Friday, September 23, 2011

This Just In! Maryland has the most beautiful minds

A study conducted by a natural products company, Life'sDHA, and the National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA) has concluded that Maryland has the most beautiful minds. Washington DC came in second.

America's Brain Health Index, a state-by-state measure of the nation's brain health, evaluated the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia based on 21 factors including diet, physical health, mental health and social well-being. In addition to providing a ranking for each state, America's Brain Health Index also includes comparative data showing how each state has either progressed, held its own or lost ground in taking measures to improve brain health over the past two years.  

The 2011 America's Brain Health Index shows that the top two brain-healthy geographies in the United States are Maryland (No.1) and the District of Columbia (No. 2). Index comparative data also shows that Maryland has overtaken Washington for the No. 1 spot since 2009. Both Maryland and Washington D.C. are home to two of the Beautiful Minds who are being recognized for their commitment to brain health. View the complete rankings at

I was going to attribute these great rankings to gardening, since we know that gardening is good for your physical health and good for your mental health. But I know that Viriginia has just as many gardeners as DC and Maryland, and Virginia came in at # 22!

Here is a sampling of "brainpower-boosting tips" available on the study's education website,
Diet and nutrition — incorporating a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat and added sugar but rich in brain-enhancing foods such as good fats like DHA omega-3, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, and algal DHA supplements. {And growing your own antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables is fun!}
Physical health — staying physically active for at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week and making wise lifestyle decisions such as getting enough sleep and not smoking. {It's easy to stay physically active for at least 30 minutes a day while gardening!} 
Mental health — continually challenging the brain through activities such as game playing, creative pursuits like gardening, dancing or painting, or learning a new language or skill. 
Social well-being — nurturing human connections and engaging in social activities to give life purpose, such as volunteering. {There are all kinds of ways to volunteer tomorrow, for national public lands day}

If you want to read more about the study, you can direct your beautiful mind to this article.

Autumn Honey-Do List for the Garden

Good morning honey! Happy first day of Autumn. Why don't you take a few minutes to relax while you revisit my post from last year and think about the beautiful time of year that starts today.

And now, put on your gardening gloves because I have a nice little honey-do list for you to get the gardens ship shape for Autumn. (Excerpts from the Maryland Home and Garden Newsletter)
Make more Compost - Fall is a good time to start a compost pile by mixing together spent plants, kitchen scraps, fallen leaves, old mulch and grass clippings. Shred your materials with a lawnmower, string trimmer or machete to speed-up the breakdown process. Keep twigs, branches and other woody materials out of the pile. Related Post

Keep the critters happy - Keep birdbaths cleaned and re-filled. Don’t remove the large seedheads of black-eyed susans, coneflowers, and other perennials for birds to feed on over the winter. Leave hummingbird feeders up through October. Related posts: Autumn in the Garden, Great Time for Backyard Birds

Mulch the leaves - Leaves that fall onto the lawn can be shredded with a lawnmower and left to decompose naturally. Run over the accumulated leaves several times with the mower to break them into small pieces. The decomposing leaves release nutrients and add organic matter to the soil; they will not hurt the turf. Remove deep piles of leaves or turf crowns may smother and die. Related Post

Move some trees - Remember those trees that were really scary because they seemed a little too close to the house during all the wind from hurricane Irene? Now is a good time to plant or transplant trees. 
However, dogwood, tulip poplar, pin oak and evergreens should not be dug up and moved (transplanted) in the fall; these species will usually fail to establish a root system in the fall. Related Post

Deal with the poison ivy - Poison ivy leaves turn red in the fall. Now is a good time to walk around the property and find where all of the poison ivy is. Deal with it as you see fit. Related Post

Cover your bald spots - Bare soil is prone to erosion especially over the winter and should be covered with mulch, groundcovers or turf. Related Post

Dispose of the chemicals - Avoid storing pesticides over the winter in sheds and garages. Cold temperatures can cause these materials to become ineffective. If you have questions about the efficacy of your pesticides call the manufacturer, using the phone number listed on the label. Related Post

When you are done with your other chores, you can. 

Have a beer with the slugs - The three types of slugs found in this area are the spotted garden slug (3-5inches), the tawny garden slug (2-3 inches) and the gray garden slug (2-3 inches). They cause damage (large holes in leaves) to a wide variety of annuals and perennials. Set out shallow saucers of beer or yeast mixed in water and a teaspoon of soap to attract and drown the slugs. ( Read more...)

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