An article in today’s USA Today by Craig Wilson reminds me how important the porch is for all of us. Craig reminisces on growing up and spending time on his parents front porch. His stories remind me of spending my own childhood on the back porch of my parents home. All our summer meals took place on the porch. In fact, most all activities were moved to the porch during the summer months. There were many summer nights spent sleeping outside on the porch.
The porch is one of those iconic architectural elements that we all can relate to and have fond memories of spending time on. It works so well because it offers us protection from the elements. The porch shelters us from the hot summer sun and it is a place where we can sit outside to listen to the rain. It acts as a stage where we can entertain our friends. And it is an observation area where we can check out what is happening in the neighborhood. The porch makes us feel safe because we are close to the house and do not have to venture too far into nature.
I am reminded of how important an architectural element the porch is for all of us. A porch was included in the garden design at Medford Leas Continuing Care Retirement Community. The porch was constructed off of the recreation room and it has been an essential component of this courtyard garden. It is host is daily activities, including cookouts, holiday parties, concerts, garden classes, reading groups, etc. etc.
I am thinking about a comfortable chair, something to eat and maybe a good book to read on my porch. You can include a ceiling fan, maybe some music and a cooler filled with drinks and you may never have to leave! Who could ask for anything more! Enjoy!Read more
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