A few years ago I read a paper about how grasses ‘moved’ to music, then I read about the effects of harmonious sounds on plant growth.
Why do I mention this, well a few weeks ago we were talking about Tesla and his discoveries, which led us to talking about vibrations, sound waves, force fields etc., then a strange thing happened.
Ann and I interviewed a wonderful lady landscape architect Jan Johnsen, about her new book “Heaven is a Garden” we talked a little about how at a very young age she discovered during a science fair competition – which against all the odds she won – the effects early morning birds singing have on plants. The sound waves, which are similar to a violin stimulate a plant to open its stomata taking in carbon-dioxide to help it grow quicker.
Jan has written a new book called Heaven is a Garden, it’s a really fascinating and informative read. Jan has ‘connected’ the dots so as to speak, between the natural world and our emotions. How the Four Winds are important when laying out a space,the careful use of curves, and my favorite Golden Rectangles and the Divine Proportion. – Phi is the mathematical proportion ( 1 : 1.618) we see in every natural form. Using this proportion ensures a sense of harmony in any outdoor space that contains it. I’ve always tried to use these proportions in my designs.
Jan then talks about Trees – natures rechargers as she puts it… The Celts called it shunnache, the Hindu tree devas, and Greek dryads…the Japanese consider the health giving properties of trees the basis of a medical therapy called ‘ forest bathing’ .
Jan then discusses the magnetic attraction in a Zen garden – rocks in these gardens reflect a deep understanding of the geomagnetic properties of stone and its impact on a place.
Recently Ann and I have been out on safari helping clients design & plant new landscapes.
It’s always nice to ‘keep your hand in’ as they say.
This time we tried a somewhat different approach.
We took the clients to various nurseries helping them choose the plants we were suggesting they would use.
Then we set out the planting on site helping them to plant, by using tried and trusted techniques we had learned over the years it helped to reduce transplant shock , giving the plants a great start. The clients learned a new way to plant.
It was really great fun, everyone enjoyed the experience, even the neighbors popped over to help.
We’ve already started to plan the next event… this time we are thinking of showing school children how, the last time we did this, some twenty years ago, every plant in the school project was planted at least five times.
The garden won a multitude of awards , there was no vandalism, with everything establishing well.
It’s time to teach our children’s children how to enjoy the calmness of a garden, to connect with nature and to learn so much more about our planet.
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I was reading an interesting article the other day, it was discussing what today’s children know about plants.
The part that caused me to sit up and wonder was this line.. “Today’s children can identify about 1000 company logos but only identify 10 plants outside”
I wonder how accurate this statement is?
So a quick test – could you identify the plant below?
or perhaps this one.?
Thinking a little about it, brings to mind the simple realization that many children do not really understand where much of our food comes from.
We really need to change this for many reasons, perhaps our internet radio show, can help?
We want to engage ‘Granny Growers’ and introduce them to the ‘Growing Uppers’ , to start this rolling we’re heading off to interview a few senior citizens in our retirement community, to ask them what they learned and how they think we can help our grand children.
if you have some ideas , we would love to hear from you to… just drop us a line
The Victorians, were an inventive bunch, they invented and developed so many things, today we seem to spend more and more time with new technical inventions rather than try and solve the many issues facing us with the environment.
Perhaps its simply we do not spend enough time outside to enjoy the sun, stars,landscape and the water?
Going back to the Victorians, they have been credited with developing the regimented summer bedding displays, they developed huge estate layouts with ponds or should I say lakes, they were instrumental in cut formal lawns, I think Ransomes was one of the first with a horse drawn mower?
What they also did was include vegetables within the garden landscape,as did the Germans and French, it’s a great way to grow veggies and herbs as it is almost invisible, yet so effective and pleasing to grow your own.Plus invariably the food is both fresh & free of those pesky pesticides.
Have you included herbs & veggies in your design? – a question for your landscape designer perhaps?
Our first interview for our Growing Trends radio show,was with a couple that do just that, – we are due to return shortly to see how the fruits of their labour has gone..
