Friday, February 27, 2009

Oolala: French Inspiration

Fantastic "jardins" on this French blog Paradis Express.

The artist says "Issue d'une famille d'artistes cosmopolites, curieuse de tout ce qui se passe ici et là : voyages, design, peinture, déco, technologie, tendances. .. Et la nature, première source d'inspiration."

I don't speak French, but I get the gist. And I agree wholeheartedly that nature is the "première source d'inspiration."

There are enough beautiful pictures on this blog that even if you don't parlay voo anything, you will find inspiration from the quirky posts about gardens, landscapes, plants, and much more.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Virtual Garden Tours

Seriously, what did people do before the internet?

I've been entertaining myself today by exploring other people's gardens online, and I am so excited to have visited
It is written by a couple in Franklin, MA. The wife, Michelle, took these beautiful winter interest photos of her Witch hazel, Sedum, and Bee balm.

They also have a great section under "insect identification" where she photographed all the stages of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. It's really beautiful.

From the clueless gardeners, I visited posted by a man outside of Tokyo. His post for today was "Unforeseen Snowing" which confused me. Why in February is it "unforeseen"? But reading through his previous posts, his crocuses had already come up, his lilacs were budding, his Camellia had blooms, and the plum trees had already blossomed.

He took this amazing picture.

A posting from last week was "A little sign spring on the blueberry," and he meticulously photographed the buds and it's progress. I was really happy for him, a total stranger, almost ten thousand miles away. We gardeners are all alike.

(By the way if you Google Map directions from New York, NY to Tokyo, Japan, the directions send you to Seattle, and then specify "Kayak across Pacific Ocean." They provide directions for you to portage over Hawaii, and then direct you to, "Kayak across Pacific Ocean" again until you get to Japan!)

I love the internet.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dirt is Better than Prozac!

In the September/October 2008 issue of Psychology Today, a study done by a neuroscientist, Christopher Lowry, at Bristol University in England found that certain strains of soil-borne mycobacteria raised serotonin levels in mice and "directly impact cognition and mood regulation." (SSRIs like Prozac increase the availability of serotonin in humans.) The same mycobacteria sharply stimulates the human immune system.

According to the article:
"Getting out in the garden plants us back in what appears to be our optimal habitat. Eating fruits and vegetables -- even antioxidant-rich tomatoes, melons, beets, cabbage, and berries -- turns out to be only half of a newly evolving story of health. "

"Our bodies and brains depend on the whole experience of growing our own. Our mental and physical health seem to be deeply rooted in the dirt."

We already knew this: Digging in the dirt makes you happy, and gardening keeps you healthy!