Ever notice that when your attention is caught by something interesting, you stop feeling cold and uncomfortable? Well, here are seven garden activity signs to grab people’s attention and brighten up their wintry day.
Place these signs next to walkways and gathering places to encourage people to pause and delight in nature.
Cold temperatures can make us huddle inside our clothing and look down as we scuttle quickly from car to building. What are we missing? Look up to find out. One of my favourites is twilight silhouettes of bare-branched trees against a deepening blue sky. Place this sign low down to catch people’s eyes.
Place a ‘Listen for Me’ sign within viewing distance of a shrub or hedgerow where songbirds forage for seeds and berries. Or near a bird feeder if you have one.
Even though the soil may be frozen, plants in pots still need to be watered during dry spells, or more often if they are under cover. Choose whichever of the 3 sign types fits the space: attachable, hang tag or plantable.
Evergreen trees such as pine and Douglas fir smell delicious when their needles or twigs are scratched to release their aromatic oils. If you have an arrangement of evergreen boughs, hang a hang tag to encourage sniffing. Smelling the branch ends when they’ve just been cut produces the strongest fragrance. Golden cypress (sold in pots at many floral shops) has a delightful texture and a fragrance that opens up the nostrils.
Seed heads. Bright red berries. Bunches of cones. Tree bark, showing off after leaves have dropped for the winter: coral bark maple, corky oak, peeling birch bark.
In British Columbia, rhododendron leaves indicate the temperature by the angle of their droop. The lower the angle, the colder it is. In extreme cold, they curl up. How do plants survive winter in your neck of the woods? Look closely and they may reveal their secrets.
A ‘Smell Me’ hang tag is an invitation to indulge in the sweet fragrance of indoor narcissus. Many shades from creamy white to sunny yellows. When you buy bulbs or green shoots emerging from a pot, make sure they’re the fragrant ones.
White pine has soft textured, flexible leaves.
Blue spruce’s prickly needles say ‘I dare you to touch me’. What about your indoor plants? Any that deserve a ‘Touch Me’ hang tag to attract attention?
We are immersed in nature, with sensory delights on offer even in the coldest season. To order signs, go to www.gardenactivitysigns.com. The signs listed above are the six sensory signs plus the ‘Water Me’ sign. They can be ordered individually to mix and match the three types of signs (plantable, attachable and hang tags), or order a set of six of one type.
If you have friends in warm winter places who might benefit from knowing about the garden activity signs, thanks for sharing with them.
Legacy Health in Portland, Oregon is making therapeutic gardens a top priority for reducing staff stress and fatigue and for encouraging staff to take regular breaks in the garden near their unit. Legacy Health's interdisciplinary garden design process and their randomized controlled trials are leading the way for other hospitals.