Their garden has between 350 – 400 Trees,Shrubs, Perennials, Annuals, and at least 75 Herbs & Veggies. It still has this beautiful pool to relax in !
Even if you only have a small area it is very beneficial to grow say just a pot or two of herbs, not only are they fresh, they keep on producing throughout the season, (saving lots of money) all you need to do is water, and take any seed heads off as they form.
For the more adventurous a larger area can be created, this requires more commitment, the rewards are much greater with more produce grown and the satisfaction of growing your own food.
Of course you could get completely carried away, employ a full time team and develop a world class garden, that attracts thousands of visitors a year.. feeding an awful lot of folks into the bargain !
How do I start ? I hear you say. Well the best way is always start in a conservative way, the easiest is probably to start with herbs, which will grow throughout the growing season, once thats mastered, try a quick growing veggie such as lettuce, it has a short cycle and is relatively easy to grow. If you don’t want the hassle of growing from seed initially, it’s possible today to buy ‘plugs’ that are pre started and likely to produce quite quickly, then progress from here, adding interesting varieties of say garlic, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes….
This garden was planted just 2 weeks earlier with pre started plants. The trick if you haven’t grown many plants yourself is to start small, then as you find that the weather and conditions are unpredictable, you can try a more adventurous approach. Remember though that even hardened gardeners find that some plants some years just do not flourish as expected.
The rewards are so worth the effort, producing your own food, saving money and having a healthy outdoor activity.
Ann & I will be talking to some new gardeners, along with some seasoned,experienced gardeners in the next few weeks… the trick is always to have fun and experiment just a little !
Ann & I thought it would be fun to explore in a little depth the opportunities to re-connect with nature and the ways we can all achieve this within our busy schedules.
Recent reports have shown that even a simple stroll in a woodland has beneficial results, as the trees give off a scent that is very calming to us all – the Japanese even have a word for this.
We also know that the soil contains beneficial microbes that act in a similar way to anti-depressants – perhaps this is why so many gardeners are happy dedicated folks ?
Our promenade starts at home…. with a stroll around a garden.
By adding the artificial stream we created more interest as you walked around the garden.
Many of the gardens we have designed and built contain a pathway to walk around the garden, they are wide enough for two people to walk side by side, usually constructed of a long-lasting, hard wearing semi flexible surface, ( we avoided concrete as its everywhere in the urban environment, and we have found that natural materials almost always look better)
Here the path acts as transition between the shrub beds and the more formal lawn, further over was a fenced in swimming pool.
The amount of traffic, will to some extent dictate the types of finish materials best suited to the task – all will need a sub-base preparation that can withstand the intended loads. ( a reminder for designers).
A lunch break walk, or special trip to the museum , brings a different style of path.
This beautiful pathway was repeated on the other side of the parkland setting
This heavily trafficked walkway above , is constructed of large rectangular pieces of natural stone, with a suitable load bearing base beneath, it is designed for many years of use.
Some of us are lucky to have offices with roof top garden for us to relax in for a few moments, this one was attached to the staff restaurant in central London.
This Roof Garden walkway is constructed of pre-treated wood and then stained, it’s laid on a spreader system, to allow the loads to be evenly distributed across the roofs entire surface ( one of those engineering requirement when working on a roof). We stained the wood green to soften it’s impact and to add to the whole ambiance.
Back home for a moment , this stepping path acts as a beautiful transition from lawn to path to pond
Walking to the rose arbor from the house….
Constructed of large wooden pieces, this treated timber, then stained black stepping path has pea-gravel between the pieces so we could add scented herbs , which release their essence as you step on them, the edges of the shingle are stopped off with bricks set between the wooden pieces. Creating a soft, but effective pathway.
Some years ago at a Dutch Floriade we came across this superbly, educational pathway.
Designed so that users could observe nature on the floor of the pond, it was both inspirational and educational.
