IN THE NEWS
“Spending more time in nature might have some surprising health benefits.” This and other information can be found in the recent New York Times article “The Claim: Exposure to Plants and Parks Can Boost immunity” by Anahad O’Connor (July 5, 2010). Stress reduction, increased immune function, lower concentration of cortisol, lower pulse rate and lower blood pressure are just a few of the many health benefits associated with our interaction with nature.
As the article describes, “Exposure to plants and trees seems to benefit health.” It is good to see that articles like this are reaching main stream America and beyond. We have know for years that contact with nature helps us recover from illness. Now the studies are proving that daily contact will make us healthier – and save healthcare dollars, too! The article can be found at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/06/health/06real.html?_r=2&emc=eta1Read more
HARNESSING THE POWER OF GARDENS TO HEAL
The current issue of Garden Design magazine (Jul/Aug 2010) has a great article on Healing Gardens and the work of Clare Cooper Marcus. This is a definite read for anyone who has an interest in the healing powers of gardens and why nature can play an important role in the healing process. The article chronicles the work of Ms. Cooper
Marcus and how she has been a leader in helping to define how these spacial gardens should be designed.
Ms. Cooper Marcus talks about how healing gardens should be as much, if not more, about plants and less about creating abstract designs. The gardens should “provide a sense that you are in a garden and not a plaza or indoors.” The garden, as Clare explains in the article, should be designed to include four essential elements: exercise, social support, a sense of control and a distraction of nature. These and other important design ideas are discussed in the article.
The article may be found in the magazine starting on page 73 and additional information at the web site www.gardendesign.comRead more
Benefits of Nature
British researchers looked at ten various studies on the effects of activities performed outside in nature. Activities such as walking, cycling and gardening had positive effects on the 1,200 people surveyed. According to Jo Barton, co-author of the study, “There would be a large potential benefit if people were to self-medicate more with green exercise.” The largest positive health changes occurred when people exercised in the outdoors.
The article, “What is the Beat Dose of Nature and Green Exercise for Improving Mental Health” can be found at the link http://pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac/presspac/full/10.1021/es903183rRead more
There is a great article on horticultural therapy by Anne Marie Chaker in today’s Wall Street Journal. The article, “When Treatment Involves Dirty Fingernails”, describes several hospital based programs around the country and offers information from Roger Ulrich, Ph.D.
As the article indicates – “The path to better health may wind through the garden.” The article can be found at – http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304620304575165831058222608.html?mod=djemLifeStyle_hRead more
FRUIT TREES AND OLDER ADULTS
Everyone has a garden story to tell. Start to mention an interest in gardening and it seems that people will share their adventures in nature. For example, I was on a flight back from San Diego and had the pleasure of sitting next to a woman who had several garden stories to tell. She and her husband live outside of Houston on a one acre parcel and have a passion for growing fruit trees. The winter was not very kind because a frost threatened their grapefruit trees. They had to pick all of the fruit, before it ripened, or it ruined by the frost.
I relate this story mainly because this gardener was even more concerned with how she and her husband will be able to maintain their fruit trees as they get older. They are currently in the 50′s and want to continue to live in their home for the rest of their lives. One of their concerns is how they will be able to work in their garden and care for their fruit trees and vegetable garden. Watering, pruning, weeding and all of the things that they need to do to help the garden thrive.
There is a lot to consider when we talk about aging-in-place, especially as it relates to the garden and yard in general. There is a growing need to help people adapt their yards to become age friendly outdoor environments. This will require an assessment of the yard to help people to continue to fully use their yard. In the case of the woman from Houston, installing a drip irrigation system; applying mulch to control weeds and retain moisture; planting disease resistant varieties of fruit trees; are a few of the ways people can help make it easier to create age appropriate gardens. It may also be possible to share the work with neighbors in exchange for a share of some of the produce when it ripens. Gardeners want to keep working in their garden and we need to find ways to help make it easier for everyone.Read more