06/7/17

Some Gardening Benefits

Ed Note: This post on some of the benefits of gardening was submitted by Maria Cannon, one of our readers. Thank you, Maria.

Help Relieve Depression Through Backyard Gardening by Maria Cannon

Some gardening benefits – As someone who has suffered from depression and anxiety, I have managed to channel those issues through hobbies like quilting, sewing and knitting. But several years ago I took up gardening and it was therapeutic in a different way from my other hobbies. Being outside, digging in the dirt, and being able to watch the progression of my work each spring offers a boost that I feel physically and mentally.

In some ways, you spend most of your time in a box. Think about it. You wake in your house, go straight to your car, head into a building, go back into your car, and head into your home. Spending all that time indoors can be surprisingly tiring.

That’s because you’re a natural organism. Humans evolved in nature, so when people are deprived of it, they suffer. Sure, there’s the physical health problems of poor air quality and sick building syndrome. But there’s also the mental health problems of depression and stressors.

New research is starting to show a surprising cure for both physical and mental health problems: gardening. It’s a way to get outside and be with nature, but it’s controlled and something almost anyone can do at home. Believe it or not, you can help fight depression by building a garden in your backyard.

Nature-Deficit Disorder

There are many causes to depression and similar mental health issues. One that only recently has been getting attention is the lack of connection with nature. Dubbed the “nature-deficit disorder,” it’s not an actual diagnosis. Instead, it describes how people need to be in nature from time to time, and how our modern society makes that harder.

It’s easy to find yourself staying indoors for days at a time. With video games, smartphones, and work tasks, you could spend a lot of time staring at a screen. But it’s not just technology that’s a problem, as you could suffer from a nature deficit by staying in and reading books all day long.

This problem is especially bad with children. If they grow up in an environment lacking anything natural, they can suffer from childhood obesity and similar problems. None of that is good for their mental health either.

Gardening For Mental Health

How can gardening help with your depression? There are several ways:

    Spending time outdoors in nature can boost your mental energy.
    Working with plants and helping them grow can improve your confidence and self-esteem.
    Much like with mediation, simple gardening tasks like weeding or planting can promote mindfulness.
    Growing something makes you feel more connected to the world.

Then there’s the simple fact that gardening has fewer stressors. Technology is wonderful, but between emails and social media, there’s always something demanding your attention in an obvious, almost rude way.

The opposite is true for gardening. It’s a calm, mindful activity that brings you back down to earth (literally). When you’re in the backyard gardening, you hear wind and birdsong. You have no one demanding you explain anything, and there are no pressures to get more work done. It’s just you and the garden.

Gardening For Physical Health

Your body and mind are interconnected. If you’re stressed, you are more likely to get a cold. And if you’re not eating right, you’re more likely to feel lethargic and depressed. Thankfully, gardening can help with physical problems as well.

Gardening is hard work. You end up using many muscle groups while you turn the soil, dig, plant seeds, pull weeds, and more. In fact, the CDC says that gardening can help with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and more.

Then there’s the nutritional benefits of fresh fruit and vegetables. It’s hard to beat taking something from your backyard in terms of freshness.

Fight Depression With A Garden

Gardening isn’t a magical cure. You’re not suddenly going to be free of depression the moment your hand hits the soil. But research shows that spending time outdoors with a garden has the physical and mental health benefits you need to fight depression and win.

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06/3/17
Price Garden Corrales

The Price Garden, Corrales

The Price Garden, Corrales

The Price Garden in Corrales is as interesting and as beautiful as the Rio Grande bosque on which it is located. Those of you who read my other blog, Susan Brandt Graham Photography, know how much I love to photograph there. Gardening on their property presents benefits and challenges that are different from those in the NE Heights sections of Albuquerque. On the positive side, given its location along the Rio Grande, the water table is not so far from the surface. They have irrigation access, a part of the old New Mexico acequias system. Those of you who read Tim’s blog, Off Center and Not Even, know that he often is up in the middle of the night to open the gates and later to close them. Sometimes there is adequate water, sometimes there isn’t. More challenging, at least in my opinion, are the temperature extremes at night, especially in the winter. “Cold air sinks,”and that is readily observable at their home. I always keep a jacket handy, even in summer, if I plan to be there in the evening. Winter nighttime temps are often 20 degrees colder than at my home. In other places I have discussed the microclimates and environments of the area, and the abundance of Dr Huey roses in Corrales. With a lot of hard work, Tim and Laurie have a beautiful garden that fits well into the natural landscape. I was fortunate to be able to photograph it twice in May, 2017. These are just a few of the images.

Price Garden Corrales

Colorful Beauty

Price Garden Corrales

Garden Study in Orange

Price Garen Corrales

David Austin Rose

Price Garden Corrales

Betty Boop, Fourth of July, and Purple Salvia against Adobe Wall

Price Garden Corrales

Rose ‘Ballerina,’ a very hardy hybrid musk

Price Garden Corrales

Rose ‘Ballerina,’ a very hardy hybrid musk

Price Garden Corrales

Rose ‘Ballerina,’ a Very Hardy Hybrid Musk

Price Garden Corrales

Price Garden, Roses

Price Garden Corrales

Price Garden, Peonies

Price Garden Corrales

Price Garden, Dr Huey, Bamboo, iris, gorgeous light!

