Gardens: Greening Machines

An on-site garden can reduce your spa's carbon footprint!

Roses are red, violets are blue, but what color does your day spa turn when you grow an on-site garden? Well, greener apparently! That’s right; when we were putting together February’s Green Scene (“Homegrown Specialties”, page 36), we learned so many sustainability-boosting and money-saving benefits of growing that we compiled our favorites into a list below. Don’t have room for a garden? Not to worry. You can reap many of these eco-perks simply by planting in small containers on windowsills and balconies.

1. They provide serene, tranquil environments for guests to enjoy before and after treatments. Spending time in the presence of nature supplies proven health benefits, so gardens stand further your spa’s mission of easing the stresses of visitors’ and staff members’ everyday lives.

2. Fruits and herbs can infuse your spa water. Citrus plants, cucumbers, mints and berries grown on-site translate to easily-prepared, hydrating refreshments. You can also serve them in your lounge as fresh snacks.

3. Freshly picked homegrown specialties enhance soaks and footbaths. Think lavender, rosemary and hot water.

4. You can naturally customize facials and other treatments, based on clients’ skin types. According to Geri Miller, master gardener and owner of Home Grown Edible Landscapes (homegrownediblelandscapes.com) in Manhattan Beach, California, rosemary and mint carry beneficial properties for oily/acne-prone skin, chamomile soothes sensitive dermis, comfrey hydrates dry skin and marjoram invigorates dull, lifeless complexions. Start with a base cream mask and incorporate these ingredients accordingly, or let clients modify the blends according to their preferred plants and fragrances.

5. Gardens can serve as fresh-air treatment areas. A simple cabana or portable treatment table and a fair-weather day make for an incredible massage or scrub upgrade.

6. You can grow flowers to decorate your reception, treatment and relaxation areas. This has saved several spa owners thousands of dollars annually.

7. Homegrown herbs make compresses more soothing. Miller recommends crushing lemon balm into a towel and running it under hot water to create an aromatic facial towel. Lavender, mint and rosemary can easily be employed as well.

8. You can create signature products for your spa using garden ingredients. Simply extract the oil from herbs, distill them and use to enhance oils and creams.

Have you introduced your spa to your green thumb? We’d love to hear about any additional horticultural tips. Write to koreilly@creativeage.com.