People-Plant Council News

Linking Horticulture with Human Well-Being Volume 7 Summer 1997

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Issue 2

Plan Now to See Sydney
Are you interested in traveling together at a group rate to the PPC symposium in Sydney? Let me hear from you. If there is enough interest, I’ll put together a group for a significant savings. Diane Relf (Department of Horticulture, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0327; e-mail:

PPC Forms Working Group
The People-Plant Council has recently formed the Working Group for International Collaborative Research. The function of this group will be to facilitate the development of research teams around the world to address shared issues or areas of research under the umbrella of human issues in horticulture. The initial membership consists of individuals affiliated with departments of horticulture or plant sciences who are conducting research to explore perceived and physical response to the maintained environment and to environmental quality, youth development through integration of horticulture in the classroom, horticulture as a therapeutic tool, and similar topics. The first meeting will be held at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, October 2-5, 1997.

International People-Plant Symposium

Towards a New Millennium in People-Plant Relationships
19-22 July, 1998 Sydney, Australia


Members of the working group are:

Grounds for Celebration An International Conference about School Grounds
Grounds for Celebration: An International Conference about School Grounds will be held in Winchester, England, September 21-24, 1997. An aim of this conference is to agree on and adopt a declaration about the international importance of school grounds. For more information, contact Denise Slater, Research and Training Unit, Learning Through Landscapes, P.O. Box 283, Elton, Peterborough, PE8 6SZ, England; Phone: 01832-280659; Fax: 01832-280002; e-mail: kb1163@

Meg Burchett - Sydney, Australia Aino-Maija Evers - Helsinki, Finland Tony Kendle - Reading, England Virginia Lohr - Pullman, Washington, USA Eisuke Matsuo - Hakozaki, Japan Diane Relf - Blacksburg, Virginia, USA Candice Shoemaker - Glencoe, Illinois, USA Woo Kyung Sim - Seoul, Korea Jane Stoneham - Bath, England Ron Woods - Kenthurst, Australia Jayne Zajicek - College Station, Texas, USA Activities of the group will be published in the next newsletter.

ACGA Conference
Take Note! The American Community Garden Association Annual Conference will be held in Indianapolis, September 2428, 1997. Workshops for the 1997 conference are “Growing” Sustainable Programs from the Ground Up, Community Garden Participatory Design Process, The Business of Community Gardening: Developing and Managing Your Community Greening Organization, Getting Your Hands Dirty, plus So You Want to Work in Neighborhoods?! For more information, contact Tom Tyler, Purdue University Cooperative Extension (Phone: 317-848-7351; Fax: 317-8487229; e-mail: or Ben Long, Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati (Phone: 513-221-0991; Fax: 513-221-0961).

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Indoor Plants May Increase Worker Productivity
Pullman, Wash. — Treat that forgotten Boston fern in the corner of your office with a little more respect. A new study at Washington State University shows for the first time that live interior plants may increase worker productivity and reduce stress. The study, published in the Journal of Environmental Horticulture, reports that productivity increased 12 percent when people performed a simple task on a computer in a windowless room with plants compared to workers who performed the same task in the same room without plants. The task was stressful. Blood pressures for both groups rose during the task, but only two points for people tested with plants, while it rose four points for people tested without plants. The average blood pressure for both groups before the test was roughly the same. Additionally, people tested in the presence of plants reported feeling about 10 percent more attentive after the task than those tested without plants. “We have not been worker productivity ginia Lohr, a WSU the effects of plants able to find other studies that document in the presence of live plants,” said Virhorticulturist whose research focuses on on people.

She said other people think that plants may reduce mental fatigue. “One of the things that happens when you suffer mental fatigue is that you no longer are able to make good decisions.” Lohr said one major study found that walking in a garden helps restore a person’s ability to make good decisions. “Plants are not just fluff,” she said. “We have felt, and many people who work with plants intuitively believe, that having plants around us is vital to our well-being.” The study was funded by the American Floral Endowment and the Horticultural Research Institute. (Press Release, Washington State University News, College of Agriculture & Home Economics, Pullman, WA 99164-6244) [Lohr, Virginia L., Caroline H. Pearson-Mims, and Georgia K. Goodwin. 1996. Interior Plants May Improve Worker Productivity and Reduce Stress in a Windowless Environment. Washington State University. Journal of Environmental Horticulture 14(2):97-100.]

Research Abstracts
Lohr, Virginia L. and Caroline H. Pearson-Mims. 1996. Particulate Matter Accumulation on Horizontal Surfaces in Interiors: Influence of Foliage Plants. Washington State University. Atmospheric Environment 30(14):2565-2568
Particulate matter accumulation on horizontal surfaces was measured gravimetrically, at one week intervals, in two interior spaces. Interior plants were added to or removed from the rooms on a random schedule. Particulate matter accumulation was lower in both rooms when plants were present than when plants were absent. The location of particulate matter deposition was unaffected by the presence or absence of plants: collection dishes located near the corners of a room consistently accumulated less particulate matter than dishes in other locations, regardless of treatment. In addition, relative humidity was higher when plants were present.

