January 15, 2014
Landscape Ontario’s garden will Come Alive at Canada Blooms
The Wentworth design team are, from left, Cameron Trudeau, Tara Galpin, Ric Gould, Andrew Wentworth, Scott Wentworth, Jason Partridge and Terra Wiens.
Editor’s note: Scott Wentworth of the Wentworth Landscape Group, Picton, has volunteered to take on the duties of LO garden designer and construction supervisor at this year’s Canada Blooms. The following explains the background of his design proposal.

There’s been a cultural shift in how our society interacts with the outdoors and nature, and it has had truly life-altering results.   

Obesity, heart disease and diabetes strike Canadians at alarming rates. At the same time, adults and children are spending more time indoors with electronics and less time outdoors exercising in nature. As these unhealthy habits grow, we spend more time indoors involved in passive forms of entertainment. The media regularly reports the impact our increasingly sedentary lifestyle is having on our society.
  • Our children on average spend more than eight hours a day engaged in electronic media through watching television, playing video games, surfing the Internet, listening to music and using social media.
  • Childhood obesity rates have increased 350 per cent since 1976.
  • The percentage of adults who sleep less than six hours a night has risen from three per cent to 30 per cent since 1960.
  • The number of children prescribed anti-depressants has doubled in the past five years.
  • Nearly 60 per cent of Canadians are either overweight or obese.
Recent generations of students have a greater understanding of nature and the environment than any generation before them, yet spend less time in it.  We value and protect that which we understand by participating in it, not just having an academic understanding of it. Probably the most alarming statistic is that The New England Journal of Medicine has reported that, “for the first time in two centuries, the current generation of children in America may have shorter life expectancies than their parents.”

Membership: What’s in it for you?

  • Public relations
  • Lifestyle
  • Construction
  • Horticulture
  • Personal Growth
What we don’t hear in the media is what anyone is doing about it. Landscape Ontario members, the green profession, are naturally positioned to take a leading stewardship position in countering these issues and contributing to the solution to these problems. The idea of our Green for Life messaging was based on collectively delivering this message of “life” benefits to the public.    

Come Alive Outside is a movement started several years ago by Jim Paluch of JP Horizons of Ohio. Its goal is to mobilize the green industry toward providing our clients and communities with the awareness, intent and opportunity to live a healthier lifestyle outside. This message is totally aligned with Landscape Ontario’s Green for Life brand. It communicates why it is so important for children to connect with nature. It focuses on the health benefits our industry provides.  

Our company, Wentworth Landscape Group, Picton, has embraced the Come Alive Outside movement at both a corporate and community level since June of 2011. The results have been substantial in defining the meaningful work we provide our clients, and having a tremendously positive impact on our community.  

In June of 2011, we approached our municipal council to present the statistics of the WHY of Come Alive Outside, and the positive impact this movement could have on our community. As a result, Prince Edward County was the first community in North America to declare itself a Come Alive Outside community. We have since hosted dozens of events, many of which have been focused on what we refer to as the “lost art of unstructured play.”

With the generous contribution of Willowlee Sod Farms of Ameliasburg, we have sodded streets on Canada Day to create a Come Alive Outside play zone. Our events have been many and varied, including everything from soccer marathons, assisting in soap box derbies, sports day, last day of school events, Winter Harbour Fest and Hike for Hospice. With the assistance of community groups and sponsoring companies, we built a fitness trail with 15 pieces of high quality outdoor exercise equipment.

The Come Alive Outside principles have settled deep within our corporate culture, defining the meaningful work we provide for our clients. This moves our designs and installations from the WHAT of building decks, sitting terraces and landscapes for our clients, to providing them with outdoor living areas for their family and friends, creating the awareness, intention and opportunity to live a healthier lifestyle outside. What could be more meaningful than working toward countering the negative health statistics of our society for our clients and communities? We’re working hard to give the children of our clients and communities those five years back to their predicted reduced lifespan.  

This is the opportunity that our place in society offers the members of Landscape Ontario; to provide our clients and communities with the awareness, intent and opportunity to live a healthier lifestyle. This is the meaningful work for every member of our profession, regardless of their roles and responsibilities.

This is the WHY of the Landscape Ontario Green for Life feature garden at Canada Blooms; to educate the public of our profession, and its stewardship position of contributing toward the solutions to the increasingly sedentary lifestyles.

The design team for the garden has created an ambitious design for the show. It will be an experiential display, educating the public to the opportunities to live a healthier lifestyle outside for themselves, their families and their communities. This incorporates detailed structures, hardscape elements and a rich palette of plantings. All of these are set within a playful display that reflects the Canada Blooms theme of Wild!, while reflecting a sense of play and the appealing to the child in all of us.

We invite Landscape Ontario members to assist with both the build, and in helping to raise awareness for the importance of outdoor living. The message is completely aligned with the LO Green for Life brand. It offers one more profound reason why communities should invest in green infrastructure. If interested, please contact Sally Harvey at sharvey@landscapeontario.com.