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.
Ann and I are going to produce a series of short daily articles that highlight
“A rare moment of peace in the perfect haven of a garden brings us renewed harmony with nature”
Today’s is a roof garden.
Some years ago, well alright 30 years ago we were asked to design and create a roof garden for a packaging company,
We had always designed to a module which enables you to replicate easily. In this case we took molds of rock faces and made some fiberglass containers that were deep enough to act as planters. This extra depth enabled the plants to really take root and grow, it also prevented the roots from interfering with the roof’s drainage system
Our interview this week is with Bill Sosinsky and Joe Ravet, it’s all about the amazing properties of algae and the work being done today that could transform many areas of our lives. This fascinating interview is in two parts, with the second part coming next week.
Algae has some fascinating uses :-
As an Energy Source – a 737 plane flew from Houston to Chicago on fuel derived from algae, way back in 2011
As a Fertilizer – from as long ago as the 16th century, seaweed has been used a fertilizer.
As a source of Nutrition – China has been consuming Algae for over 2000 years, they harvest over 70 species as does Japan, Ireland, Chile, Wales, Korea, California, New Zealand, Hawaii, Scotland, Greenland and Iceland to name a few. It was an ingredient in Aztec foods.
Oils obtained from some algae have high levels of unsaturated fatty acids, others essential omega 3 fatty acids.
As a Pollution control – treating sewage with algae, reducing the use of toxic chemicals that would be used. They can absorb fertilizer run off from fields. Aquariums can be filtered by algae
As a Pigment – alternative to chemical dyes
As a Medicine – helping fight malnutrition, immune health, reducing cholesterol
Amazingly there could be more than 72000 algae species worldwide.
A subject that has become more and more important to my family over the past few years.
My grandson Callum was born with severe allergies , which appear at the slightest opportunity, so much so that my daughter Nathalie has developed a huge number of allergy free recipes, started a company to help others with young children with allergies, has been featured in the newspapers, magazines and on television.
This prompted Ann and I to start some research to see how many children and adults are affected.
We were really surprised at how many people suffer severe allergic reactions, how this has exploded across the whole of the USA, partly it seems due to the demise of the Elm trees. You can hear more about this from Tom Ogren in our latest interview.
Nathalie had explained Callum, was a baby boy with severe eczema & food allergies, makes for an interesting journey of discovery!
We found only one food pantry offering exclusively gluten free and allergy free food in the USA.
in OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – It’s opening next month in Overland Park, Kan.
The ReNewed Health Food Pantry, it’s located at 87th and Antioch, will be holding its grand opening on May 13th.
In England rules for premises selling food changed back in December 2014, This has resulted in all premises selling food, whether freshly made or packaged, to provide details of any of the top 14 allergens used. It is still early days, and there has been some resistance, but there are signs that eating out with allergies is improving.
The medical profession in England is also beginning to realise the prevalence of allergies and how many more people are now presenting with serious allergic reactions in hospital – 20,000 attendances last year alone, with over 12,500 of those being an emergency situation!
Here in the USA , Ann and I were fortunate to interview Tom Ogren about his fascinating , very informative book about Allergies in the garden, this is a must read for avid gardeners everywhere.
Is this really salad ? it tastes so good like this !
Ann & I were fortunate to talk to three amazing ladies from Tennessee a little while ago. They wanted to start a school garden at their school, here is their story, the school garden is now in its third year.
Some of the main points we heard were:-
It’s essential to have teacher as well as parent support.
Take time to plan carefully
Initially growing from seed is harder , due to the school calendar.
Choose plants that will fit into this schedule.
The children want to take ownership of their plants !
Educating children in the different choices of produce increases the varieties they will eat.
Children really take pride in taking home to their family the produce they have grown.
In a blind radish test, the children could tell which were home grown as opposed to store bought and much preferred home grown !
If you would like us to put you in touch with these wonderful ladies,or if you would like more information on starting your own school garden just complete the comments box below and we will be in touch. If you would like us to interview you, send us a picture of your garden along with contact details, we will be adding a section to our web site www.grotrends.com specially on School garden projects.
Thank you Penny, Peggy and Emily, this was a fascinating interview.
Tomorrow we will talk about growing herbs & veggies in containers.
Chris & Ann are landscape designers, gardeners, inventors , radio show hosts, we live in the MidWest , are passionate about food, cooking, wine and love to interview people who share our passion for the environment.
Returning to growing your own Herbs & Veggies is taking on a new importance these days with the changes to our weather patterns, the realisation that many pesticides, insecticides and mass growing techniques are not necessarily the most efficient, cost effective or even healthy way for us to provide for our food needs.
Ann & I thought we would explore the various ways we knew how you can grow at home – we may have missed an idea or two, for which we apologise in advance ( please do send us your ideas and we will add them to our blog post).
Most people start by growing basic Herbs , then move on to the Tomatoes, Potatoes, Garlic, Lettuce, Spinach, Corn, Onions, Carrots, Beets, Garlic, Leeks, Chicory, Asparagus, Beans, Cucumbers, Zucchini ( Courgette), Squash, Sweet Potatoes, etc, etc.
Generally the ideal prerequisites for growing are, although these can be ‘created’ artificially these days.
A sunny site
Space to grow
Time to tend to plants.
