The look and sound of running water calms nerves and heals spirits. But if you’ve included a water feature in your landscaping, you probably know how aggravating running water can be.
My blood pressure climbs just thinking about the hours I’ve tended my concrete garden fountain — a fluted pedestal topped with a clamshell bowl. In winter, I lug the bowl inside or risk it cracking from the cold. In spring, I repair nicks with ribbons of silicone that never really work. In summer, I plug and unplug the fountain’s electric pump, run in and out adjusting the spray, and fill and refill the bowl.
Calming, this is not.
But balance has returned now that I’ve found Nature’s Foundry’s Universal Solar Pump Kit, a plastic insert that turns any 2-inch-deep bowl into a graceful fountain of soothing, healing water. Forget lugging concrete bowls: Any old pasta or salad bowl sitting in the garden will do.
The pump ($60-$90) is juiced by solar cells. Just set it into any deep bowl, fill ‘er up, and place in full sun. No extension cords or rubber tubes, no concrete, no refilling every hour. Just a solar pump that hums softly and sends water out a tube. The kit comes with several caps that create different water patterns.
As I write, I’m watching water fall into an old fruit bowl I’ve placed in my garden. Oh wait, here comes a cloud and off goes the pump. And nowwwwww the cloud’s floated by and the fountain is humming again. What the fountain lacks in non-stop flow, it gains in ease.
I love watching the show — the water singing and dancing, the robins preening and bathing in the cool cascade.
It turns out, falling water is not just a delight, it’s a natural boost to our bodies and minds, says Mary Gregerson, an environmental health psychologist who uses running water as a therapeutic tool to help depressed patients.
“Normal people can get benefits from free-flowing water, too,” she says.
Gregerson’s not talking about drip, drip, dripping water, which will drive you crazy. She’s talking about running water from a fountain or waterfall that revives dead air with health-promoting negative ions. According to Gregerson, these ions:
- Increase alertness, productivity, and concentration
- Boost immune reactions to colds and flu
- Reduce the severity of asthma attacks and increase lung capacity
- Relieve migraines and hay fever
The LifeTree Healing and Teaching Center in Ontario uses sound therapy, including the sound of fountain water, to heal stressed-out clients.
“Everyday we disconnect from nature,” Begovits says. “But ultimately, we are nature. Water shuts off the mind. It’s a form of meditation.”
Do you have a water feature in your garden? Do you love it? Or are you a slave to it?