Natural Sanctuaries Heal Body and Spirit
Since ancient times, gardens have been employed as a place of healing for body and spirit. Japanese healthcare providers prescribe shinrin-yoku, meaning, “walking in forests to promote health” or “forest bathing”. Its intent is to use sight, sound and smell to connect with nature through stress-reducing, meditative walks.
Based on a program created by the Morikami Japanese Gardens, in Delray Beach, Florida, Washington state’s Bloedel Reserve, on Bainbridge Island, conducts Strolls for Well-Being. Participants sign up for a free, 10-week session of 12 self-guided walks and three group meetings. A companion workbook is provided to encourage journaling on themes such as forgiveness, gratitude and joy.
“Public gardens are a safe place where people can focus and do the work,” says Erin Jennings, with Bloedel. “We see people that wish to reflect and refuel or simply be more aware and intentional in life.” With 150 acres of natural woodlands and landscaped areas, ranging from a moss garden to a bird marsh, participants can take as much time as they need.
Bees are an integral part of any flowering garden, and Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary, in Floyd, Virginia, sustainably hosts 30 hives on six acres adjacent to a field planted with buckwheat, mustard, sunflowers and clover for its biodynamic beekeeping. An orchard on the property dovetails with an organic farm next door. Tours, talks, plant sales, food and music enhance the hospitality.
Hope Hill Lavender Farm, in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, adds lavender to soap, sugar scrubs, lotion and essential oil. “It takes 11 pounds of hand-picked fresh blossoms to make one ounce of essential oil,” says Troy Jochems, coowner with his wife, Wendy. A member of the mint family, lavender adds distinctive flavor and fragrance to both sweet and savory dishes (find recipes at HopeHillLavenderFarm.com). Visit the farm on summer weekends through mid-August and plan to partake of the annual lavender festival next June. READ MORE