This just a glimpse at the Price Garden, and over time I will post more images of their wonderful, peaceful, inviting garden. This is the best of natural, sustainable gardening in a very challenging spot in the Desert Southwest, Corrales in the bosque. I hope you have enjoyed this brief tour.

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05/28/17
Susan Brandt Graham

2017 PSWD Photography Judge Award

2017 Pacific Southwest District Outstanding Rose Photography Judge Award

The 2017 PSWD Outstanding Rose Photography Judge Award was a huge, but welcome, surprise to me. With many thanks to all of the people responsible for this honor!

2017 Photography Judge Award Susan Brandt Graham Photography: Spring 2017 Roses &emdash;

I began work in the PSWD in 2008 to develop guidelines for judging rose photographs in our rose shows. I was already an ARS Accredited Horticulture and Arrangements Judge. But because I did not want to feel I was “shooting from the hip” in working for rose photographs in rose shows, I did UNM CE’s entire program in Digital Photography. I wanted to feel and to be competent for the task I set for myself. In 2012, the ARS recognized rose photography and set up a new committee to work on guidelines. It has been an honor to work with that national committee to establish working guidelines at the national level. It has been gratifying to see much of my work from the PSWD level incorporated into the guidelines at the national level.

The citation was read by Juanita Ortega, current Chair of Photography for the PSWD, at the District Convention, April 22, 2017:

The recipient of this award is an American Rose Society Accredited Horticulture and/or Arrangement Judge who has advanced the exhibition of rose photographs at local and district rose shows in the Pacific Southwest District. By encouraging rosarians to photograph their roses, our societies have attracted more members and contributed to the enjoyment of our national flower by the public.

This year, we recognize the efforts of one of the founders of this newest division of American Rose Society Rose Shows. For many years, she organized seminars and classes to teach interested ARS members the basics of photographing and displaying roses. She organized Rose Photography Divisions at national, district and local rose shows. This Photography Judge served on the American Rose Society Photography Guidelines Committee from 2012 through 2015.

The 2017 Pacific Southwest District Outstanding Rose Photography Judge Award is presented to Dr. Susan Brandt Graham from Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Many thanks, Juanita, to you and the photographers of the PSWD. ~ Susan

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05/26/17
memorial day

Memorial Day 2017

Memorial Day 2017

memorial day

Memorial Day 2017, with Miniature Rose ‘Ruby Baby’

For Memorial Day 2017, I wanted to create an image that reflected the meaning of the day, I thought about how to combine elements. First of all, I wanted red, white, and blue. I wanted a red rose to be a major element. Most of all, I wanted the connection to the meaning of the day to be clear.

The image is a composite with multiple layers, composited to reflect the meaning of this special day at many levels. The red rose is the miniature, ‘Ruby Baby.’ The tombstone is from the cemetery of an old New Mexico church. The sky is…well, the beautiful sky.

Wishing you peace on this special weekend, a time for quiet reflection.

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05/22/17
spring 2017 roses

Spring 2017 Roses

Spring 2017 Roses

Spring 2017 Roses is a small collection of images of roses mainly grown by me. ‘Austrian Copper,’ the species rose R. foetida bicolor, was grown by Tim and Laurie Price. If you wish to see any of the images at a larger size, click on the image.
You may also watch a slideshow containing these and other images.
Additional post will be made throughout the season.
I hope you enjoy the varied beauty of the roses.

Miniature Rose, ‘Incognito,’ after a gentle overnight rain
Susan Brandt Graham Photography: Spring 2017 Roses &emdash; Rose 'Incognito'

Species Rose, R. foetida bicolor, grown by Tim and Laurie Price
Susan Brandt Graham Photography: Spring 2017 Roses &emdash; Rose 'Austrian Copper'

Spray of shrub rose, ‘Route 66’
Susan Brandt Graham Photography: Spring 2017 Roses &emdash; Rose 'Route 66'

Spray of miniature rose, ‘Bees Knees’
Susan Brandt Graham Photography: Spring 2017 Roses &emdash; Rose 'Bees Knees'

Shrub rose, ‘Pike’s Peak’
Susan Brandt Graham Photography: Spring 2017 Roses &emdash; Rose 'Pike's Peak'

Shrub rose, ‘Othello’
Susan Brandt Graham Photography: Spring 2017 Roses &emdash; Rose 'Othello'

Miniature rose, ‘Spring Fling’
Susan Brandt Graham Photography: Spring 2017 Roses &emdash; Rose 'Spring Fling'

Floribunda rose, ‘Betty Boop.’ Rose shows now frequently have a class for “Rose Art,” and very often what you will see are images that use photoshop filters or other editing that leads to the destruction or loss of beauty of the rose itself. I want to show that images can be greatly edited, and/or enhanced, without destroying the integrity or the beauty of the rose.
Susan Brandt Graham Photography: Spring 2017 Roses &emdash; Rose 'Betty Boop'

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04/26/17
gardening challenge

Gardening Challenge Coming

Gardening Challenge Coming

A gardening challenge in the way of a very late and possibly hard freeze this weekend is headed to the Albuquerque area. The “average frost free date” for much of the time I have been here has hovered around April 15. Late freezes are not entirely unknown, however. We had a hard freeze in May of 2005. An Arrangement School was held at the same time as the Albuquerque Rose Show at the end of May. I still smile at the number of “Betty Boop” roses featured in rose arrangements that year, as well as in the show itself. That happened before we had rose photography in our rose shows. Floral photography does allow shows to thrive even with all the challenges of gardening.

