“Women’s Work” Paintings

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Girls are made up of sugar and spice no more, and these ‘Do It Yourself’ canvas mavens are ready to take care of business with or without help! [Read more...]

What To Read While You’re Stuck In Fourth Of July Traffic

Venus Fly Trap What To Read While You’re Stuck In Fourth Of July Traffic
Photo Courtesey of: Just chaos

Well, the long weekend is almost over for those of us in the USA.  If you are like me you may find yourself in some serious bumper to bumper traffic as you leave the beach, and having a little garden reading can really lighten the travel stress.  Here’s what I’m going to be reading today on my way home!

Amy Leigh over at “Growing Plants Indoors” is talking carnivorous plants, and has a list of 10 Indoor Plants That Can Eat Bugs, and break you out of your indoor plant rut.

Fine Gardening has a great article on how to plant 10 Different Plants For Year Round Container garden appeal!

Fern over at Life on the Balcony has tips for the summer gardener, and how to start a late Summer Edible Container Garden.

Virginia over at Planet Green is giving us the dirt on city gardening with The City Girl’s Guide to Country Gardening Lesson #12: Sussing Out Your Soil.

And TipNut has 50 Soothing Home Remedies you can make yourself to treat and relieve your summer sunburn. Talk about timely information!

I’m off to hit the roads, so I wish the rest of you the best of luck in your travels as well!  I hope you had a restful Fourth of July Weekend.

Gardeners Reap Bedroom Benefits

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Apparently if you’re a man, the time and place for a ‘quickie’ is in the garden with your clothes on!

A new study by the Medical University of Vienna linked a half hour of moderate gardening activity to both increased sexual performance for men and decreased impotence, along with a myriad of other mood, and stress relieving benefits! The study determined that  about 30% of all performance related issued in men were impacted by depression, and job related stress, impacting blood pressure, and mood. Planting, weeding and mowing for only a half hour per week cut sexual issues in the bedroom by a third, and burned 1,000 calories. Urologists determined that men who increased their gardening activity and who burned 4,000 calories per week cut their impotence risk by 52%!

How does gardening benefit the bedroom bottom line? The physical exercise involved in gardening, and the Vitamin D absorbed through sun exposure lowers blood pressure, benefits circulation, stirs endorphins, and strengthens the immune system. It provides an outlet for stress release, and a moderate exercise routine that almost anyone can participate in, and, unlike gym equipment, this routine will give you beautiful end results from the curb to the front door, with the potential of a happier partner when you walk inside.

It’s just one more reason to love gardening.  Check out the full article from Telegraph.com.

Site That Inspires Me: January

Well, It’s no secret that we all need a little inspiration from time to time, and the blogosphere is a great place for meeting and forming community with like minded people. This year, one thing I’m adding to the Green Gardenista is a monthly feature to share blogs and websites that have inspired me this past year, that you may want to check out for some serious idea swapping! 

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I still enjoy browsing through the big name gardening magazines, and I’m still fascinated by the fact that Martha can make a tube sock look like an elegant planter, but I’m finding more and more inspiration on the web by the smaller names in the business!  One woman whom I’ve found encouraging is Patti Moreno, who runs The Garden Girl, an article and ‘how-to’ video rich site that both documents her city gardening journey, and gives you plans to recreate her urban farm in your neighborhood. Patti began her garden journey simply, with her only goal being to lose her baby weight, but she worked until she has transformed a open lot behind her city home into a working vegetable farm, complete with goats, chicken, and rabbits, and turned her “Garden Girl” articles into regular contributions with several magazines and the Farmers Almanac! The Garden Girl is January’s “Site That Inspires Me,” and is well worth the time you are guaranteed to spend lost in her archives. Click on the link above and find some ideas to jump-start your spring plans!

Your Thoughts: I find myself constantly looking for ways to beef up my gardens potential even though I live in a city environment. Do you live in an urban environment?  What blogs inspire you to live large in your small space?

Gardening Your Cares Away – Effects of Nature on Human Behavior

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As the fall season grinds to a sudden chilly halt and I prepare for winter, my garden offers me less hands-on time while extending to me instead a few months to re-group and re-evaluate the past year.  As I briefly alluded to in my previous post, my home was under total renovation from October ’07 through October ‘08, after a neighbor’s house-fire severely damaged my own. Most of the yard work around Casa de GreenGardenista this year was simply the bare minimum maintenance work of mowing, and repeatedly cleaning up broken glass and the never ending parade of nails that perpetually appeared in my yard and garden. (Where does it all come from!?) Aside from wondering if any of the nails in the reconstruction process ever made it into the actual timbers of my house, I had plenty of time to re-evaluate my garden plan, and plan out my goals for the coming year.  A few short Saturday morning visits to the house for maintenance work turned into 6 hour stints of weed pulling, and restless re-arranging of garden plants, as I wrestled with my garden, and tried to make sense of both it and the situation I found myself in. It was a strange feeling, being a visitor in your own yard, but in some way the actual “doing” process of the yard work became a therapeutic exercise.

Many of you are like me, and find the learning exercise involved in gardening a grounding experience that soothes the soul and works out the kinks of the day’s stresses. Not everyone can take the same enjoyment from labor intensive outdoor work though. I used to wonder what it was that drew some people to the garden to relax, while other people wanted nothing to do with the hands-on aspect of gardening, and who found great enjoyment instead in something less time intensive, like a fresh bouquet of flowers. If we all reap some benefit from nature, is what we receive really that different from each other?

I was attending a symposium for the partners of the Wildlife Habitat Council recently, and attended a session dedicated to the study of the natural world and its effect on mental and physical wellness. The speaker was a doctoral student named Jason Duvall, from the University Of Michigan School Of Natural Resources And The Environment, and he shared both his own research and that of colleagues on the measurable effects nature has on human behavior.

He studied both the aspects of what the scientific community considers “active participation” with nature, which involves physical involvement with the outdoor world, and “passive participation” with nature, which involves simple things like a good view out an office, or hospital window, and attractive landscaping outside a school yard. He found, in studies spanning several decades, that active participation in gardening, hiking, and outdoor volunteerism resulted in higher levels of overall satisfaction with life, fewer colds, flu’s, and illnesses, and heightened ability to adjust to stress without being overwhelmed. Those results may seem common knowledge, with our understanding of the effect of exercise and endorphins in the body and in human psychology, but the documented results of passive interaction with nature on humans across the age, race, and career spectrum are what really impacted me. The studies Jason Duvall cited focused on a diverse population of people in a variety of walks of life, including the caregivers of AIDS patients, inner-city students, the elderly, and the common office worker. A passive interaction with nature was linked to everything from a reduced severity in symptoms in patients suffering from mental illness, to reduced crime in urban areas, and higher test scores in inner-city schools. The complete picture built from the results of this study showed our dependence on nature, and it’s profound and invisible effect on human physical and mental wellness.

In the lecture sessions I found a few answers to my own questions about nature’s impact on the hands-on garden or outdoor enthusiast, and the passive participant, and I’ll share with you some of the specifics of the study in the next few posts, so you can judge for yourself the impact our immediate environment has on our own behavior.

Your Thoughts: Are you an active or passive participant with nature, and do you feel that the environment around you impacts your day, and your outlook?