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Therapeutic gardens designed with the four principles in mind offer a wide range of therapeutic value for users.

Therapeutic gardens designed with the four principles in mind offer a wide range of therapeutic value for users.

“Gardens can and do restore our state of health,” write Therapeutic Gardens authors Daniel Winterbottom and Amy Wagenfeld. A close look at one school for children with special needs shows us how.

Therapeutic garden design principles

  1. Sense of control (actual and perceived). The garden allows individuals to make choices. It provides a temporary escape, a sensation of “being away,” an opportunity for the user to gain control of his or her emotions and refocus attention.
  2. Sense of belonging and connection. The garden has familiarity and fosters a sense of attachment and place. It has a variety of enclosed and public spaces for private and open exchanges.
  3. Movement and exercise. The garden supports low-impact activities, including walking, wheeled mobility, gardening, play, formal exercise, and physical rehabilitation. These activities build strength, reduce stress, and elevate mood.
  4. Sensory nourishment. The garden offers heightened interactions with nature through the senses. Natural distractions improve emotional states, diminish troublesome thoughts, and foster positive physiological outcomes.

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When aphids attack your roses, why not let the plant call in reinforcements before getting out the pesticides? Image: Lincoln Peh

Aphids attacking your roses? Why not let the plant call in reinforcements before getting out the pesticides? Image: Lincoln Peh

Plants are full of surprises. How Plants Work author Linda Chalker-Scott shares a few of her favorites.

1)  SENDING OUT AN SOS
Like clockwork, the first buds on the rose bushes in our sunny front yard emerge in April, followed by an army of aphids that covers the buds entirely. If I happen to see this, I’ll set my hand sprinkler on stun and blast them away, but sometimes I’ll forget. When that happens, do my rosebuds get sucked away into lifeless husks? No. In fact, they don’t show much damage at all. Eventually our local lacewings and ladybugs stop by for a little green snack.

How do these beneficial predators know where the aphids are? Many plants, ornamentals and vegetables alike, send out very specific gaseous signals when they’re under attack. Over time, certain species of predatory and parasitoid insects have learned that these airborne alarms mean lunch. These signals are only emitted during the day, when natural enemies are active. When the herbivorous pests are gone (having either escaped or been eaten), the compounds are no longer produced. To make this phenomenon even more fascinating, plants downwind of the victim may also pick up on the signal and start building chemical defenses against future attack by the herbivore.

When we gardeners indiscriminately spray pesticides for the slightest pest problem, we not only kill the pest, but also the beneficial organisms that could take care of our problem for us at no charge.

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Weeds love landscape fabric!

Weeds love landscape fabric!

From harpin to xeriscaping, How Plants Work author Linda Chalker-Scott breaks down four common gardening misconceptions.

1)  LANDSCAPE FABRIC (Geotextile, Weed Barrier)

The product
Landscape fabric is laid on top of soil to keep weeds out while letting water and oxygen in.

The supposed benefits
Because the fabric is porous, water and oxygen will pass through to the roots of desirable plants but weeds can’t poke through.

How plants respond
Unlike the claims right on the packaging, these products do not let water and oxygen through for very long. Those little holes are quickly filled with soil particles, and water puddles on top of the fabric, only slowly dripping through to the parched roots below. Dust and soil blow in along with weed seeds, and within a few months—Voila! Weeds spring up like magic. Likewise, aggressive weeds like bindweed and horsetail slip underneath and pop right through the holes and seams. I guess they didn’t read where the package claimed “permanent weed control.”

Meanwhile, your tree and shrub roots are desperately seeking water, oxygen, and nutrients. They will creep up to the soil surface, sometimes growing through and on top of the fabric. This causes the fabric to break down even faster. If you try to remove it, you damage your trees and shrubs in the process. Do yourself a favor and don’t buy this stuff!

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Four or five months after planting, the bulbs of Tulipa clusiana will be flowering. All images: Richard Wilford

Four or five months after planting, the bulbs of Tulipa clusiana will be flowering. All images: Richard Wilford

The Plant Lover’s Guide to Tulips author Edward Lyon describes what it takes to grow tulip species in the home garden.

Growing tulip species is a little different from growing the garden cultivars. Most need free-draining soil, good air movement, and a sunny position, even more so than the cultivars. There are a few exceptions, such as Tulipa sprengeri, that can be grown in a more shaded position and in soil that does retain moisture in the summer, but the vast majority need a dry summer rest and many of them should not have any water at all at this time.

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Art-of-Gardening-GIF-250Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Or so the saying goes. But people do it anyway, a fact we’re keenly aware of here at Timber Press. Our book covers go through an intensive approval process in which we fret over every element: Is the title descriptive enough? Would a subtitle help? Does the image communicate effectively the contents? A book’s cover can make the difference between reaching its intended audience and languishing on the bookstore shelf.

The Art of Gardening is an upcoming work about the celebrated public garden Chanticleer in Pennsylvania. It provides inspiration and practical advice from the gardeners who design and maintain the grounds and R. William Thomas, executive director of the Chanticleer Foundation. Add to that the photography by Rob Cardillo and creating an impressive cover becomes paramount. Which may be why this particular cover has gone through so many iterations. And possibly more to come before publication!

Click on the image after the jump to see the different versions. Each one is numbered and we’d love to know which is your favorite!

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One of the best ways to create a waterwise garden is to grow a variety of plants. These roses deflect rainwater, slowing its fall to the ground, decreasing evaporation. Photo by John Morgan

The drought in the American West has made water use–and conservation–more of a topic than ever. If you’ve found yourself pouring more water into the ground than you want (or than you want to pay for), consider these seven ways to a more waterwise garden.

