CO-Horts Blog

Monday, December 17, 2018

Gardens, Holiday Wishes and Peace

Winter Garden, Phillips County Fairgrounds, Photo Credit: Linda Langelo

My most ardent holiday wish this year is to light up the world.  I don't mean that literally, but in our hearts.  Colorado State University Extension is about service to others, and as we continue towards the end of 2018 into 2019 let's continue to do what we do best.

My second holiday wish is as ardent as the first.  I wish people take some time and visit a garden.  Gardens, no matter what type, are by nature designed for healing on many levels.  Here are just a few uses created by gardens:

  • You can seek a garden in solitude.
  • You can seek a garden for meditation and/or prayer.
  • You can seek a garden for safety.
  • You can seek a garden for mentally and physically releasing stress.
  • You can seek a garden for calming effect.
  • You can seek a garden for a happy place.
  • You can seek a garden for nourishment for body and soul.
  • You can seek a garden for a thousand other needs.  There is a garden for every need.
If you do not have a garden, seek a garden.  As I have been writing for other professional journals this year, my research has lead me to discover an interesting fact about both community gardens and parks.  In the research, gardens are often spoken about as places that bring people together.  Both types of gardens make communities safer.  People enter into these gardens meeting strangers that can often become friends.  Meeting their neighbor, for the first time whether they are just taking a walk or going to an event.  This leads me to my next ardent wish.

For the holidays, put your IPad away, your cell phone down, your computer off and be face-to-face with whomever is in your life.  Maybe take a walk, especially in a garden.  Just get technically "unplugged" from any device you use to communicate.  Enjoy the moment or the experience of the moment in a garden of your choice, even if it is your own garden.

My next holiday wish is to keep building gardens and helping other build gardens.  When I lived on the east coast, there was a movement to create a National Peace Garden.  In 1985, Elizabeth Ratcliff, a former English teacher from California, proposed a national monument to peace.  The proposed site for the garden was Hains Point which was approved by Congress.  In 1989, there was a design competition put forth by the Peace Garden Project Committee.  The committee selected Eduardo Catalano's olive branch plan seen below:

Photo Credit: Histories of the National Mall/National Peace Garden.

Unfortunately, this project was never funded.  However, there were other peace gardens funded.  There is an International Peace Garden on the border of Canada and the United States.  You can access the following link to learn more about it:

Their motto is "Connecting People to Place."  Gardens bring people into them to discover a new experience.  That new experience isn't just finding a new plant; it is the plants connecting the people to a shared passion- the garden.  This last type of garden leads me to my final wish: peace.  Gardens are meant to be peaceful places.

Over the holidays, take a walk in a park and go meet a new friend.  Go enjoy a garden and the experience it brings to you.  The quiet solitude of a garden covered in snow has a calming effect.  Totally unplugging from every type of communicative device you have brings about a new experience.  Whatever place you chose and with whoever you chose, enjoy the moment.  Then share the experience.

By Linda Langelo, CSU Horticulture Agent, Golden Plains Area Extension

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