Blog: Horticultural Therapy

 

 

I’ve come across a couple of small articles on how gardening soothes us. “Geosmin” is the component in soil that affects our brains and gives us a feeling of peace. But, did you know there is a formal association for and about horticultural therapy? My guest this week, Jeff, the Plant Guy, reminded me. He highlighted the various institutions he personally travels to, various programs he shares and the positive results. Results can happen on a more subtle level. Memories are stirred, we think back to other times and places often with positive results. Here’s a great article that talks about gardening improving longevity.

Horticultural therapy is a time-proven practice. The therapeutic benefits of garden environments have been documented since ancient times. In the 19th century, Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and recognized as the “Father of American Psychiatry,” was first to document the positive effect working in the garden had on individuals with mental illness.” (American Horticultural Therapy Association)

They also state: “A therapeutic garden is a plant-dominated environment purposefully designed to facilitate interaction with the healing elements of nature. Interactions can be passive or active depending on the garden design and users’ needs. There are many sub-types of therapeutic gardens including healing gardens, enabling gardens, rehabilitation gardens, and restorative gardens.” (American Horticultural Therapy Association)

I had an opportunity a couple of years ago to help out at the Hobbs Farm on LI. They produced food for the 11 food banks that existed at that time throughout LI.

The founder had a son who was severely injured in a car accident and disabled. They were able to put in a macadam surface for wheelchair access and built high raised beds for wheelchair bound folk. The canopy and benches gave them a place for snacks and a way to get out of the sun. It was and is a very practical and useful therapeutic design garden area, all part of the bigger farm.

Today I’d like to remind you to get out into your yards, gardens, nearby forests. If you can’t and have houseplants spend some time with them today. They clean our air, add moisture to it and lend a feeling of well being. All good.

Do you have any memories connected to a particular plant or flower? We enjoy hearing from you. Please share. Thanks. Judith

 

Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: Meet Jeff Eleveld, the Plant Guy

Description: Can plants help us with our physical therapy? Do plants clean the air, add moisture, and lift the mood? Yes, they do and more. Meet Jeff, The Plant Guy, from CT who offers therapeutic horticulture to at least 87 different types of institutions across parts of NE and eastern NY. He describes the joy, the connections and the memories they stir up for us in so many ways. Join us for a lively discussion.

About My Guest: Jeff, is lovingly named and referred to by his communities as Jeff, The Plant Guy. Jeff has over forty-five years’ experience in horticulture. For more than 25 years Jeff owned interior plant scaping company “Natures Interiors” providing interior plant, flowers and weekly care to area businesses and private homes.   He is an avid bonsai enthusiast and plant collector boasting just over one hundred seventy plants in his personal indoor collection as well as over one hundred deciduous and conifer bonsai that are kept outdoors year round. He has traveled extensively across Europe and South America visiting botanical gardens along the way.  Jeff is a published author, penning his book “How To Kill Your House Plant” on plant care along with a little bit of family history and anecdotes from his years of plant care.  Jeff has written articles for the Hartford Courant, The Green Thumb Print and Knox Park Foundation and many other publications.   Jeff is a past founding member of the Petit Foundations, Michaela’s Garden 4 O’clock Project.

Transcript: #68 Jeff Eleveld

How do trees talk to each other?

I am so in awe of nature and how she is teaching us, reaching out to us so that we become better. Better stewards, better co-partners with her in all her diversity.
How is that happening? Suzanne Simard, from Canada, relates to us in this TED talk what her observations and studies show concerning the complexity of a forest.
Trees share information below ground. Hub trees or mother trees send carbon to seedlings. When she is injured she sends messages to her seedlings, the next generation of trees. She sends more carbon and defense signals to support their growth and longevity.

Suzanne has discovered that trees are super cooperators sharing carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, hormones and more. The mycorrhizal network, fungal threads create a fantastic below ground highway where trade agreements occur, where substances are delivered not only among species but can include their neighbors. She also reminds us that the forest has a tremendous ability to self-heal too. So, what can we do to help our forests? Suzanne leaves us with 4 tips. I thought they were worthwhile so I will summarize them here.

    1. Get into the forest and get involved with local forestry programs. These folks know the local conditions.
    2. Save old growth forests. Why? they are genetic banks for species and mycorrhizal networks.
    3. When cutting down forests be conservative. Do some research. Where are the hub trees?
    4. Give forests the tools to regenerate and self heal

Woodrow Nelson from the Arbor Day foundation’s Time for Trees, podcast guest this week, describes the foundation’s incredible initiative to plant 100,000,000 trees by 2022. And, they are one-third of the way there. Impressive. Want to get involved? Click on the link and they will help you get started.

Trees are simply magnificent in their strength, their beauty, and their gifts. It’s time we appreciate the intelligence within our forests. What can you do today? Let us know. We appreciate your stories.

Enjoy. Judith

 

Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: Meet Woodrow Nelson, Time for Trees

Description: Planting trees is one of the main focuses for the Arbor Day Foundation. Today’s guest, Woodrow Nelson, tree lover, and planter, talks about the Arbor Day Foundation’s initiative to plant 100,000,000 trees by 2022. What is truly remarkable is that they are one-third of the way there.

Join us as we talk about trees, their benefits, and how we can help replant especially in disaster sites such as those hit by wildfires, hurricanes, and tornadoes.

About My Guest: Woodrow Nelson is a lifelong tree planter while growing up in several Midwest states through a business career in California and Ohio before moving to Lincoln, Nebraska, to join the Executive Management Team of the nonprofit Arbor Day Foundation in 2006. He is inspired by hundreds of thousands of Arbor Day Foundation members, engaging them in the conservation work of the Foundation with impact in neighborhoods, communities, and forests across the globe. Woody and his wife, Joyce, enjoy time together with their children and grandchildren.

More about the Foundation at arborday.org

More about the Time for Trees initiative at timefortrees.org

Transcript: #67 Woodrow Nelson 

Blog: Plant-Based Eating

Several guests on my podcast show, Holistic Nature of Us, talk about diet, nutrition as being one of the most important factors in creating foundational health. Building healthy soil leads to harvesting nutrient-rich foods, leads to looking at plant-based eating more carefully. And maybe adopting better nutrition habits for the long run. In my nursing career where I worked in the field of oncology, I saw first hand the effects of using products that had serious health consequences and environmental ones too. Long term consequences were not considered in their development and usage. I wonder about us.

I looked into the creation of and use of pesticides, herbicides and more in my travels. It seems that we as a species jump on the bandwagon of new discoveries without asking one crucial question: what are the long term consequences? How will this development/innovation affect the next seven generations? Why is it we seem to have developed products and more with serious effects on our health and the planet and we continue to do so?

This TED Talk is given by a physician who has researched nutrition and health and the evidence is there: plant-based eating promotes foundational health. He too asks the same questions. A little quirky but factual, I hope the short video gives you food for thought.
What one dietary change will you make today to support your foundational health?

Remember: all comments are appreciated. Enjoy. Judith

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