The WSU study was conducted by Lohr; Caroline PearsonMims, a research technologist; and Georgia Goodwin, a graduate assistant. “Since the 1960s, office planners have claimed that productivity is higher in landscaped offices,” Pearson-Mims said. “It was not clear whether the benefits were from plants or new designs with modern furniture and lighting. We think this study starts to answer that question.” This experiment was conducted in a university computer laboratory with plants present and absent. Ninety-six university students and employees participated. Blood pressure and pulse were measured when participants entered the room, midway through the computer task, and at the task’s completion. Before and after, participants recorded their feelings in response to such statements as “I feel attentive.” At the beginning of the experiment, both groups reported the same level of attentiveness, but those who were tested in the presence of plants reported feeling more attentive after completing the task, which required some concentration. People tested in the absence of plants reported no increase in attentiveness. The productivity task consisted of identifying common symbols that randomly appeared on a computer screen. Participants quickly pressed a key corresponding to each symbol when it appeared. The computer recorded their performance. “There was no difference in number of errors,” Lohr said. “The big difference was reaction time -- how quickly they pressed the correct key when plants were present.” The researchers can’t explain how plants help people relax and perform better. “There are two major theories I’m aware of that could account for this,” Lohr said. “One relates to reduced blood pressure. A number of studies have documented that plants or nature can lower blood pressure. By somehow causing us to be more relaxed, plants help us be more productive and focused.”

Marni Barnes. 1996. The Healing Art of Landscape Architecture in Design for Change: Vision, Value, Community, the 1996 Annual Meeting Proceedings of the American Society of Landscape Architects. ASLA Bookstore, PO Box 753, Waldorf, MD 20604-0753; Phone: 1-800-787-2665.
The sights, sounds, and smells that surround us have a tremendous impact on our emotions. The appearance of a rainbow gives rise to a smile; memories are triggered by fragrances; cleansing and releasing are assisted by a stiff breeze or a plunge into a cool lake. As increasing numbers of people are living in urban and suburban environments, our society is becoming increasingly divorced from its natural surroundings. People are turning to their accessible, designed landscapes to provide the stress reduction and emotional healing that contact with the outdoors brings. By attending to the impact of our surroundings on our emotions, landscape architects can dramatically

increase the therapeutic benefit derived from our environment. To do this effectively, the relationship between our environment and its influence on the process of stress reduction and emotional restoration need to be understood. This research elucidates the connection between emotional restoration and environmental settings specifically chosen by individuals to assist their healing process.

The ITPF Research Committee and Board of Directors encourage you to submit a research proposal for consideration in the 1997-98 fiscal year. Write to the International Turf Producers Foundation, 1855-A Hicks Road, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008; Phone: (847) 705-9898.

Position: Horticultural Therapist
The Chicago Botanic Garden, located 30 miles north of Chicago in Glencoe, seeks a Horticultural Therapist to promote the utilization of horticultural therapy by the social service network and to implement self-reliant, year-round horticultural therapy programs and training in the Chicago region aimed to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities by involvement in horticulture. Candidate must have a degree in Horticultural Therapy or Horticulture or similar program, with additional course work in health care professions including recreational therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and/or nursing; or a degree in recreational therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy or nursing and a minimum of a two-year degree in Horticulture or Horticulture Therapy. Candidate must have current registration with the American Horticultural Therapy Association at the level of HTR or HTM. In addition, certification as OTRN or Recreational Therapist preferred. Candidate must have two years previous experience working with at least two of the following special populations in the therapeutic setting: developmentally disabled, physical disabled, older adults, or psychiatric clients. Candidate must have strong oral and written communication and computer skills. Please submit resume with cover letter to Carol Chaney, Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 60022. EOE.

The International Society of Arboriculture Research Trust announces the John Z. Duling Grant Program. For successful applicants, grant awards will vary depending on the adjudged value of the project to the needs of the arboricultural industry. However, no single award will receive more than $5,000. Please note that funds cannot be used to pay for overhead expenses. Research funded by the Trust must be in keeping with its mission and the Priority Areas and Critical Issues for Research and Technology Transfer: - Ecological Benefits of the Urban Forest - Economic Benefits of the Urban Forest - Innovative Tree-care Techniques and Practices - Urban Tree Genetics - Impact of the Urban Forest on Energy Consumption - Basic Tree Biology For copies of the grant application and information, write to the ISA Research Trust at P.O. Box GG, Savoy, IL 61874. Or you can download it electronically from the Web site: No phone calls please.

