Shawna Coronado – The Wellness Garden (2017, Cool Springs Press, an imprint of Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc., Minnesota)
I actually wrote an article about this topic for Herb Quarterly magazine this year (“Designing a Wellness Garden,” Fall 2017), but of course, my measly two thousand words doesn’t even come close to encapsulating all of the immense detail and information Shawna Coronado has gathered for her book The Wellness Garden: Grow, Eat, and Walk Your Way to Better Health. I hugely enjoyed researching what are sometimes termed “welltality” gardens for my article – there are many facets to these types of designs, where healing, rejuvenation, and healthy maintenance of the whole body and mind is emphasized.
Shawna Coronado’s fight against her own chronic illness and pain was the inspiration behind The Wellness Garden; despite suffering from osteoarthritis, she didn’t stop gardening when the pain became too much. She realized the benefits of being outdoors, of keeping active, and of tending and harvesting her own healthy food crops – and the point of her book is to encourage others to turn to (or keep on!) gardening as a way to cope and heal and stay fit and focused (and more positive!) in the face of illnesses such as arthritis and depression. Gorgeously presented, thorough (and thoughtful) research, and meaningful, practical solutions make The Wellness Garden a stand-out: Coronado covers everything from fragrance/sensory and therapeutic garden designs, to selecting and growing nutrient- and vitamin-packed edibles (including tips for composting and boosting soil health), and choosing and using ergonomic, safe, and appropriate garden tools that don’t stress the body. The second part of the book is specifically devoted to fitness: walking outdoors, and yoga practice (as well as breathing exercises), meant to be undertaken in the garden. Frequent interaction with nature is key, as there is no doubt about the benefits of being outdoors and the way it elevates mood and well-being. This valuable book will inspire you to get out there and enjoy your garden even more!
*Quarto Publishing generously provided me with a review copy of The Wellness Garden, but as always, my opinions are 100 percent my own.