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One route to healing is down the garden path of delight — positive, happy, giggle moments of delightful distraction.

Because we need to be delighted in life. To be cloaked in naturally occurring opportunities of joy and beauty. We need to grab any and all possible moments where delight blooms. Grab it. Dance in it. Kick the off shoes of the monkey mind for a moment and tip toe through the dog-gone tulips.

Simply, delight.

Red Bird Restorative Garden Tea Table detial - glass water

Special moments where a communion with nature is had, unique and unto themselves, where we are most positively distracted and transported to that happy place — if only for a moment — is preventative medicine.

… a delightful moment of lightness… a reprieve from brain fatigue.

Red Bird’s garden heart design-love-work is to transport you (and your brain) by indulging in a healing garden moment that researchers call “positive natural distraction”.

“A positive distraction is an environmental feature or situation that promotes an improved emotional state in the perceiver, may block or reduce worrisome thoughts, and fosters beneficial changes in physiological systems such as lowered blood pressure and stress hormones.” (Ulrich, 1999, 49 as quoted in Therapeutic Landscapes by Clare Cooper Marcus & Naomi Sachs)


Delight = insight and #whatappliesinthegardenappliesinlifeTweet: 1 route to healing is down the garden path of delight. #whatappliesinthegardenappliesinlife @AnnieRedBird [tweet that!]


A Design-ly Delight in bloom…

Garden tea party anyone?

“Why yes,” Annie said. “That would be brew-tea-full!” …and I’ll take some honey with that. (No really, good raw honey, like that lovingly crafted and locally made by Dogwood Bee Farm).  

Red Bird Tea Table Pairings

Sometimes we need levity. Perhaps more often than not. Lightness. Giggle moments. And that’s just what I have planted for you my friends. A sweet, garden giggle moment. Something for your eyes (and soul) to drink up and enjoy.

To spark inspiration. To feel good.

One of latest planting & furnishing designs is shared in these photos. Let’s call it a garden tea party table, shall we?  Fingertip gardening that will tickle the plant fancy, filled with tea-worthy edibles – herbs and flowers – ripe for springily insights awaits. (For a list of Brew-tea-full herbs for Peace, Health & Inspiration, you’ll want to read this.)

Hee!  It’s a Red Bird-er kind of tea party table inspired by another table. One with giggle moments. One with unique character – meaningful & personal – this is so very quite contrary suitable for your Alice moments just as any design-ly delightful, restorative garden element shall be.

Red Bird's YGP show display 2014-full view-Tea Table

Where can you find such a thing? Glad that you asked.

Come partake and par-tea with Red Bird and the great folks from Bauman’s Farm & Garden and Monrovia at the 2014 Yard Garden and Patio show and take a little tea-hee-hee timeout.

Ooh! Need a dose of design-ly delightful support and style inspiration in your garden? To match your life + style? Be in touch over here.

What healing delights are you planning to design into your garden this spring? Share in the comments below.

Western Oregon in the spring. Ah.  Renewal. Life. Play. Greeeeeeeeeeennnnnnn.

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So whatcha doing on Saturday (April 18)? 

Join me ’round the garden table. I’ll be giving a healing garden primer talk at Portland’s Smith & Hawken store — just in time for spring’s righteous renewal, planting, planning.

A healing garden primer? Yeah, there’s just so much to say and well, I will only have 30 minutes (this time)… so consider it a “healing garden talk appetizer“. [Stay tuned for other speaking gigs – that are more of a meal.]

Sheer yummy-let me be outside, finally-grow my own restorativeness:

Unearthing Your Healing Garden Potential

Time to demystify all the research and that design intel about healing gardens for hospitals, and set the goodness free for the everyday home dweller – a la “restorative gardens”. Picture a green halo… making more of the standard-lawn-couple trees-dots of shrubs-scenario — something like this:

…a sea of stress-relieving natural elements, harmonized together, reflecting your spirit, surrounding your home… 

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Deets: April 18th 11 am Free

Smith & Hawken

26 NW 23rd Place

Portland, OR 97210


(you’ll need to RSVP to Smith & Hawken)

All attendees will receive a 20% off coupon for the day and a free S&H gift… and Red Bird’s Restorative Garden Pocket Guide!

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In the event you can’t make it (because you live in, well, Switzerland like groovy Caroline), this might be a welcomed resource for you: American Horticultural Therapy Association’s low-down on Healing Gardens — a helpful primer.

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There’s magic in that there landscape – tap it – unearth it.


my garden feeds me

my garden feeds me

Like many, long have I wished to spread my wings where gardening acumen was concerned. To move from designing space to being informed about the spaces I design (Ode to Thomas Church’s Gardens Are For People). What landscape architect / designer / artist wouldn’t, right? And who doesn’t love school? So, continuing with the Red Bird Design (RBD) 2009 theme (Hope Springs Eternal = HSE), I made a deliberate attempt to figure out  how, where, and most importantly, when. Thus OSU Home Horticulture Extension program:  Metro Master Gardener Program. Hip, hip hooray – I was accepted!  Jazzed about receiving that Sustainable Gardening Handbook too!  Imagine what this will do for my own “restorative landscape”, for the micro-climate of my immediate community, and for my Red Bird Design clients? Imagine what this will do in my conversations with landscape contractors! Move over bacon.   

Desperately seeking master gardening enlightenment? You are in luck, OSU offers a variety of choices to grow in gardening know-how. And yep, they hold true to research evidenced from therapeutic gardens – we need choices; we crave choice in our natural and built environments – for empowerment and a sense of control. For me, I selected the Metro program given most RBD clients take me to the tri-country areas (not all – shout out to Yamhill and Marion County folks). However, other options are abundant. Interested enthusiasts might check out the Salem area (Marion County) resource. Or perhaps you’ve got a day job and need this fancy pants option of “virtual learning” (new online program, talk with Terron.  He’s nice.). 

Best of all, I dig the “give back” component:  service back to the community in the form of a 66-hour internship.  Helping the peoples – yah, always the social servant. 

Class begins on Friday, so look for Master Gardener Mondays on the RBD blog – I’ll share the nitty gritty, down-in-the-dirt tidbits with you.  (Subscribe to this blog through the little RSS feed at the top of the window. If you are a blog newbie, similar to moi, I promise it doesn’t hurt.)

Here comes a lean, green, compassionate, gardening machine.  Reap what you sow, you dig?