10 Timely Tipsheets
Thanks to a grant from the National Tree Trust, the following packet of Citizen Forestry Support System (CFSS) tipsheets is available free for the asking when you call (800) 323-1560 or e-mail Better yet, look under Citizen Forestry Support System on American Forests’ homepage: Most include books, periodicals, and other resources to help you implement the suggestions made. Please allow two weeks for delivery, or request a fax-back if your need is immediate. If, after reading a tipsheet, you’re ready for more help, call again! - Starting a Nonprofit - First Steps - Finding Funding - The Care and Feeding of Volunteers - The Making of Leaders - Raising Money Through Membership - Developing Media Savvy - Avoiding Burnout - How to Run an Effective Meeting - Plan Now - Or Pay Later - Assessing Your Organization
(From Lean & Green, A Resource for Tree Groups, Volume 2 Number 3, Summer 1997)

Russian Roofs Bloom! Small Grants Program Created for Nonprofit Organizations
Eighty St. Petersburg rooftops have sprouted vegetable gardens as a result of CCI’s Rooftop Gardening Project. 1996 saw incredible growth in the project, largely due to the 2,000 visitors who visited CCI’s booth at the spring “City Flowers & Design” exhibition. In recognition of their work, St. Petersburg’s Downtown Gardening Club will represent Russia at the European Support Group on Urban Agriculture (an EU initiative based in the Netherlands). In 1997, the Agricultural Initiative is launching a “small grants” program to improve food security at nonprofit institutions serving the disadvantaged. They are also testing the application of RTG techniques in horticultural therapy and rehabilitation projects. [The Agricultural Initiative Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCI), 3268 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, CA 94115. Phone: 415346-1875; Fax: 415-346-3731; e-mail:; Web site:]

New Books
Horticultural Therapy
The 1998 Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture, “Horticultural Therapy and the Older Adult Population,” is now available from the American Horticultural Therapy Association. Copies may be purchased by members at the discounted price of $15 plus $3 postage and by non-members at the publisher’s price of $25 plus $3 postage. Interested individuals should contact Jane at the AHTA office (301) 948-3010 x16.

Resources Available from PPC
The Role of Horticulture in Human Well-Being and Social Development. Diane Relf, Editor. 1992. Timber Press. 254 pages. $54. People-Plant Relationships: Setting Research Priorities. Joel Flagler and Raymond P. Poincelot, Editors. 1993. Food Products Press. 368 pages. $54. The Healing Dimensions of People-Plant Relations: A Research Symposium. Mark Francis, Patricia Lindsey, and Jay Stone Rice, Editors. 1994. 498 pages. $39.

Prepublication Announcement
Horticulture as Therapy: Principles and Practice, edited by Sharon P. Simpson, PhD, Lecturer and Adjunct Professor, University of Maryland, and Martha C. Straus, HTM, Horticultural Therapy Coordinator, The Forbush School at Sheppard Pratt, Baltimore, Maryland. Horticulture as Therapy establishes, integrates, and communicates a foundation of knowledge for horticultural therapists, health care professionals, horticulturists, students, research scientists, gardeners, and those interested in this special and unique kind of therapy. By reading Horticulture as Therapy, you will see how you can make a difference in the health and well-being of so many people, today and tomorrow. Date available: Fall 1997. Prices: $79.95 hard. ISBN: 1-56022-859-8 (Outside US/Canada/Mexico: $96). Text price (5+ copies): $29.95. Pages: 520 pp with Index. Categories: Agriculture/ Horticulture, Horticultural Therapy, Mental Health.

People-Plant Interaction (1305 citations) and Horticulture Therapy (1184 citations) bibliographies are available on 3.5-inch, DS/HD diskettes containing the citations in WordPerfect 5.0. The material also can be ordered on 3.5-inch diskettes as DOS text files. Updates - return original diskette and $5.

VIDEOTAPES $15 each.
1) Role of Horticulture in Human Well-Being and Social Development reflections of Jules Janick, Charles Lewis, Roger Ulrich, Russ Parson, and Diane Relf. 2) The Art of Rhonda Roland Shearer.

**** All prices include shipping and handling. Make checks payable to Treasurer, Virginia Tech. **** PPC Affiliation and Contributors
The PPC is not a membership organization, rather a link or affiliation between organizations. Affiliation is open to all organizations within the horticulture and social science communities and allied or interested organizations.

Editor: Diane Relf Chair, People-Plant Council Assistant Editor: Melissa Williams The People-Plant Council Newsletter (ISSN 1061-03460) is a quarterly publication of the People-Plant Council. Address correspondence to Dr. Diane Relf, Chair, People-Plant Council, Department of Horticulture, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0327. FAX: 703-231-3083. Telephone: 540-231-6254.

Affiliates of PPC (between 1990-1997) American Society for Horticultural Science Associated Landscape Contractors of America Wholesale Florists and Florist Suppliers of America American Horticultural Therapy Association Society of American Florists American Association of Nurserymen Contributors to PPC (between 1990-1997) Horticulture Research Institute Florida Nurserymen and Growers Association

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University Department of Horticulture Blacksburg Virginia 24061-0327

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