Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Wishing you joy and good health in 2010.

Image courtesy of Henry Domke

Resolve to stop using blogger in January

manitogaOkay, I give in. Lots of websites are posting suggestions for resolutions; I might as well jump on the New Year’s Resolutions Bandwagon with my own recommendations.

Not surprisingly, these have to do with creating landscapes that facilitate health and well-being. So, my 2010 resolution suggestion:

Resolve to create restorative outdoor space for yourself, your family, and even your community.

Maybe it’s a space on your property – your deck, your yard, your garden – that could be better utilized to be a healing space. Allow yourself to dream about what would make that space more special, more conducive to you connecting with nature rather than just storing the grill and fretting about the unmowed lawn.

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And perhaps you can take that inspiration out into the community as well: Maybe there’s an underused park, or an empty lot in in your neighborhood that could be transformed into a green space that everyone could enjoy and benefit from. Or perhaps a local school, or a nursing home, or community center has a bit of open space that could be transformed into a green haven.

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Sometimes the idea of creating a restorative space is daunting, because we imagine that we don’t have the funds, or the design skills, or the knowledge to make it happen. I can assure you that the most important ingredient is resolve – a commitment to making things better. Once you’ve got that, then the rest will fall into place. And the Therapeutic Landscapes Network can help with the rest. Happy New Year!


Image courtesy of Henry Domke
Winter came down to our home one night
Quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow,
And we, we were children once again.
~Bill Morgan, Jr.

Many thanks to www.quotegarden.com/winter for the quote.

Upcoming Conferences on Environments for Aging

Image courtesy of Henry Domke

Though they’re about 4,000 miles away from each other, both of these upcoming conferences look really good. If you’re looking to learn more about this subject, connect with others in this field, or earn CEUs, here are two excellent opportunities.

Elderly Care By Design International Symposium and Workshop
London, England, Feb 18, 2010

“Examining how investment in the design of environments for older people, from hospitals to residential facilities, nursing homes and facilities for the end of life, can support independent living, health and wellbeing, the event will be attended by an interdisciplinary mix of researchers and practitioners from government, academia, health and social care providers, and private industry.”

Environments for Aging .10
San Diego, CA, March 21-23, 2010
Founded and produced by Long-Term Living magazine and the Center for Health Design.

“Environments for Aging is a comprehensive, three-day experience to explore new ideas for creating appealing and supportive places for people as they age. The program will enable you to share common goals, innovations and best practices, and to gain inspiration through a gathering of like-minded individuals who have a vision for the future and who will be instrumental in shaping it.”

If you register by 12/31, you save $440.www.efa10.com.

Know of other good conferences that our members would want to know about? Leave a comment, or contact us through the TLN website.

Healing or Therapeutic? What Do YOU Think?

Image courtesy Henry Domke Fine Art

We’re going through some major transitions here at what has been the Therapeutic Landscapes Resource Center.

We’re working on a new beautiful, searchable, and information-packed website (coming soon!). We’re creating an actual membership base (sign-up coming soon!). We’re honing our mission and goals. And we’re changing our name.

There has been much hand-wringing about the name-changing part. Unfortunately there’s no set term in this field for landscapes that facilitate health and well-being. Which is what we’re talking about. Healing/restorative/salutary/therapeutic/ + gardens/landscapes/outdoor environments/outdoor spaces = ??? I’ve tried using the term “landscapes for health” but it’s just awkward.

As for us, we’re looking for a name that is professional and inviting and inclusive. Something that fits our broad interdisciplinary network of designers, health and human service providers, scholars, and garden and nature enthusiasts. We don’t want our organization to sound too serious or clinical or academic, but we also don’t want it to sound fluffy and minor-league. We’re looking for that perfect balance.

The plan was to call our organization the Therapeutic Landscapes Network, with the url changing from healinglandscapes.org (which it’s been since 1999) to therapeuticlandscapes.org. It’s recently come to my attention that therapeuticlandscapes is a heckuva mouthful and is kind of hard to spell when you’re typing fast, and that the word therapeutic is perhaps a little too clinical. So, before we launch the website and print the business cards and make the t-shirts, I’m posing the question to you, dear readers:

Therapeutic Landscapes Network (www.therapeuticlandscapes.org)


Healing Landscapes Network (www.healinglandscapes.org)

Please leave comments! Your feedback is, as always, important. After all, this is a network!

