret, waiting to be discovered.

From all of us at the Therapeutic Landscapes Network, to each and every one of you, wishing you a healthy, joyous 2014!

 

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…

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Nurture connection to nature by nurturing winter wildlife

Thursday, December 29th, 2011
Black-capped Chickadee. Photo by Henry Domke, http://henrydomke.com

Black-capped Chickadee. Photo by Henry Domke, www.henrydomke.com

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.

 

Happy Winter Solstice!

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011
Beech leaves. Photo by Naomi Sachs

Beech leaves. Photo by Naomi Sachs

And for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, happy Summer Solstice!

 

The transportive power of scent

Saturday, December 17th, 2011
Eucalyptus image courtesy of http://www.miltoncontact.com/miltoncruiser/ifl_5eucalyptus.html

Eucalyptus image from http://www.miltoncontact.com/miltoncruiser/ifl_5eucalyptus.html

The other day, I was going through a pile of papers and found an envelope that had been mailed to me by a friend five years ago. Having no recollection of what was inside, I opened it up again to find some leaves wrapped in wax paper. Eucalyptus leaves. And suddenly there I was, back in Berkeley, CA, standing in a grove of those tall, majestic trees.

They say that our olfactory system is the most powerful sense for triggering memory. Designers and horticultural therapists often use fragrant plants in gardens for people with dementia precisely because they are so effective. When we think of fragrance in the garden, we often stick to flowers. But if you’ve ever smelled freshly mown grass, or piñon trees after a New Mexico thunderstorm, or the crushed leaves of just about any culinary herb, you know that flowers are just part of the story.

This is the time of year when people are buying Christmas trees. To me, one of the nicest things about a live tree is the way it fills the room with its resiny aroma. Give me that and some eggnog with nutmeg (oh, and rum…) and I’m in the spirit.

For more reading on the importance of scent as a memory trigger and some of the research behind it, see these two previous TLN Blog posts:

Scent as Emotional Memory Trigger in the Healing Garden

and

More on Scent and Memory – Guest post by Wendy Meyer.” This post includes a link to Meyer’s thesis, “Persistence of Memory: Scent Gardens for Therapeutic Life Review in Communities for the Elderly.”

Do you have a fragrance that’s an especially strong memory trigger? Have you used it in your or your clients’ gardens? Leave a comment here!