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New book focus on gardening for Veterans

Peter Prakke was nine years old when Allied soldiers helped to liberate his small Dutch town, along with the rest of the Netherlands, during the Second World War. Prakke’s interaction with these soldiers was something he never forgot.

Prakke, a horticulturist, has given back to the men in and women in uniform in multiple ways over the years, and his latest project is writing a Veterans Gardening Guide.

The Veterans Gardening Guide is written to honour the brave and courageous veterans of Canada and the U.S.

“There are many other things I have done to really promote the people who fought for our freedom, and that’s the reason I started the Veterans Gardening Guide,” said Prakke.

An award-winning horticulturist, Prakke’s focus is allergy-free gardening something he advocates for in his new guide. The Veterans Gardening Guide is expected to have detailed information for new and experienced gardeners, all with a focus on allergy-free plants.

Using the Ogren Plant Allergy Scale (OPALS®) created by Thomas Ogren, horticulturist, and allergy researcher, the guide lists plant selections along with their OPALS ranking for their potential to cause allergy and asthma reactions.

“The main part is to heal people as much as possible with plants and chose the rights plants in the garden, or balcony, or wherever it is,” explained Prakke.

The guide will contain 21 chapters on relevant gardening topics pertaining to outdoor and indoor planting. Besides covering allergy-free plants, the guide will elaborate on topics like attracting birds to your gardens, tree planting for future generations, how to protect plants during the winter, cleaning indoor air with plants and much more.

Prakke strongly believes that gardening can help those with Operational Stress Injuries such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“They need training a nice quiet atmosphere with plants to grow,” said Prakke.

The book also contains a special chapter on honouring veterans through the Bravery Park initiative, originated by Prakke in 2009 to honour the fallen heroes of Canada. The first park was created in Orangeville, ON, with the second located in Prince George, B.C..

The concept of Bravery Parks originated after Prakke was approached by Valerie McGrady, mother of fallen soldier Cpl. Matthew McCully. Bravery Parks are a living tribute to Canada’s fallen soldiers, created with the use of allergy-free plants, that allow families a place to remember and pay tribute to their loved ones.

The Veterans Gardening Guide provides information on how readers can start a Bravery Park in their community.

The Veterans Gardening Guide will be published this fall.

For more information about Peter Prakke, Bravery Park or the Veterans Gardening Guide visit his website.

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