Monday, October 27, 2014

My First Rain Chain

Have you ever had a rain chain?  They are amazing.  Originally from Japan, they are utilized instead of a gutter downspout. There are many variations to choose from.  Little cups hang down and rain water drains from cup to cup until it reaches a barrel to collect water or is distributed to the ground where it waters the garden.

In Japan they are very common in households, temples and other buildings. They are a welcome addition to any garden anywhere, and I recently was contacted to try one out.  Clayton from Rain Chain Direct offered me one to experiment with and write about here on my blog.  It was super easy to install and comes with instructions.  I had a light rain and enjoyed watching the water flow down the cups and enjoyed the sound.  I am looking forward to a heavy rain to get another experience.

I had my parents over and my father (so practical, as all fathers are) pointed out I should not keep this in the front yard.  The copper ornament is visible from the street, and its like having money hanging down for everyone to see.  The high price of copper has created a new market and thieves are stealing copper from air conditioning units, plumbing fixtures and anything else made of copper is fair game.  I did not want to have my new feature stolen before I even got the pleasure of using it, so I moved the rain chain to the backyard garden.

Over time the copper will change color and it will age to a beautiful finish.  I am very happy to enhance my garden with this rain chain and advice my readers to purchase one or give as gifts to friends and family.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

American Horticultural Therapy Association Annual Conference 2014

Every year the American Horticultural Therapy Association hosts an amazing conference in North America.  This years event was at the Ace Hotel in Lafayette Hill, a suburb of Philadelphia Pennsylvania.  Horticultural Therapy is the use of plants an plant related materials to improve the mind body and spirit.  It is utilized in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, senior living facilities, childrens programs, drug and alcohol programs, women's eating disorder programs, prisons, ARC facilities, mental health facilities, VA hospitals and rehabilitation centers, Alzheimer Units, Cardiac Units, Intensive care units, Vocational Rehab centers, special education schools and day programs, and so on.

Until we get insurance companies to reimburse us for our expertise, we will not have enough job opportunities for our young students graduating with degrees in horticultural therapy.

We had AHTA members and non members attending from 37 states and 9 different countries.  There were a multitude of speakers and the hardest decision is choosing who to listen to when there were concurrent sessions.  The key note speaker was Stephen Kellert, PhD of Yale.  George Ball the CEO of Burpee Seed Co spoke on Sunday.  Both men are brilliant and understand the value and necessity of Horticultural Therapy.

Yours truly spoke on Saturday.  The discussion was titled "How to start your own Horticultural Therapy Business."  The goal was to motivate others to create a career in Horticultural Therapy and a plan to achieve financial independence as well.  This was a lofty goal for just an hour presentation.  Luckily the session went very well and was well received.

It is always marvelous meeting your peers, learning from each other and making new friends as well.  Next year the conference will be in Portland Oregon at the exemplary of program Teresia Hazen of Legacy Healthcare.  Not to be missed!

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