My happiest days as a child were spent on my aunt’s small farm nestled in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. My parents fostered a love in me of the great outdoors, but both my grandmothers cultivated a specific love of vegetable and flower gardening. Gardens can be refuges for peace and quiet and can serve as a therapeutic, educational arena for watching the drama of plant and animal life unfold across the seasons. Being outside in the oasis of calm that gardens provide, we are more focused, yet alert, relaxed and in the moment.
Children especially benefit from time spent outdoors in gardens playing, exploring, learning and performing light chores. There is a reason that we use the German word kindergarten (child's garden) as gardens are fertile learning environments. In 2013, UNICEF measured Dutch children as highest in the world in happiness indicators, largely due to their focus on old-fashioned family values of "fresh air, nature and unsupervised play, often found in Dutch backyards and 'pocket' farms and gardens." Further, getting outside and working in the soil and among the birds and the bees (and rabbits!) improves your immune system through the exposure to a different bacteria.
With a BA in Environmental Science, a MS in Environmental and Energy Policy and a lifetime spent outdoors, "mulch" of it in a garden, I hope to bring you and your family some of the same benefits and enjoyment from a gardening and farm life that I have been privileged enough to enjoy.
Photo credit: LN Photographie