Almost all gardens benefit from a method to transit from one space to another, here we created a gravel path that took the place of a traditional lawn, serving two main purposes, it significantly reduced aftercare, and reduced watering, yet looked as if it was meant to be here.
This garden was only 10ft wide by the shed !
This roof garden, was the subject of an exhibition, so a great deal of work was required to create a suitable pathway around.
The roof top garden was tracing the history of London’s gardens from the middle ages to the present time – well some 20 years ago.
Here’s how it finally looked..
I’ve no idea how it looks today !
Finally, if you want very low maintenance, it’s best to stick to hard surfaces, like this granite sett pathway..
If you want a softer look , using natural bricks ( as long as they are frost resistant) is another alternative to consider.
or perhaps for the busy executive, a pathway that’s covered by a pergola on either side…
Hopefully we have inspired you to step outside and wander down to your nearest park, playground or just enjoy outside.
Find out more, listen to the amazing folks that create, tend, are passionate about or just have built these beautiful relaxing gardens, our show is all about the people
We changed the name of our blog today to ‘Growing Trends’. Growing Trends is our internet based radio show, that is all about people.
The home owner that is passionate about their garden, who has a specialised skill or knowledge or style of garden landscape. It’s about the experts that design or help create them, or one of the many consultants that bring new ideas to each continent every year. lastly it’s about products and materials and how to best use them in your landscape.
We need your help especially if you are one of those passionate people with a beautiful garden landscape , or to ask those friends of yours who have those amazing gardens to contact us so we can try and interview them, for the show. it doesn’t matter if they are in another country, we can use skype to interview. If you want to see the program schedule it’s available on the website at Grotrends.com
We would also ask for pictures of these lovely landscapes, so we can add them to our growing library, please do include any credits so we can include them as well.
In return we are going to try and post here many more of the beautiful projects we have been fortunate to work on over the years, along with the anecdotes and experiences, after all it really is all about the people !
I don’t know about you but, it’s sure been a busy week. Here in the MIdWest the temperatures have been unseasonable , with lower temperatures than normal and lots of rain. This has had a bit of a calming effect on plant growth, with some unusual results – for instance it hasn’t been a particularly good season for of all things Rosemary.
My roses are just returning to flower after a prolonged intensive care program, which afforded harsh pesticides, insecticides and miticides use.
“She” – who much be obeyed, had given due notice that she would not be amused if they continued to look like a cross between a spiders web and a spotty leaf.
This week was also National Farmers Market Week, so we interviewed some really interesting growers at a market, we then interviewed an amazing couple who have literally planted thousands of unusual trees on their mini estate – loved the Larch, and a Zelkova, and a magnificent specimen Oak.!
All this interviewing had us thinking – well the brain cells were stimulated a tad more than normal. We realized we were noticing a trend that I suspect is becoming more prevalent, in which people are missing the contact they once had with their suppliers. The market was just bustling from early in the morning, with regulars, who really wanted to converse with the many producers, all the wonderful folks we’ve been interviewing all really enjoyed talking about their garden passions.
We could see time and again, that there is a need to engage folks, and that youngsters are part of this, they are seeking information on a one to one basis, sure you could find this on your phone or tablet, but thats only half the story, the big stores are impersonal, some even intimidating, what we are seeing is a return to the more, small personal specialist. It will be interesting to see if it continues. Big may not be as beneficial as it once was !
Yesterday was the launch of our new internet radio show, it’s really all about people, how they make a difference to the environment they live in, how they have created their very own paradise, landscape or garden space, where they retreat to recharge their batteries after a hectic working day.
Each has it’s very own charisma, all are different, personal, delightful and special, Ann and I are very grateful to these wonderful people opening their truly amazing spaces to us, to interview them.
You can find us at www.cravingtalkradio.com – Growing Trends, we hope you will enjoy each visit with us. Please do, drop us a line at email@example.com ask a question or request we visit you, or like us on Facebook – Growing Trends where you can see more pictures of the garden landscapes we visit each week.
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