Photo: Gregory Han

Secrets to Share: “Until now, most anyone seeking in-depth guidance from Japanese master gardeners had to travel to Japan. That requires time, money, Japanese language skills, and finding a master under whom to work. Hands and Heart teaches Japanese aesthetics, garden history and design, stone selection and placement, Japanese tool use, and pruning. Participants also engage in a morning tea ceremony to understand a Japanese garden’s cultural underpinnings and observe how Japanese garden masters behave. Kazuo Mitsuhashi, a Tokyo native and a tea garden craftsman for more than 40 years, says, “I hope students learn not just the material we teach but who we are as Japanese people and how we present ourselves, in ways that can lead to their own practice in the garden.”

What Should Grow in a Vacant Lot?: “Some 14,000 vacant lots pockmark the city of Baltimore, where decades of population decline have left some blocks nearly abandoned…The idea behind Swan’s wildflower experiment is to help the city restore some biodiversity and reduce polluted run-off by converting these swaths of fallow land into temporary prairies while they await—hopefully—the return of new construction.”

The Life and Death of Nigel, the World’s Loneliest Seabird: “The story of a lonely seabird named Nigel who tried to woo a mate that had a heart of stone and died on an uninhabited island off New Zealand has captivated many on social media.”

An Urgent Crisis of Leadership, Climate, and Water is Unfolding in South Africa: “Cape Town is headed for unknown territory. After years of drought, the city of 4 million on the Western Cape of South Africa is facing an unprecedented disaster: Unless a major rainstorm occurs, officials are predicting that on or around April 12 the city’s water supply will run dry. After that, most residents will have to stand in line at designated areas to get their rations of water.”

Japanese gardens can calm you, kids, prisoners – Lessons on Zen-style ‘Visionary Landscapes’:“His vision of creating landscapes that give restorative experiences resonates perfectly with our mission” and the belief that gardens are not a luxury for the fortunate few, she says. “Connecting with something beautiful and natural is a fundamental need for human beings.”

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