GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2003 show28
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Show #28

This week we visit Chateau Elan and their incredible spa. As everyone's lives become more hectic the spa industry is returning to its' roots of preventative medicine. Michelle Ufer-Herold is the Spa director and tells us and shows us how the industry is still interested in pampering but incorporating more wellness into the spa. Old standards like facials, massages, manicures, pedicures and hot stone treatments are still popular but now added are wellness programs that include educational seminars, fitness consultations and detoxification wraps.

This is a gardening show, so Dr. Rick wonders how plants are involved in a spa. Many wellness techniques, ranging from aromatherapy, skin care and mental well being, are often made possible with the use of common garden plants. Michelle thinks people will be surprised at the amount of plants and flower extracts used in a spa. This Resort has a wonderful winery, thus they use a lot of grape products. Crushed grape seeds are used for exfoliation and for mud wraps. Roses are used for aesthetic purposes and a number of other treatments. For example, they have a warm milk and Rose petal pedicure. Roses are an ingredient in hand creams and facial products. Lavender is a great ingredient for soothing skin and for moisturizing dry skin. Lavender salt scrubs are popular and effective. Lavender is used in aromatherapy. Even stones are found in spas. Hot stones are used for facials, in massages, in pedicures, they help increase circulation and heated stones can be relaxing.

The Rose, Rosa Scentifolia, in particular, has vibrant colors and great aromas. Roses and Rose products are some of the most widely used in a spa. They have many wellness properties. They are anti viral, they're antiseptic, they have sedative qualities. Rose oil is a great antidepressant, great for lifting the spirits. Rose oil is especially effective in dealing with aging, sensitive or dry skin. For this, the Rose petal is the part most used. The petals go through a distilling process that results in the pure Rose oil used in many treatments, especially Rose oil aromatherapy and body massage. The distillation process is an extremely long, tedious process requiring many, many Rose petals to get even a little bit of oil. Thus, it is not something most would try at home.

The Rose hand treatment begins with a misting of Rose water spray. It has a fantastic smell and sets the mood. Next pure Rose oil, costing about $100 for a small bottle, is mixed with Rose hand cream and body lotion and massaged in. The massage activates certain pressure points, relaxes the muscles and increases circulation. Once the hands have been massaged with Rose oil and hand cream they are wrapped in plastic bags, then placed in warm mittens. This increases circulation, heats the body, opens the pores and allows the body to absorb all the great benefits of the Rose. The mittens stay on for 15-20 minutes to help the product penetrate into the skin. After they're removed there is a little more massaging, then they're ready to go.

We next look at a warm milk and Rose petal pedicure. A sugar, crushed Walnut and oil scrub is used to slough off dead skin cells and soften the feet. The sugar provides a little texture, the Walnut also provides friction and oils. At the end a Rose moisturizer is utilized, leaving a wonderful scent and great feel.

Grape seeds are the latest fruit utilized in the skin care industry. Grape seeds are truly food for the skin. They contain high amounts of antioxidants. Grape seed polifinals go out and hunt free radicals, things like UV light, smoke, pollution, things that accelerate aging. Grape seeds then protect the skin from free radicals. Grape seeds are crushed very fine, almost like sand and mixed with grape seed oil. The skin is massaged with this mixture, it exfoliates the dead skin cells. After applying all over the body, the crush is removed with a grape seed shower gel that contains Lavender, which soothes the skin. Next a grape seed lotion mixed with grape seed oil is applied to hydrate the skin. This is also good for Collagen production, it stimulates Collagen synthesis. Collagen is responsible for keeping skin firm and elastic. By increasing the tone of the skin, it helps combat wrinkles, thus is effective in fighting aging.

