Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ at Madison Square Garden, NY, NY

“Green is the fresh emblem of well-founded hopes. 
In blue, the spirit can wander but in green it can rest.”

-Mary Webb

The Highest Praise: A Patient Recommends Woodwinds Health Campus

I got an email last week from someone recommending that Woodwinds Health Campus be added to the Therapeutic Landscapes Database Gardens page. I often get email of this nature, from the landscape architect or someone in marketing, but this was from a patient! Here’s what he wrote:

“I just stumbled upon your web site. I live in Minnesota and my area hospital, Woodwinds Health Campus, is situated in a beautiful wooded area surrounded by SIX “healing gardens” with walking paths and places to stop and meditate. It should certainly be part of your list! And no, I’m not an employee! Just a patient. It feels more like a resort there than a hospital…”
If that’s not high praise for a healthcare facility’s healing garden, I don’t know what is.

I’ll be posting again with more specifics on their gardens soon, (their website gives more information than most healthcare facilities, but I want to know and tell you more) so stay tuned for Woodwinds, Part II. 

Field Trip! Open Garden Days, Oregon Burn Center

When people ask me for good examples of healing gardens, I always cite the gardens at Legacy Health System‘s health centers in Portland, OR. Their Oregon Burn Center garden is no exception, but unlike some of the other gardens, this one is not usually open to the public.

So, here’s your chance: Open Garden days in July and August. If you can visit, do! If I didn’t live 3,000 miles away, I’d be there in a New York minute. Here’s their press release, just sent to me by Teresia Hazen, Legacy’s amazing horticultural therapist:

“Join us for Open Garden at the Oregon Burn Center on Monday, July 14, 2008 and Monday, August 25, 11:30 – 1:00. Watch the growth of this four-year-old award-winning garden. We will celebrate the recent story of the garden in Landscape Architecture Magazine, April 2008.

Enjoy garden tours, gardening education, nature craft activities and more. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy in the garden. Bring your camera for great photos.

Garden is located at 3001 N. Gantenbein on the Emanuel Hospital campus. Enter through the two garden gates marked with balloons. This is a secured garden and only open to the public for these two special event dates.

For more information, please call 503-413-6507.”

Landscape Architecure Magazine published an article about the garden in April, written by UC Berkeley Professor Emerita (and my mentor) Clare Cooper Marcus: “For Burn Patients, A Place to Heal.” The garden was designed by Landscape Architect Brian Bainnsonof Quatrefoil, Inc. and Horticultural Therapist Teresia Hazen.

I Demand Satisfaction! The Role of Nature in Job Satisfaction

Photo by Naomi Sachs

Not the dueling kind, but the kind that involves psychological well-being.

The next time you need a reason for investing in a garden, or windows that look out onto an interesting view, or even some indoor plants, you can cite this new study which has linked job satisfaction to views of live plants or windows:

Individuals working in spaces with live interior plants or window views have significantly higher levels of job satisfaction than people who work in spaces without live plants or windows: “Findings indicated that individuals who worked in offices with plants and windows reported that they felt better about their job and the work they performed. This study also provided evidence that those employees who worked in offices that had plants or windows reported higher overall quality-of-life scores.” Live plants in an office, even without the window views, lead to more positive psychological states.”

Andrea Dravigne, Tina Waliczek, R. Lineberger, and J. Zajicek. 2008. “The Effect of Live Plants and Window Views of Green Spaces on Employee Perceptions of Job Satisfaction.” HortScience, vol. 43, p. 279.

I found this study listed on Research Design Connections, an excellent resource for anyone in the design and healthcare fields.

This is the view out my office door, so I have no excuses for not loving my work!

Herbarium: Healing Garden and Horticultural Therapy in Santiago, Chile

One of the coolest things about running the Therapeutic Landscapes Database and Blog is hearing from people all over the world. Marie Arana-Urioste, HTR, emailed me recently from Santiago, Chile with information about the Herbarium, “a non profit organization and a therapeutic garden dedicated to Horticultural Therapy for all in need. We are the first (and only at the moment) HT Certificate dictated in Spanish and in Latin America. We work with people with disabilities using the garden and gardening as a tool. The Herbarium (since 1989) is  also a Herb Nursery, we grow organically.” Most of their website has been translated into English (and I’m linking directly to the English-translated site), but If you speak Spanish, click on the Spanish flag at the bottom of the menu. Sounds like a great model; if anyone out there knows of comparable places elsewhere in the world (including the U.S.), I’d love to list more.