Create hydro-zones

  • Group together plants with similar moisture needs
  • Put thirstiest plants in depressions and areas that receive water from natural slopes or downspouts.
  • Shelter thirsty plants from drying winds by putting drought-tolerant plants to the north and west of them.

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A mix of native and ornamental plants thrive in this garden, which is watered with greywater from a kitchen sink. Courtesy of Cleo Woelfle-Erskine.

Rain gardens are not just for places that receive a lot of rain. In fact, they may be most beneficial in places that receive very little rain. Brad Lancaster lives in Tucson, Arizona, and shared some of the reasons why he – and his community – create rain gardens. This case study and more can be found in Creating Rain Gardens by Cleo Woelfle-Erskine and Apryl Uncapher.

Swiss ecovillage designer Max Lindigger’s story of a walk he took with his grandfather radically changed my view of public streets. His grandfather pointed to condominiums sprawling above his alpine village, “That’s where we grew and gathered food during the war. The forests were common land. What commons remain?”

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Garlic mustard, wild rose, and kudzu. Three plants that are invasive and edible.

Become an invasivore and eat your way to a healthier planet with help from the author of Southeast Foraging.

I often get asked, Why do you forage? I forage because I love how rich and diverse nature is in the South and I love food. Foraging leads you to delicious, nutritious wild foods, is sustainable, and helps you to be a more creative cook.

Foraging for wild edibles is undergoing a renaissance in the United States. Whether it is the logical extension of the farm-to-table movement or the result of decades of American reforestation, foraging is an experience no longer claimed just by hunters and campers. We are living in a fortunate moment when you might find local edible wild plants on your dinner table at an urban restaurant. You might be able to take a community foraging class taught by a local expert who lives in your neighborhood. You may even find yourself in your own backyard plucking some wild ginger for your morning tea or gathering dandelion greens for the evening’s salad.

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Buffalo Bayou Promenade solves technical problems of flooding while also improving ecological structure and function, and providing Houstonians with access to their waterfront. Image: Tom Fox/SWA Group

Landscapes of Change author Roxi Thoren takes a look at the making of Buffalo Bayou, an award-winning park providing recreational opportunities as well as flood control and ecological restoration.

In the middle of downtown Houston, an alligator is floating down a bayou, lazily drifting in the muddy current. A group of park visitors excitedly points out its snout, the ridges on its back. On any given day, Houstonians can see three kinds of turtles, heron, osprey, songbirds, a colony of 150,000 bats, and even the reclusive alligator sunning on the silty banks in the middle of the fourth-largest city in the United States. This is an astonishing reversal for a bayou that until fairly recently was inhospitable to people as well as animals—a foul, polluted channel filled with trash.

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Timber Press author Andrew Wilson co-designed The Living Legacy Garden, inspired by the Battle of Waterloo, which aims to "reconciles the drama and violence of the battle with a progressive and positive future." Image: Royal Horticulture Society

Timber Press author Andrew Wilson co-designed The Living Legacy Garden, inspired by the Battle of Waterloo, which aims to “reconciles the drama and violence of the battle with a progressive and positive future.” Image: Royal Horticulture Society

Image: judywhite

Image: judywhite

GRAHAM RICE
Powerhouse Plants & Planting the Dry Shade Garden

Must-do: Check out the Plant Of The Year finalists and winner in the Grand Pavilion: twenty brand new plants go for the award.
Must-not-do: Do not wear sandals. Instead, wear your most comfortable walking shoes, you’re going to be on your feet all day.
Best-kept-secret: It’s far less crowded than it used to be. These days, the Royal Horticultural Society limits the number of tickets to make the show more comfortable for everyone.
The big trend this year: Irises—brand new varieties developed in France seen for the first time, plus historic varieties developed by British artist Cedric Morris more than fifty years ago.

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Image: Chris Wlaznik

Image: Chris Wlaznik

NAOMI SLADE
The Plant Lover’s Guide to Snowdrops

Must-do: Enthusiastically greet all your horticultural friends and ask them what their favourite garden is. If you have not made your mind up yet, hide this fact. Consume champagne liberally. Repeat.
Must-not-do: DO NOT EVER take a little nap on the elegant and comfortable garden furniture (no matter how tempting it is or how weary you feel).
Best-kept-secret: It is completely addictive, but that is probably a really badly kept secret, actually.
The big trend this year: It is a little bit hard to say as we are not there yet, but it is looking like key colours are hot orange, burgundy and plum, with hits of acid-green and blue.

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Image: Matthew Kidd

Image: Matthew Kidd

ANDY VERNON
The Plant Lover’s Guide to Dahlias

Must-do: Get there crazy stupid super early to avoid the crowds.
Must-not-do: Drink too many free glasses of champers on press day and fall a*se over t*ts into gold medal winning gardens. Ooopsie.
Best-kept-secret: The TV coverage is amazing, but the smell, the taste, the atmosphere of early morning Chelsea is basically orgasmic.
The big trend this year: I predict and hope there’ll be a backlash of recent years of lots of oh-so-gorgeous-subtlety. Time for some serious bold colour in the show gardens. The Mexican-themed, dahlia display in the Great Pavillion, (which will be the biggest EVER at Chelsea) is gonna be knock out.

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Image: Joanne Everson

Image: Joanne Everson

RICHARD WILFORD
The Plant Lover’s Guide to Tulips

Must-do: Check out the nursery stands in the Great Pavilion to see new varieties and immaculate displays of perfect flowers.
Must-not-do: Don’t buy any statues, fountains or sculptures on the spur of the moment—you need to plan where these things are going beforehand!
Best-kept-secret: It’s not really a secret, but if you can, get to the show as soon as it opens, to get the best views before the crowds arrive.
The big trend this year: With Dan Pearson returning to Chelsea with a garden inspired by the rockery at Chatsworth, maybe rock gardens will start to make a comeback?

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