Where’d the blogger go?

Image courtesy Henry Domke Fine Art

It’s been weeks since the last blog post. I’m sorry. This happened last year, too, because right now, this TLN blogging thing is a one-woman show, and the one woman happens to be frantically busy since spring arrived on the scene. The new Therapeutic Landscapes Network website is getting close to completion, which is very exciting (and very time-consuming). We plan to launch in June. Design work has also picked up – whether that’s a sign of a gradually recovering economy or just spring, I’m not sure, but I’m grateful. 

The TLN is also looking for a summer intern! If you or someone you know would like to live in or near Beacon, NY (60 miles north of NYC – an easy ride on the Metro North line) this summer and work (part-time, unpaid) on most aspects of the Therapeutic Landscapes Network, please see our post on the ASLA joblink website. This is a great opportunity to learn about healing gardens and other landscapes that facilitate health and wellness; to learn or hone valuable skills such as writing, research, development, communication, grantwriting, Dreamweaver and HTML, and pretty much anything else that goes on here; and of course to help the TLN grow and thrive. If you’re interested, post a comment and we’ll get back with you. 

In the meantime, please be patient and stay tuned for the big launch and the TLN offering even more great information and abilities for people to connect and collaborate; we promise it’ll be worth the wait!

Raising a Crop of Young Gardeners – Guest Post by Theresa Loe

Things have been a little hectic around here lately (need more time in the garden!), plus the Mac had to be taken in for repairs, so today I’m just going to point you to a great post by my friend Theresa Loe at Garden Fresh Living, “Raising a Crop of Young Gardeners.” 


And thanks, Guy, for the great picture of E.

Winter Tracks

Today was warm – above freezing, anyway – and I went on a rejuvenating two-hour hike in the snow at Fahnestock State Park. What a beautiful place! Haven’t loaded the images from that yet, but here are a few from last week’s walk at Little Stony Point, when the weather was colder and the snow fresher. 

The Real Driving Force Behind Evidence-Based Design – Guest post by Henry Domke

Rock Creek Reflection, courtesy Henry Domke Fine Art

This post by Henry Domke first appeared on his blog, Healthcare Fine Art, on January 14

Thanks very much to Henry for permission to reprint here.

The main pitch to sell Evidence-based Design (EBD) is showing research that it helps patients. However the main reason hospitals are willing to pay extra is not research but consumer demand. It turns out that many of the design changes that EBD supports are perceived by patients as creature comforts. For example:

  • Single-patient rooms
  • Exposure to nature with pictures and gardens
  • Extra space for family members
  • Quiet rooms
  • Natural light

Increasingly patients not only expect these comforts, they demand them. If you don’t have them patients will go elsewhere and that impacts to bottom line.

A recent article in San Diego’s Union-Tribune by Keith Darce explores this idea. He talked about how EBD was used in the new 334-bed, acute-care tower at Memorial Hospital in Kearny Mesa. The article is called: At region’s new hospital, creature comforts count.

While studies indicate that some of the creature comforts help patients get well faster, consumer demand is the real driving force behind the trend, said Janna Binder of Professional Research Consultants, a company in Omaha, Neb., that researches the health care market.

“Pretty soon it’s going to be expected for a hospital to have high-definition screens (in patients’ rooms) and gardens,” she said.

Blog comments are balm for the soul, especially this one

Tulips at Stonecrop Gardens, May 2008

Thanks very much to Brenda for her blog comment yesterday. It made my day. These tulips are for you! 

I have heard of garden therapy (it’s going to be my career in my next life), but had never heard the term ‘therapeutic landscapes.’ What an exciting concept! I am looking forward to learning a LOT from this site. In my experience as a caregiver, the landscape of illness is cheap mauve wallpaper, harsh fluouescent light, plastic and steel, with the occasional withered artificial plant stuck in a corner. The very notion of a ‘therapeutic landscape’ is so compassionate and revolutionary that it makes me want to cry! Love the Van Gogh quote, too… 

To see the Van Gogh quote mentioned, go to The Therapeutic Landscapes Network’s main site, www.healinglandscapes.org.