I was delighted to hear Brian Minter say that “it can't just be a pretty plant anymore.” He said that plants need to add value to people's lives and the trend of ‘gardening with a purpose’ continues unabated.
He mentioned a number of purpose-driven values that connect plants with people:
Of forest bathing (taking in the atmosphere of the forest), he said, “When you actually look and see, you’re in a whole different place.”
Karen Chapman talked about garden design elements that “make people stop and look... and gardens that are experienced, not just observed.” Her goal is to design gardens that create a sense of peacefulness, well-being, and a connection to family and to nature.
Karen's design examples used light and shadow, movement and sound, portals, garden art and architectural fragments.
I found her language captivating:
About a portal she said, “It drew me over. I had to go and look through those holes. It brought my focus down so I could see more clearly what I was looking at.” Like framing a picture, “it invites you to stop, to ignore ‘all of this’ and focus on what you see.”
About a kinetic sculpture that turns above water, reflecting and refracting light, she said: “It held me there for several minutes looking at how it changed.”
The gardens she showed us were “purely magic,” allowing me to forget my cares and be present in simple sensory enjoyment.
Brian's and Karen's talks at the 2018 CanWest Horticulture Show affirmed the importance of my Garden Activity Signs, since they spark joy by encouraging nature engagement. Likewise my teaching and writing about noticing nearby nature in our daily lives for the joy it can bring.
You can download the 2019 trend report that Brian talked about from Garden Media Group. I did a happy dance when I found my deepest purpose represented: “Finding joy in nature will help save the environment, and in turn, save us.”
I'm delighted to discover that my work fits into the exciting larger trend of gardens and nature capturing our attention and sparking joy!
Next time you look at a plant, garden, or nature scene, I invite you to notice what sparks joy for you.
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.