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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

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Consultation and coaching for do-it-yourselfers is provided. Occasional emailed questions are welcome and answered free of charge. Oui, je parle francais.

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Entries in spirituality (2)


How Landscaping Creates Serenity

Baptism Center, on the banks of the Jordan River. Photo copyright by Paul Charles Wolfe.The interesting thing about color in the Middle Eastern landscape is that it is found in very few places. To experience color, one must visit open air markets, gift shops, and art galleries. In markets, one finds colorful displays of spices and produce, as well as intricately decorated garments. Gift shops feature the handiwork of local artisans who create rather useful souvenirs in colors that reflect the vibrancy if the many local cultures that live there. In galleries representing local artists, the paintings have been executed in vivid reds, oranges and yellows - in shades so intense that they sometimes overwhelm tourists from more sedate cultures. Perhaps it is the bleaching sun that inspires the use of such vivid colors. However, as soon as one steps out of these venues, the landscape is bleak. Beige stone and sand are everywhere. That is the nature of the Middle East. Clearly one does not visit this part of the world for an aesthetic outdoor experience based on color.

Google aerial view of Kasar al Yahud, the location of the baptism centers on both sides of the sepentine Jordan River. The left side of the river is located in the West Bank; the right side is in the State of Jordan.During my visit there last August, when our tour group arrived at a baptism center on the banks of the Jordan River, we all let out a sigh of relief. We had found color. Baptism centers had been established on both sides of the river, in response to the needs of devout Christian tourists who wish to be immersed in the same waters used to baptize Jesus, over two thousand years ago. In creating this outdoor space, the attention given to atmosphere is impressive.

The azure blue of the water, combined with the pink of the flowers, are enhanced by the woodland effect of green-leafed trees on both river banks. All of these naturally occurring colors, deliberately landscaped only recently, contribute to creating a spiritual experience. The serenity of this place is palpable.


Healing Gardens, Healing Stones; a Product Review

Healing Stones and Gardens, a DVD/Postcard Gift Set by Sherry Black and Everett Buss, Five Star Publications 

The concept of the healing garden is relatively new to North America. A study of Asian landscapes shows that such gardens have been in use for a very long time. We are only now beginning to understand their power to relax the visitor.

Since the industrial revolution of the early 18th century, our lives have grown more complex as the pace of life has steadily increased. Finding peace and tranquility becomes more challenging with each generation. Those who have a commitment to a strong belief system may find comfort in their religious rituals. However, for many, that refuge is elusive and the need for a spiritual experience to sooth, relax, and re energize, remains unfulfilled.

A large number of people engage in serious sports, dance, yoga, meditation, or massage. Others use recreational substances. Many do not know where to turn. Fortunately for some of us, each time we step into our gardens, we experience a euphoria that defies description. The touch and aroma of the soil, the fragrance and color of the flowers, the sounds of the birds, the fresh air and the wind, the warmth of the sun, and the exercise all contribute to a feeling of well being.

Spending ten minutes watching this DVD will be a relaxing spiritual experience both for those who cannot garden during winter and for many who do not enjoy gardening at all. The creators hope that the viewer will be able to suspend time while watching the breathtaking images of peaceful, flowering gardens alternating with and superimposed upon multidimensional stones and crystals.

The imagery for the postcards and the DVD are supplied by Sherry Black and Everett Buss. Ms. Black is a nature photographer who has created advanced technology slide shows that blend her photographs together on large screens using three projectors. The haunting and ethereal shows are in demand for music concerts, gallery openings, and museums. Everett Buss, who has a gift for seeing the universe in stones and crystals, is responsible for bringing us the awesome imagery embedded there. Through his lapidary art, he finds and shares spirituality. Each of his images is abstract art of extraordinary depth and feeling.

On the DVD, garden images not only alternate with the designs found in the stones, but each stone image echoes the pattern and design of the next nature image. Throughout, the inviting background sounds of birds and insects are calming. Watching the DVD had as powerful an effect on me as a glass of wine, a hot bath, or a Shiatsu massage. It must be the continuous bombardment of the eye, with pleasant, breathtaking images, that creates the calming, visual experience. The compact size of the combined DVD and postcard set makes this a unique and thoughtful gift item.