Natural Playground, Codman Academy, Dorchester, MA

Codman Academy Charter School in Dorchester, MA occupies a storefront in one of Boston’s low-income neighborhoods, sandwiched between units of affordable apartment housing. Their “playground” was a packed dirt yard abutting a parking lot. The school, which uses trauma-informed design to help at-risk students feel more grounded and safe, looked to the Community Outreach Group for Landscape Design (COGDesign) to create a more appropriate play space. Designer David McCoy of Geographia Landscape Design developed a beautiful plan for a…

Photo Essay: A Horticultural Meditation on Winter

For background on this meditation, go here. You are a tender plant, all soft, green stems and leaves.  As the days grow shorter, you send all of the nourishment collected from the summer sun down into your roots, and you prepare to wait. Your leaves yellow and crisp, until the Gardener chops them back. You are sad without your leaves.  Then, you realize that they were dead anyway. What had kept you alive no longer…

Healing Spaces

Koletta & I went to a talk by Dr. Esther Sternberg, M.D. yesterday on her new book, Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being yesterday at Trinity Church.  She presented a sampling of scientific evidence on (1) the connection between stress and negative health outcomes, and (2) the stress-reducing potential of well-designed therapeutic spaces. Sternberg explained how simply looking at a beautiful view or image activates endorphin and opiate receptors in the brain, giving…

November Events

As the landscaping season winds down, there are many opportunities to start dreaming and planning for next year.  Imagine a space that will nourish the body and soul, while reducing utility bills! Healing Spaces:  The Science of Place and Well-Being – Sunday, Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. Trinity Church (Copley Square), Boston.  Ester M. Sternberg, M.D., National Institutes of Health, will explore how surroundings—a theme park, concert hall, cathedral, labyrinth or garden—can trigger or reduce…