Saturday, May 23, 2015

Reflections of health

That's the name of a small, little-noticed exhibit at the flower show that bears checking out. Michael Petrie has designed a dandy scene for Einstein Healthcare Network, a show sponsor, in spot #30 that's dedicated to horticulture as therapy. After a winter like this? Are you kidding? Can't count the number of references to the winter of 2014 I've overheard at the show. Whew.

Reflections of health

That's the name of a small, little-noticed exhibit at the flower show that bears checking out. Michael Petrie has designed a dandy scene for Einstein Healthcare Network, a show sponsor, in spot #30 that's dedicated to horticulture as therapy. After a winter like this? Are you kidding? Can't count the number of references to the winter of 2014 I've overheard at the show. Whew.

Michael has installed a small reflecting pool surrounded by geometic containers and a moss garden. (Lots of moss at the show this year.) You'll see bonsai and evergreens and elephant ears with plenty of interesting textures and shapes. It's a sweet spot.

This morning I caught up with George Ford - "call me Wally" - and his wife Louise, from Roanoke, Va., at the Einstein exhibit. This is their fourth flower show. They shared their secret for avoiding crowds - come in the door and go left. Most people go right. Or come at night. 

We chatted a bit about the therapeutic effects of gardening. Louise has been doing it for years but George - I mean, now that we're buds, Wally is a retired general surgeon and knows a thing or two about stress. He's new to gardening but just as devoted as Louise is. "I've been telling him for years," she says. (Wives - partners - always know best, don't they?)

"I just love it when I'm outside digging in the dirt," Wally says. "It's very therapeutic. Extremely."

"Just let him go outside and dig," Louise confirms. I think this is an excellent marital strategy.

This isn't just Wally and Louise talking here. Studies have shown that there are real, measurable benefits to gardening, being in the woods, even looking at paintings or murals of landscapes. Hospital studies have proven that patients need fewer pain meds, have lower blood pressure, and recover faster if they are in rooms with a green view.

If you'll pardon the expression, you don't need to be an Einstein to figure that out. Just wait till the snow melts, go outside and get to work. You'll soon discover what Wally, Louise - and Einstein and Michael Petrie and legions of gardeners - already know. It may make your back sore. Your knees may buckle. But the benefits are huge.


Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com
letter icon Newsletter