Sages, or Salvias, thrive in hot, dry areas. There are about 900 cultivated species but in most areas one will find only about 50-100 different sizes and shapes. It is a member of the Mint family and that means it has square stems and opposite leaves. Their flower is tubular and has two lips, an upper and bottom lip. Some of the flowers may be in whirls or spikes others have tight clusters with many flowers that often appear as one flower. Salvias come in a variety of heights ranging from one or two feet tall to seven or eight feet tall. Salvias are drought tolerant, a good soaking once a month or so will keep them blooming and looking good. They tend to get a little top heavy and fall over. A little support, a cord around the base, something to keep them supported is a good idea. They attract Butterflies, Bees, even Hummingbirds. Occasionally snails or slugs can be a problem but baits work well. The Giant Mexican White Fly in rare cases can be devastating, they can be found underneath the leaves. Aphids early in the season can be a concern but a general insecticide can remedy this problem. Generally Salvias are insect and disease free, however. Salvias are a wonderful addition to a garden, they're water efficient and provide a lot of color.

Lavender, Lavendula Agustifolia is a beautiful herb for the garden and provides a restful presence. When massed it is particularly beautiful. It is often grown for aesthetic purposes but it has many properties that promote wellness. Lavender is antiseptic, it helps heal cuts and wounds. It's antibacterial. It's calming for irritated or inflamed skin and it's great for moisturizing dry skin. It is calming and smells wonderful.

Lavender comes from the word meaning "to wash." Body exfoliations, utilizing Lavender salt and Lavender oils, will remove dead skin. As well, Lavender baths are very relaxing.

A blend of essential oils are burned for aroma therapy throughout the spa. They are very soothing, very calming.

Michelle employs an herbal, linen wrap. Plants, with essential oils, such as Eucalyptus leaf, Rosemary leaf, Allspice and Clove are utilized. Linen sheets are steeped in the mixture, placed in a hydroculator and heated. The client is wrapped in the saturated, hot sheets for detoxification. First, however, the client starts with a warm cup of grape seed antioxidant tea. They are then placed in a steam room, a sauna, for about 5 minutes. This encourages them to sweat, their body core temperature warms. When done they're quickly wrapped in the hot sheets, like a mummy. The body sweats and the pores open. The client stays in this cocoon for about 20 minutes, or as long as comfortable, with a cool rag on the forehead because it gets quite warm. The warmth and herb mixture helps pull toxins out of the system.

Men need to take time and refresh and rejuvenate as much as women. To this end, Lavender is popular in men's facials and found in many men's products. It helps heal cuts and abrasions and is calming for irritated skin. After shave herbal water, after shave lotion and men's facial cremes, all contain Lavender. Lavender is used in the men's luxury facial. First a foaming facial cleanser, with Lavender is used. This cleans off surface impurities. A deep pore cleansing, follows. After that masking is utilized to get some ingredients back into the skin. Then a massage. To finish, an after shave and lotion, with Lavender, is applied. The face feels completely rejuvenated after this process.

Hot stones are one of the oldest, and still, most popular treatments. The hot, smooth stones are heated in a crock pot to about 130 degrees. They are then used in body massages, in facial massages, manicures and pedicures. The hot stones are good for arthritis in the hands, they're great for increasing circulation and for inducing relaxation.

Plants and herbs are important in the garden and as we've learned today, therapeutic, as well. We look at some products that use plants. Calendula is used for skin care, it's a multi-purpose soothing cream for delicate or sensitive skin. Arnica cream is good for bumps, bruises and scars. The Elder from Box Elder is used for lightening skin, skin with problems such as sunspots or pigmentation. Honey cream is a gentle exfoliator, it's good for ingrown hairs in the beard. We've talked about Rose and Lavender and have seen their therapeutic benefits. Dr. Rick thanks Michelle. He is amazed at the number of garden plants that used for healing purposes. Thanks Michelle.

Georgia visits with Katie Brown a landscape designer on the East Coast. We visit a beautiful sea side garden that Katie designed. This is a garden with very strong yellows. Yellow is a sunny color, it looks happy and is great by the water. Katie shows us some tough plants that thrive by the seaside. Yarrow is stunning as it blows with the wind. Scotch Broom is beautiful, particularly with the sun shining on it. Yellow Coreopsis is great because it has a long season, if deadheaded. That is the secret to many of these plants - dead head. For example, once the Coreopsis is finished and the flowers begin to brown, give it a haircut and it will last most of the season. The Yarrow and Coreopsis are tough plants, they even do well in drought conditions.

