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Friday, January 4, 2013

Miss Your Garden?

Take a walk in a local park or wilderness area.


I walk several days a week at Radnor Lake a Tennessee state park about 8 miles south of my house. Every day there's something new to see: marvelous sunrises, mist rolling off the water, colorful foliage, blooming wildflowers, snapping turtles, deer, ducks, birds and this morning


Canada Geese.

This winter if cabin fever sets in and you miss digging in the garden, put on your warmest clothes, your most comfortable walking shoes and head to the outdoors. I promise you an hour or two in a natural setting will lift your spirits, improve focused attention, reduce stress, and lower your blood pressure.*

You'll still miss your garden, but, you'll feel a lot better.

xoxogail

I've got the research behind that statement in case you wondered! Check out Richard Louv's work and here.

Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.

23 comments:

  1. This is great advise Gail. I walk often at a local park that is situated along the Wabash River. It lifts my spirits every time. Cheers...

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  2. How delightful, Gail, to have such a place so close to to able to recharge and suck in all of those negative ions! Love the goose shot, inspirational on many levels.
    xoxoxo
    Frances

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  3. Yes, I miss my garden. It is somewhere under all that snow. I walk in nature is good for what ails a gardener in the wintertime.

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  4. My husband and I love to go walking and hiking. Here in Tennesse we are so fortunate to have so many wonderful places available to us. Coming from California I am always amazed, even after eight years, at how open and uncrowded it is here. We have talked about going to Radnor Lake, so now we'll have to do it. Unfortunately right now I have a fracture in my foot and I'm wearing a boot, so no hiking. The good part is it happened now instead of in spring, summer or fall when I'll be in the garden every day.

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    1. Certainly there are fewer people in TN than in California, but our population densities are actually not *that* far apart (CA = 242 people per square mile, TN = 155 people per square mile). There are states that are much further apart on both ends of the spectrum, from Massachusetts (840 people per square mile) to Alaska (1.3 people per square mile). If you feel I'm cheating by using such a huge and remote state as Alaska, even New Mexico has only 17 people per square mile, barely more than 1/10th of TN.

      (All this according to Wikipedia naturally - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_population_density)

      So why does California seem so crowded while it feels as though there is tons of space in Tennessee?

      I'd posit two reasons:

      1. Most people in California are clustered in a couple of small regions (LA, San Diego and the SF Bay area), whereas in TN we're spread out throughout the state.

      2. Both the weather and the culture in California encourage outdoor activity - at the beach or hiking in parks and mountains - whereas I would say that is not really true (at least traditionally) for TN. Sure there plenty of hikers, but there are also plenty of people in Nashville who are not even aware of (nor have they visited) most of the big parks within or nearby city limits.

      Part of me wishes that Tennesseans would be more active and embrace all the natural beauty surrounding us. Part of me is happy to have the parks mainly to myself.

      Incidentally, I don't think that Southern California necessarily feels all that crowded either, once you get off the freeways. Last time I was in LA (stopping over on my way to/from Asia), I spent some time on the Manhattan Beach pedestrian path. Sure there were some other people out and about, but I can't say that the path was "crowded" and the beach itself was enormous and basically empty. (It was winter, but temps were still probably in the 60s, so too cold to go swimming, but not too cold for a bracing walk on the beach, IMHO.)

      And this was in the heart of LA.

      I've walked through the Presidio in San Francisco and similarly felt like I had lots of space for myself and my thoughts.

      And I'd imagine there are many other parks and green spaces to roam in peace in California. I guess my point is that no matter where we live (almost) it's possible to find a little bit of breathing room and a space to decompress nearby.

      (Unless you live in NYC. Try finding a square meter of grass that's free from another human being on a nice day in Central Park! And per the above stats on population density, the same thing seems to be true about the Public Garden in Boston on a nice summer day.)

      Hope your foot heals soon and best wishes for 2013!

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  5. I like the winter break from the garden but still get out every day to enjoy nature. Having a dog helps, they take you places you wouldn't normally go. I had a wonderful walk yesterday through a wetland that was frozen, somewhere you couldn't access any other time of the year.

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  6. Let's all say "Aaaah." Those views are splendid. I think I'll run to our local park that doesn't have water, but does have birds. You inspired me dear one.~~Dee

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  7. Oh, how I wish I could walk with you! That's such a beautiful setting. Our nearby park with detention pond isn't as picturesque but it's still a delightful oasis to find so close to Interstate 10,

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  8. I love that first shot, I could dive right in if I thought the cold wouldn't kill me.

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  9. Now I finally have a name for how I feel when I've been cooped up in the house too long and not much time in my garden...."Nature Deficit Disorder." So true. You have an absolutely beautiful setting for your walks!! I know you enjoy them :-)

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  10. Gail Happy New Year! You are so lucky to be near a sanctuary of that lake which i am sure is so idyllic to watch, even in winter your photos show astonishing landscapes! I agree with you nature heals stress because it soothes the mind and emotion!

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  11. What a beautiful spot for a walk! I find that looking at old garden photos also helps.

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    Replies
    1. it really does, although, it makes me impatient to get outside and implement all the new ideas.

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  12. Gail, this is such good advice. In summer it's so easy to get outdoors in our gardens and get some sunshine and exercise. Winter often finds us indoors but myself and my husband both find our heads and bodies get 'foggy' for lack of a better term when we don't go outside. Making a point of walking in the cold really can do wonders for getting through a long winter and making you feel better.

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  13. Well if I could talk myself into snowshoeing I am with you since right now we are buried and not much to see but snow....but that is no excuse...just have to psych myself to get out in the cold...I'll get there :)

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  14. Looking at these photos makes me want to go outside. I'm so ready for spring.

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  15. Thanks for the reminder to get outside. It has been cold here (10s and 20s), but we're due for a milder stretch. So I'm planning to take some walks on some of the milder days ahead. I'm tired of looking out at my snow-covered backyard, so it would be good to venture out. Thanks for the nudge!

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  16. Radnor Lake is a gift. (Great photos btw - the first one is breathtaking) I can also testify on the winter walking. It's really addictive after a while although I have to admit it was my dog that taught me this. Plotting the garden as we speak..

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  17. Looks like a beautiful place to walk whether or not you are missing your garden.

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  18. Your gorgeous photos would certainly entice me to take a walk! You're right about getting outdoors--I went out to take down outside Christmas decorations on a cold but sunny day last week, and even those 30 minutes or so outdoors really invigorated me.

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  19. Our lake level gets dropped during the winter for maintenance of the turbines at the dam and for the health of the lake. This is the time that we enjoy walking along the shoreline that is underwater in the summer. Looks like your lake is a super place to take a walk.

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  20. Oh, this is perfect, Gail. We all need to get out in nature as much as we can, even if our gardens are a bit dormant!

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  21. So true... I needed this post. It's been so cold here that I haven't wanted to step outside. But I do miss the fresh air and the fresh thoughts that generate when I'm out in nature. Your walk must have been inspiring!

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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