November 17, 2016
Orchids, Leeks & Healing Gardens at Dell Children’s
Much-needed rain prompted disgusted plants to pop flowers for swarms of really hungry butterflies. A Monarch stopped by to sup on Duranta erecta ‘Sapphire Showers.’
Birds snag just-ripe native Barbados cherry fruits. Since we can’t grow the real thing, we can get our cherry fix (and blossoms) as long as you’re not in deer country.
Now, what’s winter without potato leek soup? Whatever your favorite recipe, they are mighty pricey! These perennials are easy to grow, so if you’ve got a little room, give them a try.
At Lake Austin Spa, Trisha Shirey and Amanda Alvarez show how to plant from nursery containers, divide, harvest, and prep for dinner.
Get Trisha’s leek recipes. And watch now!
So, raise your hand if you’ve ever committed orchid murder! Actually, these sensual flowers that bloom for months are quite easy to grow indoors. Jessica Robertson solves the mystery, even for beginners.
Jessica explains how to pot up, water, and prune, including Cattleyas in just about every color you can imagine.
It’s easy to swoon over countless varieties, forms and colors. I’m a total sucker for intricate Lady’s slippers.
Among all the flamboyant blooms, the Jewel orchid’s foliage really knocked us out. Yes, it does bloom, but can’t you just see that deep foliage complimenting your greenery inside?
Jessica’s a multi-talented gardener (watch her Backbone Valley Nursery and Greenleaf Nursery interviews). Now, follow her brand new blog for hands-on tips and friendly advice. And watch her orchid interview right now!
At some time in our lives, we all need healing, whether it’s physical or emotional. On tour at Dell Children’s Medical Center, gardens that nurture health, peace and young patient therapy unite top medical technology with nature’s healing power for families and staff.
Brian Ott of TBG led the design team to create experiences from the most intimate to the most gregarious events for families and the community every week.
The first hospital in the world to achieve LEED® Platinum certification, Dell included garden design from its inception.
“I think the other piece of it that is often, I would say, understated in hospitals in general, is the importance of the environment in healing,” said Dr. Mark Shen, President, Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas.
To make children from 46 counties feel at home, Rev. Krista Gregory, Dell Children’s Resiliency Center Manager, told us: “Each of the seven gardens represent a different ecosystem from which our patients come.”
The Texas Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity prompted vegetable gardens to teach families how to grow healthy.
“We’re focused on helping folks make healthy changes in their lives, and that includes nutrition and physical activity and family change and also behavioral health. While gardening does produce these great vegetables it also is a way to de-stress and reconnect with nature, which is another source of stress relief that so many of us have forgotten about,” said Dr. Stephen Pont.
Every garden attracts the senses, from taste and fragrance to sounds where children make their own kind of therapy music.
In the “Swiss cheese” maze designed for wheelchairs or energetic siblings, children always find the way to colorful bongos.
The labyrinth isn’t a maze. “You walk it, it’s one journey, you walk it all the way to the center. I often bring staff out here to walk the labyrinth on a difficult day, when they’re like, I’m not doing okay, but I don’t want to talk, but I’m not okay. I say, let’s go outside, let’s walk the labyrinth together, and I promise you at the end you’ll feel calmer,” said Rev. Krista.
The biggest, most colorful sundial I’ve ever seen really does work! We tried it. And for children in physical therapy, bright colors, flowers, and running water are powerful incentives. If you’ve ever done physical therapy, don’t you agree?
Who can pass by the pet therapy wall without a chuckle and to pat the intricate mosaics? Loving hands from the community, patients, and staff represent real dogs that come to the hospital three days a week.
Moving water helps us wash our worries away. On a misty morning, I left my cares behind me as I sat under the arbor watching the pond. Sunnier days find families picnicking with their children and watching the fish, lulled as I was.
Tucked between two wings, a rill connects splashing pools. Children gleefully float boats down its ripples.
It’s also a natural nesting cove for families.
“Sometimes you need that little intimate space where no one can find you and you can just sit and be together as a family and have that intimacy with your pain or with your joy or with your questions,” said Rev. Krista.
Reflecting nature’s life cycle, progressive blooming delights children and families since wildlife is always on call.
Inside, the atrium excites lots of cheers during rubber duck races down the blue-tiled rill.
“You can’t be more than 30 feet from natural sunlight streaming in anywhere in the building. It’s an easy walk for anybody or perhaps a push in a wheelchair to get to one of those windows and experience that, even if they can’t be outside,” said Dr. Shen.
Cascading over three floors, a waterfall comforts families and staff from the atrium garden to a dining room below.
A star jasmine vine trained into a tree harbors many a private conversation, especially soothing when spring flowers shower perfume.
“You come outside, you experience nature, all the craziness of life can melt away even for a moment. If it’s only for a moment, that matters,” said Rev. Krista.
Watch this inspiring story right now.
Thanks for stopping by! Wishing you a most wonderful Thanksgiving, Linda