I help people find creative ways to engage with the natural world to generate more peaceful, sustainable, and healthier lives for themselves and future generations. I believe we are an intricate part of nature, and when the environment is healthy and balanced, so are we. Therefore, we have a duty to protect it.
Ever since childhood, I felt compelled to do my part to safeguard nature. What led to this compulsion was suffering from anxiety. The only time I felt truly at peace was when I was in natural spaces, such as by the sea or in the mountains. Being in these places made me realize how important a salubrious environment is for all life on this planet
Two other aspects of my life also contributed to my affiliation with nature. First, I have always loved flowers. As an undergraduate at Millersville University, Pennsylvania, I had a holiday job at a florist where I acquired my design skills. It was a pleasant and imaginative experience, and working creatively with natural materials also helped to alleviate my anxious nature. Second, I was studying anthropology, archaeology, and history for my degree and discovered that people in different societies in the past and present often had close relationships to their natural surroundings which they believed influenced their wellbeing. Being inspired by this, I wrote a PhD at the University of Newcastle (UK) on the history of ancient medicine, which gave me an intimate knowledge of ancient philosophies of the body and nature.
I was an assistant and associate professor and chair of my department of Classical and Archaeological Studies at the University of Kent (UK). As much as I loved my teaching and research, something was missing from my life. I felt powerless in regards to making a significant impact on environmental issues. Most of the work on sustainability is undertaken by scientists, which I am not. Additionally, working in a full-time academic position meant that I had very little opportunity to engage with the wider public about my concerns. Finally, there was little time for creating floral designs. Essentially, I had become unbalanced.
Eventually, however, I found a niche in all of my interests and bring them to a concerned, caring, and creative audience of people who want to engage with nature for both their own and the environment’s wellbeing. Teaching how to create floral designs and other crafts inspired by history—and using sustainable materials in doing so—is the perfect medium for thinking about ways to safeguard our natural world.
I now offer workshops and classes on crafting, floral design, and/or gardening history to promote sustainable practices, with the aims of bringing us closer to nature and creating a sense of calm and wellbeing.
So, why not join me for one of my workshops and bring a sense of balance, health, and happiness into your life and your surroundings?
I have over twenty years’ experience teaching ancient history and have been in and out of the floral profession for over 25 years. I hold a floral design certificate from the Covent Garden Academy of Flowers, London. To see some of my designs have a look at the gallery page of this website.
I have undertaken several outreach projects, including recreating a Roman Garden with the Trust for Thanet Archaeology and a workshop recreating Roman flower crowns with the Canterbury Flower Club, UK. Both of these projects were generously supported by the Institute of Classical Studies, London, Public Engagement Fund. Images from these are also on my gallery page.
I have also published widely in my academic field, including works on healthy landscapes. Two of my most recent studies are
Baker, Patricia 2018. “Identifying the Connection between Roman Conceptions of ‘Pure Air’ and Physical and Mental Health in Pompeian Gardens (c.150 BC–AD 79): a Multi-sensory Approach to Ancient Medicine.” World Archaeology 50 (3): 404-17.
Baker, Patricia 2017. “Viewing Health: Asclepia in their Natural Settings.” Religion in the Roman Empire 3 (2), 143-63.