1. Adding plants to an existing landscaped garden.
The easiest and simplest method is to introduce plants into your existing shrub planting beds. You would be amazed at what herbs and veggies can grow symbiotically with your favorite flowers and shrubs, some are even edible ( Take a look at a book we recently reviewed called Eat your Roses – by Denise Schrieber ) . .
When we interviewed the creators of this beautiful garden last year and found lots and lots of herbs, vegetables and fruits growing next to the flowers and shrubs.
2.Grow herbs & some veggies in pots.
You can use virtually any pot for this or you can purchase additional features to make the arrangement much more interesting.
Here a simple pot of herbs near to the kitchen door.
By adding a special rod system inside the pots, you can make the arrangement much more interesting and space efficient.
3. Square Foot Gardens – invented by Mel Bartholomew some years ago this is a fantastic solution for those with either a small space or for those who want an effective herb & growing method in a confined space.
If you want to you can add all manner of amazing refinements as seen here in this Chelsea Flower Show exhibit.
4. A traditional ‘allotment or community garden.
5. From a bygone era when labour wasn’t an issue and doing things on a grand scale no matter what it was, was considered the way..
We will spend a little time with each style, in the coming days, in the meantime you can listen to our podcast at www.growingtrends.org as we talk to a variety of guests from a passionate young mother, to a group of school teachers and to Mel Bartholomew,
Ann and I were sitting down planning a new season of information shows, that we are calling ‘Gardenesque’ on our ‘Growing Trends’ podcast ( you can find us on iTunes) when an interesting question popped up.
‘How long should a garden makeover last?’
There are really two parts to this:
The first is how much durability should we design and build into a project?
I recall many years ago, when we first started our ‘Designer Drives’ division, using the now almost standard dry lay method, we consulted the manufacturers and settled on a standard that was expected to last 2 million yup 2 million axle loads – that’s a lot of traffic in case you wonder.
In the case of a brick drive as above, it would also depend on climatic conditions ( although this drive is built with an engineering brick so basically impervious to normal cold conditions), as well as vehicle actual weight ( again this drive should withstand easily a 20 ton load).
I think we had two occasions where a client called to ask what they should do because the drive had deflected about 20mm ( 3/4 inch) in an area, we simply lifted and relaid the area without charge for the client.
So for a dry lay paving the construction is likely to outlast the clients .
A mortared terrace like the first picture or a mortared brick area such as below is a little different.
The most likely area to fail first is the pointing, which by definition is a weaker area than the bricks, here we are using a 23kn second hard stock brick, with a 1:1:3 cement,sharp sand, soft sand mix. My feeling is that it should comfortably last 20 years. After which it might need some re-pointing.
This leads on to the second part.
After how many years would a project be considered old enough to change?
This timber step detail is definitely a point in case, being made from old sleepers that contain among other things tar – something to avoid in today’s garden landscape.
The answer would most likely be when the client wanted a change or a new owner was looking for something different.
Would this then mean completely changing the entire area, or perhaps utilising some of the materials in a newer look, particularly if they were ‘natural materials’ such as natural bricks, and stone which tends to last for a great many years?
This white trellis, terracotta pot of herbs and brick paving was completed 30 years ago, it’s not really that out of place today is it?
So now the question becomes, over the past twenty five or so years what has really changed in how we approach a landscape project – is it just where we live and work?
Here we have what I would considered an ageless feature, which being in the UK is probably subject to a preservation order. I can only imagine how much this wrought iron and stone feature would cost to build today – that;s if you could find the wrought iron and someone to ‘lead’ caulk the uprights into the stone !
Is it the availability of skilled labour?
Or is it the availability of new tried and tested materials or methods?
This very old ‘knapped flint’ wall requires some age old skills to build, not least because it needs a lime mortar ( one that doesn’t contain cement) for it to work, this is because the flints are impervious to water and without some movement in the joints the wall would crack.
The flints are not really suitable for many of today’s landscapes as they are very sharp and likely to harm someone who casually ‘knocks’ against them.
One area that we probably do need to keep for many more years are mature trees, although I’ve seen some pretty large specimens moved.
I guess as always it is in the hands of the client as to what they would like to achieve, and for us to ‘solve the practical problems’ that may arise…
Which is why for almost 40 years I can honestly say it’s been really good fun……… what say you?
Our internet radio show Growing Trends has attracted listeners from across the globe, we’ve been really amazed how many people comment and listen – thank you all so much, it really is a lot of fun to produce.
We would love to hear from you with your ideas & suggestions on the shows content.
We’ve interviewed some amazing people, from many different walks of life, with many differing interests in our outside environment – from a keen homeowner gardener, to a commercial grower, to an environmentalist to an estate gardener, to a very knowledgeable bee keeper, to an expert consultant. All have fascinating insights into the hugely diverse world of horticulture and our environment.
We are making some programming adjustments to our fall schedule to better reflect this diverse interest.
Time to Eat – Everything about growing your own food
.Gardenesque – All about gardens & landscapes.
World Wide Wesponsibility – A little more serious about sustainability and how we can be good custodians of our planet.
Face Time – Interviews with experts on topics of interest.
Have an idea for an interview ? send us an email and we will be in touch.. firstname.lastname@example.org
Drop us a line with your comments & suggestions, or even a request for an interview.. you can complete the form below or just email us Ann & Chris at email@example.com
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