Another area in this beautiful landscape also picks up the yellow and green theme. Katie didn't want to use traditional plants like Peonies, Roses or Hydrangeas. She thinks of this area as a more sophisticated landscape. Here she planted Yucca, Golden Sword. The idea was to play the yellow Hynoke Cypress against the Green Cryptomeria and reflect both with the Golden Sword Yucca which has a green edge and yellow center.

Katie has placed Evergreens in such a manner as to direct the eye, thus people flow towards the front door, not the back door. The Evergreens also act as a privacy screen. They perform multiple functions and are attractive.

In another part of the landscape there is again a yellow theme. This has textured plants such as Ocuba Japonica, an under used plant in this area, according to Katie. It looks great all winter. Gold Dust, is utilized because it stands out in the sun. Katie likes to repeat plants and colors because that tends to unify a landscape. Thus the Golden Sword Yucca is used again. Yellow Acuba, Yellow Spirea, Golden Sword Yucca, all with yellow, look great with Barbary and Purple Corbels.

Katie has done a wonderful job utilizing yellow throughout the garden. It is a unifying theme, it makes one feel good because it is so sunny. Thank you Katie, your work is stunning.

As relaxing and wonderful as spas are, there is no way to stay there everyday. There are ways to bring a beautiful, relaxing, contemplative space into our backyards. Dr. Rick has some tips on how to create this type garden.

First think about healthy plants. If our plants aren't healthy, if they're not free of disease, they won't succeed. The most important criteria for healthy plants is matching the site. Make sure the plant chosen will succeed in the chosen site. Will the plant succeed in sun, in shade, etc.?

Secondly, think about your passions. What plants make you happy? Make a list of plants that are your favorites and, if possible, plant those in your garden.

Think about plants that appeal to all your senses. For example, select plants that have fragrance. Plants that one can touch like Rosemary or Lavender, provide interest. Some plants may have fragrance but don't look great. You may want to plant those further away, but downwind.

Sound in a garden is very important, incorporate some type of water feature. This could be a slow moving stream, a babbling brook or a still body of water. These seem to slow everything down, it creates a sense of restfulness and peacefulness.

Texture is also important. Textures that are fine, leaves that are small, leaves that are dull colored and leaves that are close together provide a restful feeling. Coarse textures are more uplifting, more energizing.

Color is the most personal, the most immediate, the most emotional quality of plants in our garden. Use cool colors, a lot of purples, greens, blues. They add lushness. Green is the color of meditation and contemplation. If one uses a lot of greens, lots of rich foliage and colors, a peaceful space will be created. It will provide a sense of unity and harmony. One doesn't want a garden to stick out, it should fit in and be harmonious with the surroundings.

Blend the colors, forms and textures of plants in your wellness garden. One way to do that is to utilize a consistent visual theme. To accomplish this, look at the edge where the plants touch the turf. The best approach for a meditative space is a curvilinear theme, something with undulating forms. The bed lines should go in and out very gently. They shouldn't be like a snake in the grass but exhibit bold simple curves. The curvilinear approach creates an informal, very relaxed, pastoral feeling.

Finally, create this space near your house. One doesn't want to be carrying food to all corners of the property. Keep it as close to the normal living space as is possible.

Don't forget about creating spaces like this. As our lives become more hectic, we become more stressed, we need to cocoon, we need a place to get away and enjoy. Often we need some time by ourselves. A garden with these characteristics can be utilized frequently and will provide therapeutic benefits.

Link :: Château Élan Hotels & Resorts

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Photos and story by Monrovia Nursery Company

Lavender is the on-trend plant for gardeners this year. Click here for an article that details a top-tier selection of lavender that ensures success.

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