This year, many of my roses have bloomed earlier than usual. However, I have a couple that I have babied that will be damaged by a hard freeze now. I’m also a little worried about the developing peaches and pears in my yard. I’ll keep an eye on the forecast and see what I can do to protect some of the plants.

Tim and Laurie, whom many of you know, face more difficult and frequent challenges in their gardening in Corrales, along the banks of the Rio Grande. However, once the freezes end in the spring, their property is full of lush floral growth.

These following images are from their yard in mid-May of 2016.

gardening challenge

Beautiful Climbing Roses

gardening challenge

Iris

gardening challenge

More Iris

gardening challenge

Even More Iris

gardening challenge

Even More Beautiful Iris

For those in the Albuquerque area, watch the weather forecasts. Good luck with your tender plants if the late hard freeze really happens.

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04/22/17
friends

Friends

Friends

“Friends are the siblings God never gave us” ~ Mencius

friends

“Friends” – Rose ‘Marmalade Skies’

Continuing a series of individual rose images, the rose featured today is the floribunda, ‘Marmalade Skies.’ It is capable of making large sprays, as well as blooms that briefly have the exhibition form of hybrid teas. The color is wonderful for rose arrangers. It definitely stands out across a room.

The roses in my yard are definitely ahead of schedule this year. I am enjoying them while they are blooming, because it may be fall before they have another good bloom cycle.

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04/20/17
rose distant drums

A Garden to Walk In

A Garden to Walk In

A garden to walk in…The roses in my yard are about three weeks ahead of time this year, compared to when I first came to Albuquerque. I’m definitely enjoying them now. This rose is a shrub rose, ‘Distant Drums.’ It has a wonderful fragrance, along with unique color.

rose distant drums

‘Distant Drums’

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04/19/17
Route 66

Route 66 In Albuquerque

Route 66 in Albuquerque

Route 66 in Albuquerque may make you think of many things. In addition to “those”things, “Route 66″is a shrub rose that can be spectacular in early spring. The color, when fresh, is dark mauve, and the bloom has bright golden stamens. Another plus for this rose is a fabulous scent. It blooms intermittently throughout the summer. It is at its most glorious at its first bloom. An added bonus here is a little Lady Bug.

Route 66

Shrub Rose “Route 66”

Route 66

“Route 66” with Lady Bug

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03/13/17
rose photography

Rose Photography in the ARS

Rose Photography in the American Rose Society: Results of the 2016 ARS Digital Photography Contest

Rose photography in the American Rose Society has a growing interest, no pun intended. 🙂 The American Rose Magazine has had a photography contest for some time. In recent years, the contest has become a digital competition. Online entry is easy, and mailed CD’s, DVD’s, and thumb drives are also accepted. Yesterday, March 12, the ARS used online methods to announce the winners of the 2016 competition. Not only was it fun, but all of the winners could be shown. While the top winners will appear in the American Rose Magazine, print space does not allow for the showing of all winners.

I was very happy to win the Judges Class with ‘Hot Cocoa,’a floribunda rose grown by my mother and photographed by me. ‘Hot Cocoa’ is a russet rose, and russet is always a challenge to photograph!

rose photography

Floribunda Rose ‘Hot Cocoa.’ Winner of the Judges Class, 2016 American Rose Society Digital Photography Contest

A very big winner in the regular classes is the fourth, and newly appointed, PSWD Photography Chair, Juanita Ortega. I remember when Juanita was just beginning rose photography. She won awards with gorgeous images taken with a point-and-shoot camera and no editing software. (I also remember when she was just beginning in Arrangements.) She brings knowledge, dignity, and commitment to PSWD photography, and the PSWD is lucky to have her. Yesterday I lost track of all of her awards, but you can see all of them in this YouTube video, along with all of the other winners. A brief introduction is followed by all of the winners in all of the classes. Enjoy!

The rules for the 2017 ARS Digital Photography Contest have already been posted. Think about entering.

Rose show season is rapidly approaching, and the emphasis will move to rose photography in print form. Some people say entering a print is too expensive, referring to having it mounted and matted somewhere. Last year I prepared a short “how-to”in Kindle form. I show not only how to do it easily, but also how to do it inexpensively. More than that, this method eliminates all the “waves” frequently seen in some of the images in our rose shows.

The American Rose Society now offers a variety of options and settings for sharing your rose images.

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