Moveable Feast

I haven’t blogged much about products so far, but I saw the Food Map Container and just had to share. This raised garden on wheels would be ideal for a space where you really want to take advantage of the sun (our pesky planet earth does tend to move around over the course of the growing season), or for one small space that has to do double, triple, etc. duty for multiple programmatic needs (e.g., horticultural therapy one day, a group celebration the next, and a cook-out later in the day), or for easy out-of-sight storage in the winter. It’s not the best raised planter for people in wheelchairs, as you can’t pull up underneath, but one could at least gain easy access from the sides, and two heights are available, one that’s good for kids and people sitting down, and the other for adults who don’t want to crawl around on their hands and knees while they plant, weed, and harvest their dinner. And Jon Wilson, co-founder and chief designer of Food Map Design, has informed me that they will start doing colors in the fall, as well as a tray that attaches underneath the rolling container so you can even move the whole feast inside. I can picture it now, a posh grazing dinner party (fundraiser, of course) with these containers as the centerpiece…

Growing Stronger, Inc.

In honor of Father’s Day, here’s an article that my dad sent me from the Hartford Courant about Growing Stronger, Inc., a non-profit organization in Willimantic, CT.  This mentoring and service program “takes young women who are in recovery or fresh out of jail and trains them in the art of landscaping and gardening in the overgrown gardens of women unable to manage on their own because of age or illness.” Sounds pretty great. Read more about it, and see a few more pictures and a short video clip, at “Growing Stronger: Program Cultivates People for Caring for Shrubs, Yards,” by Susan Campbell. Thanks, Benjamin!

Monday in the Park

What a day for a site visit! Stopped by Hope Lodge to see Henry Domke’s beautiful photographs installed, and to check out their terrace, visible from all inside public spaces, where they plan to install a healing garden. More research than ever now about the importance of views of nature – real and in images – for people’s well-being. I haven’t blogged about the new HERD (Health Environments Research & Design Journal) issue yet, but Henry has, in his awesome Healthcare Fine Art blog, where you can find all kinds of good information on Evidence-Based Design (EBD).

New York City was sweltering in the high 90s, but these alliums at Madison Square Garden looked as cool and perky as ever. I was amazed at how many people chose to be outside (in the shade, or playing under the fountain if you were lucky enough to be a kid in the playground) on such a brutal day. The park was packed. Just goes to show, especially in NYC where access to nature is limited, people will take it whenever they can.

Hot Off the Press: ASLA Healthcare and Therapeutic Design Newsletter

The ASLA Healthcare and Therapeutic Design Professional Practice Network is pretty much the closest thing we have right now to a national organization for outdoor healthcare design. 
They’ve just released the new newsletter, and it’s a good one: You can access all of the newsletters on the HTD PPN site:

I hope to go into more detail about some of the articles in the future, but here are some highlights:
  • The DreamTree Project, a garden for at-risk homeless youth in New Mexico; 
  • Notes from the 2007 HTD PPN Field Session, in which newsletter editor Sally Shute interviews event organizers Jack Carman and P. Annie Kirk;
  • Book review of Susan Rodiek and Benyamin Schwarz’s new book The Role of the Outdoors in Residential Environments for the Aging;
  • An article on Sharon’s Sensory Garden, a garden for the visually and physically impaired in Mendon, NY;
  • An article about the Firefighters Tree Living Memorial at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Ferns Unfurling

There is something irrefutably life-affirming about spring. We’re well into it now, but a couple weeks ago at Stonecrop Gardens, evidence of spring’s emergence (and winter’s retreat! hurrah!) was everywhere. Ferns unfurling, hostas uncurling, tulips laughing out loud. 

My great-aunt, who is 92 and was visiting from Atlanta, braved the chilly day to admire our northeast flora. She is lucky to live in a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community) that has lovely gardens, an evenly paved path that winds around a pond (four times around the pond is a mile, and she walks it almost every day), and access to the trails at Stone Mountain. They also have a greenhouse and a few raised beds that always have a waiting list. Some residents plant flowers, others herbs and vegetables. A year ago I helped her plant perennials that she could use as cut flowers, and she reports that they are all alive and well, providing plenty of blooms for her vases or to share with friends. It’s a great model; alas, like many CCRCs, they don’t have a website that I can refer you to. Do they think that elders and their children don’t use the web, or what? Lots of other other good examples, though. Will post some in the future.