Wordless Wednesday, 12/28/11 – Last WW of 2011!

Fahnestock State Park. Photo by Naomi Sachs

Fahnestock State Park. Photo by Naomi Sachs

Happy New Year!


Happy Winter Solstice!

Beech leaves. Photo by Naomi Sachs

Beech leaves. Photo by Naomi Sachs

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


Holiday shopping: Gifts from the TLN Store

TLN Store screenshot

Still looking for holiday gifts? The Therapeutic Landscapes Network Store has many choices, including mugs, tote bags, mousepads, Sigg water bottles, magnets, and clothing, all sporting our beautiful Echinacea “mascot” (thank you, Henry Domke!).

All proceeds go to support the Therapeutic Landscapes Network, and all gifts are guaranteed to bring good cheer.


The TLN Recommends: Garden books for inspiration

Healing garden books for inspiration

If you’re still looking for the perfect gift for someone special (including yourself), here are some recommendations for beautiful books with a healing garden them that are sure to inspire you and your giftees to create beautiful, meaningful, nurturing spaces. These are all books that I own and refer to again and again. There are more academic and educational books out there, which are listed on the TLN’s References page. When you buy from any of the Amazon links on this post, you’ll be nurturing the Therapeutic Landscapes Network as well. Through the Amazon Associates program, the TLN receives a percentage of each book sale. This is true for Amazon purchase at any time of the year, so please bookmark the link and use it when you shop there. Of course, if you can find the books locally, all the better.

This is the third year for TLN Blog book recommendations, and I have a couple of new ones to add to the list. The first is Sharon Danks’ Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformation. Although this book is not so much geared to home gardeners, it’s so inspiring that it deserves a place on this list. It’s a beautifully illustrated guide for turning the traditional school ground’s slab of asphalt into edible gardens, wildlife habitats, and vibrant creative spaces. Cheryl Charles, Co-Founder and President of the Children & Nature Network, has this to say about it: “An inspiring, important, and practical resource. Grounded in experience and loaded with photographs to illustrate the concepts, this book is an invaluable tool for all of us who are working to reconnect children and nature where they live, learn and play.”


The transportive power of scent

Eucalyptus image courtesy of

Eucalyptus image from

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


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!


Calls for conference proposals

Photo by Henry Domke,

Photo by Henry Domke,

Holiday time also means Calls for Proposals time, so finish your shopping and get busy! If you know of other conferences or opportunities, please leave a comment on this post so we can share with our Network.

Calls for Presentation Proposals

ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO
September 28-October 1, 2012
Phoenix, AZ
Submission deadline: January 20, 2012

ASLA is accepting proposals for education sessions for the 2012 annual meeting and EXPO. If you are interested in presenting and sharing your knowledge with the landscape architecture profession, we encourage you to submit a proposal through our online system.

November 3-6, 2012
Phoenix, AZ
Submission deadline: January 27, 2012

The HEALTHCARE DESIGN Conference offers educational content delivery through several formats. Educational Sessions are designed to provide attendees with just-breaking information, case studies, and research findings on a myriad of topics. The conference is looking for educational sessions that are either research focused or that offer other options, such as case studies, design outcome or process/topic related sessions. Speakers are expected to offer information-rich presentations (supported by visual presentation) with opportunities for Q & A.

Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo
October 2-4, 2012
Navy Pier, Chicago, IL
Submission deadline: February 10th, 2012

The Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo is the only event where you will find the entire team who plans, designs, constructs, and manages healthcare facilities. We are accepting presentation submissions for our 25th year and want you to be part of it.


Wordless Wednesday, 12/7/11 – Ginkgo leaves

Ginkgo leaves, Berlin, Germany. Photo by Naomi Sachs

Ginkgo leaves, Berlin, Germany. Photo by Naomi Sachs


“A Garden to Remember.” Memorials podcast w/ Andrew Keys

September 11 Memorial Garden, Sudbury, MA

September 11 Memorial Garden, Sudbury, MA

Everyone needs a vacation once in awhile…including this blog writer. I’m off to Berlin and the UK for two weeks.

In the meantime, here’s a link to a great podcast from Andrew Keys’ “Garden Confidential: Stories at the Intersection of People and Plants,” for Fine Gardening magazine.

The podcast is called “A Garden to Remember,” and it’s about memorials. Keys interviews me (Naomi Sachs) and Beth Farrell, chair of the committee that built the September 11 Memorial Garden in the town of Sudbury, Massachusetts (pictured above).

Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving!


Wordless Wednesday, 11/16/11 – Autumn mums

Autumn mums, Stonecrop Gardens, Cold Spring, NY. Photo by Naomi Sachs

Autumn mums, Stonecrop Gardens, Cold Spring, NY. Photo by Naomi Sachs


A Masters thesis on Healing Gardens for Veterans with PTSD

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

It’s Veteran’s Day, 2011, a good time to highlight some new research on gardens for veterans with PTSD. This is such an important topic, and Brock Anderson decided to make it his Thesis for his Master of Landscape Architecture at Utah State University.

“An Exploration of the Potential Benefits of Healing Gardens on Veterans with PTSD,” by Brock Anderson, is now availalble online for download at

Here’s the Abstract:

Healing gardens are places that facilitate in improving or restoring an individual’s mental or physical health. Today, therapeutic landscape design is a growing facet of landscape architecture. This study looks at the potential benefits of using healing gardens in addition to traditional methods of treatment for veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A reasonable amount of research has been done into the area of therapeutic landscapes and their influence on certain populations, but the potential positive effects these healing gardensmay hold for veterans suffering from PTSD seems to be unidentified. This study examines the history of healing gardens, problems facing veteran populations today, current treatment methods for PTSD, and how healing gardens could be beneficial to veterans with PTSD. A Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare facility that is in the process of implementing a healing garden was usedto determine how their PTSD patients will potentially use a healing garden space during treatment.

The purpose of this study was to describe some of the potential benefits that healing gardens could have on veterans suffering from PTSD. Other VA facilities can use this information in the future when implementing healing gardens for PTSD patients. This study is intended to increase awareness of the potential benefits healing gardens might hold for veterans suffering from PTSD and encourage further research into the area.

Recommended citation: Anderson, Brock Justin, “An Exploration of the Potential Benefits of Healing Gardens on Veterans with PTSD” (2011). All Graduate Reports and Creative Projects. Paper 50.

Many thanks to Brock for sharing this with us!

And if that weren’t enough great stuff for one day, here’s an excellent article by Janet Brown, published recently in Healthcare Design Magazine, about a wonderful healing garden and horticultural therapy program at the East Orange NJ Veterans Affairs: