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Showing posts from November, 2010

The Therapeutic Benefits of Gardens.

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photo - Jan Johnsen, Croton Point Park
Robert Ulrich was in the hospital with a badly broken leg.
Forced to lie flat on his back, Ulrich, an environmental psychologist, stared for hours at a too bright ceiling light surrounded by acoustic ceiling tile.
 “I remember...how much I wished I had an attractive image on the ceiling,” Ulrich recalls.
White Birches - Jan Johnsen, Boscobel
Now the director of the Center for Health Systems & Design at Texas A&M University, Ulrich produced groundbreaking research that found that viewing natural scenes in a hospital aids stress recovery by evoking positive feelings, reducing negative emotions and blocking or reducing stressful thoughts.
When test subjects viewed gardens as opposed to urban scenes, they exhibited lower alpha rates which are associated with being wakefully relaxed.
Garden by Jan Johnsen
Further research by Ulrich indicated that surgical patients who had views of nature had shorter post-operative stays, fewer negative commen…

another Steve Jurvetson photo

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Venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson (he brought you Hotmail) is one of the most influential funders and thinkers in Silicon Valley. He's also an enthusiastic rocket hobbyist, blogger and Flickr-er.

I think of him as a science genius who takes great photos...it has nothing to do with horticulture, design or anything similar...but I follow his photostream avidly...Here is why..this is today's photo on Flickr  (click here).


Happy Thanksgiving!

No matter what religious tradition you follow - this will give you a warm feeling....Happy Thanksgiving!


Inexpensive Gift Ideas for Gardening Pals #1

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It is that time of year and you want to give wonderful, heart warming gifts to your dear friends...unusual and touching presents that acknowledge who they are and what they are into...not just hand cream.... right?
And you don't have a lot of money to spend and you would rather order now, from the computer, than go crazy in a crowded and crazed shopping scene...
So in that spirit I am going to suggest some inexpensive gift ideas for your gardening pals...the money limit is $15. and less for some fab ideas...
the market research is this:  If I want it then they will too.


and remember that the gift wrap is as important...  http://www.realcountryliving.com/ recommends getting flour sack dish towels and using them as gift wrap - two gifts in one! and no waste.

Here are some ideas ( click on the titles for the websites)

2008 Horticulture Magazine Issues on CD  $6.99


Enjoy a full year of Horticulture on one handy disc. This CD contains the 7 Horticulture issues published in 2008, reproduced i…

OUTDOOR LANTERNS - Rules of Thumb to Get the Right Size

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Hinkley Lighting - Harbor Lights
Light illuminates our lives.  It helps us to notice the details and, by highlighting, it tells us silently what is important. Outdoor light leads us on.


So with that said,  let me share with you an informative piece from a Great Lighting Company - HINKLEY LIGHTING (click here).... I do this because people invariably choose lanterns that are too small for a chosen outdoor site. This article from the Hinkley site may help you.
ALL PHOTOS HERE ARE FROM THE HINKLEY WEBSITE.



The height of an outdoor lantern should be based on the height of the door:

FOR 1 LANTERN: If you place a lantern on only one side of the door, it should measure one-third the height of the door. The center of the bulb should rest 66" above the threshold of the door.



FOR 2 LANTERNS: When two lanterns are used, they should each measure approximately one-fourth the height of the door. The center of the bulb should rest 66" above the threshold of the door.

•TIP: In either case, if you…

Autumn, the year's last loveliest smile

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Autumn, the year's last loveliest smile. ~ William Cullen Bryant
It is November and here, in the Northeast of the U.S., the brisk breezes are blowing, the rain is coming down and the leaves are falling, falling....
So we must content ourselves with the sweet leftovers - the berries, the cabbages, the mums and some lovely remaining leaves.
The ones on the Japanese Maples are brilliantly stunning this year:


The berries on the winterberry - Ilex verticillata - are in their glory. All ready to be made into a Thansgiving wreath.

from kidsgardening.com
The planters are filled with mums,pansies and more.


 The crabapples are studded with their finest jewelry:


 And even the puddles don't look so bad at this time of year.

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from Toronto Gardens blog
I am heading out to teach today so I do not have time to write at length..the class is 'Secrets of Creating Serenity Gardens'...as they are 'secrets' I don't write about them here -
Rainbow Swiss Chard
but please note the 'Color Energy' insert on the sidebar on the right -  
Gomphrena 'Buddy Purple' and 'Jack Frost' Brunnera
Color is energy and you are energy , put them together and you get an omelette! (so to speak).
When I was in college decades ago we were asked to write our vision of the future...Everyone wrote about a 'Jetson-like' (a cartoon about flying cars and robot maids)  reality...
Dwarf Iris
I wrote about how everyone would wake up and 'know' what color the day was...and would wear that same color by intuition...do you ever notice how you end up wearing the same colors everyday as someone in your life or surroundings? its uncanny....

Plants use color and light energy to live...so do we, we are j…

Speaking with Earth Spirits in a November Garden

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Hydrangea in front of Doublefile Viburnum - early November in NY state
"While my gardens, admittedly neglected this summer, have morphed mainly to daisy-yellows and a plethora of pink malvas, the flowers from my friend Sharon's garden in Watertown, Massachusetts still flourish.
But you should know that Sharon speaks with earth spirits and they obviously help.
Sophia Serve

Crabapple in my garden in November
Don't you love that? "....and they obviously help...."...of course they do!  Here is my November ode to Earth Spirits:
Hellebore from Pine Knot Farm in my garden
'Speaking with Earth Spirits'
Deep down, in the warmth of the fecund earth, the spirits sing songs of life. Hoping we hear, they inhale and exhale along with the seasons. Now, in the cool days of November, they sing to us of rest, replenishment and they ask us to be calm. The time has come to listen and of course, to rake the leaves...the leaves...

Crabapple again.....love those rocks!


Hellebores - The Enduring Mid-Winter Flower

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one of my landscapes - Jan Johnsen
What is evergeen, deer resistant, thrives in shade, has flowers and comes back every year?
You could answer Andromeda (Pieris) - but it doesn't really like shade. Perhaps you answered Hakonechloa (Japanese Forest Grass) but it doesn't have flowers. Barberry (berberis) and Daffodils are not evergreen. Grasses, Boxwood and sedges don't meet this criteria either....
from Debs Garden

The problem free, shade loving Hellebore (Helleborus) is the answer. They are a perfect plant for a Serenity Garden....

The Perennial Plant Association's Plant of the Year for 2005, Hellebores bloom from winter to early spring across the United States, depending on USDA zone and variety. They like light to moderate shade, especially an area shaded by deciduous trees, with full sun when they flower, and protection from summer heat.

Hellebores sport drooping, buttercup-like flowers colors of pink, mauve, white, green, burgundy, yellow, black-purple, bi-colored, speckle…