Hello to all my relations (including you!)
I am new to Dorchester, but feel well established as a gardener (third generation).. so I set out to potluck & network, hang out and say hello to the folk of our neighborhood. I'm seeking good new Gardening Friends. At our apartment we hold monthly Sistah Circles for DIY (do It Yourself) crafting, knitting, quilting and sewing. I'm looking for the Seed Exchange potluck, the gardeners backyard parties, whatever fun things we can get up to when it gets warmer!
About myself: I'm Amatul, the red-headed freckled Black & Lithuanian sista up near Ronen Park. Grew up in the 1970's and 80s with the hippies in Cambridge, with my father's African drumming and jazz saxaphone ringing out loud from the commons late into the night. My younger brothers and I always went for long walks as our momma had no car - so we'd walk around the Arboretum, the Squares, Fresh Pond, Boston Common, all up Mass Ave... wherever we could get to.
Now I simply love nature, and seek to bring it into my life wherever I can. I love the Blue Hills and find interesting areas of Franklin Park everytime I go check out the Zoo. I like to ride a bike around and look for trails near waterways or rivers, my boyfriend and I are still looking for new hiking trails around the city. While we are eager to see how things will grow and bear fruit in our new home, we accept that like gardening it will all take its own good time. It';s good so far - as folk in Dot are overall much friendlier than Cambridge, Somerville, or Medford...
I find that I like it here,
it's more Deep.
Besides going on nature trail hikes and crafting, I have to work. So I work for myself as a chemical-free organic gardener, planning sustainable landscapes and designing indoor "Plantscapes" for folks who want plants, but don't have the time to set them up properly.
I bring green beauty into people's home, workplace, front porch or backyard - no matter how large or small the job, I can help you bring a greener vision to reality - and I feel lucky to be able to do this work. As the head gardener of GAIA's Gardens and Sustainable Landscapes I do landscape and plantscape design, and build gardens - singly or with a crew.
But its not all about work -
I'm a community activist, organizing Martin Luther King day each year for the City of Cambridge, curator of many Black Art exhibits for the Harriet Tubman Gallery back in the 1990's, and as AQuarii Arts/ ToolBox Productions we produce musical shows every other month or so.
As my own form of Green Activism I teach how plants & flowers serve to clean the air indoors and brighten the spirit of a room, reshape a dusty yard into a welcoming after-work relaxation zone, plant herbal gardens for fresh tea at home, organize vacant lot clean-ups for neighborhood associations, pull together child-friendly garden plots, even plant groundcovers to conserve soil on erosion-prone slopes, install ornamental ponds, or build rock and succulent gardens.
I'm a firm believer that our WORK, whatever it may be, can include activism, community service, spirtuality, healing and prayer.
While I am gardening I stay connected, finding ways to welcome and learn from youth and elders alike. THIS IS ROOT NATURAL: re-connecting to the Tribe, the Human Family all around us.
Gardening is my way of encouraging positive and empowering approaches to environmental protection, asserting the mental-health values of the natural world, and re-connecting myself to the Earth.
Many researchers agree - academic citations are below -
Root Yourself in the Garden:
Did you know...
"Direct encounters with the natural world improve your mental health across a spectrum including healing emotional trauma, reducing stress, strengthening self-confidence and leadership abilities, and cultivating spiritual growth. (2004 John Davis, Ph.D. Naropa University, School of Lost Borders)
Dr Davis also writes:
"Ecopsychology offers three insights:
1. There is a deeply Bonded and Reciprocal relationship between Humans and Nature. Ecopsychology draws on two metaphors for this relationship: (a) nature as home and family (e.g., Earth as mother, animals as siblings) and (b) nature as Self, in which self-identifications are broadened to include the "greater-than-human" world and Gaia.
2. The illusion of a separation of humans and nature leads to suffering both for the environment (as ecological devastation) and for humans (as grief, despair, and alienation).
3. Realizing the connection between humans and nature is healing for both. This reconnection includes the healing potential of contact with nature, work on grief and despair about environmental destruction, ecotherapy, and psychoemotional bonding with the world as a source of environmental action and sustainable lifestyles..."
Grow strong Children in the Garden:
Did you know...
- Children who play regularly in natural environments show more advanced motor fitness, including coordination, balance and agility, and they are sick less often (Grahn, et al. 1997, Fjortoft & Sageie 2001)
- Children with symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are better able to concentrate after contact with nature (Taylor et al. 2001)
- Exposure to natural environments improves children's cognitive development by improving their awareness, reasoning, and observational skills (Pyle 2002).
- Nature buffers the impact of life's stresses on children and helps them deal with adversity. The greater the amount of nature exposure, the greater the benefits (Wells & Evans 2003)
- An affinity to and love of nature, along with a positive environmental ethic, grow out of regular contact with and play in the natural world during early childhood. Children's loss of regular contact with the natural world can result in a biophobic future generation not interested in preserving nature and its diversity (Bunting & Cousins 1985; Chawla 1988; Wilson 1993; Pyle 1993; Chipeniuk 1994; Sobel 1996, 2002 & 2004; Hart 1997; Wilson 1997, Kals et al. 1999; Moore & Cosco 2000; Fisman 2001; Kellert 2002; Bixler et al. 2002; Kals & Ittner 2003; Schultz et al. 2004)
ORGANIC Gardening is great for children and all living things
As I always say,
Our Roots on the Tree of Life cross over again and again..
What is good for the child, is good for the society
Ill write more here as I explore the natural world and gardening resources of Fields Corner.
Be well, be blessed, be natural