ON THE SHELF: BRING THE OUTSIDE INNovember 2, 2016
Fill up your home with little green friends this winter. Author of Bring the Outside In, Val Bradley shows you how to create an indoor greenhouse. Here are her top tips for creating a rural paradise in your own home…
1. They improve the air
Respiration, the process by which plants “breathe”, is the opposite of our own, so plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and give off oxygen. This improves the environment at home or at work, but – more importantly – many plants also absorb harmful chemicals given off by furnishings and office equipment. One of the best plants for this is the peace lily (Spathiphyllum), which provides a display of stunning white flowers into the bargain.
2. They boost your mood
Flowering plants improve our mood and a pretty floral display is always welcoming, whether it’s a bowl of spring bulbs on the windowsill or an exotic orchid enjoying the steamy atmosphere of a kitchen or bathroom. Flowering climbers are great wound around an attractive frame and positioned near your favourite chair where you can appreciate the natural fragrance – so much better than anything out of a dispenser.
3. You can grow your own food
Nothing tastes as good as leaves or fruit picked straight from the plant while the taste is at its best and they are packed with oils, vitamins and flavour. You can grow herbs, salad leaves, tomatoes, chillies and even citrus fruits like oranges and lemons if you have the right spot. A well-lit windowsill is ideal and all you have to do is remember to water and feed the plants to get a tasty reward.
4. Plant can enhance your décor
Plants come in all different shapes, sizes and colours, so you can choose one to suit your own situation. Yes, you can have green leaves great and small, but what about silver, gold or two-tone leaves? If you have a plain wall or cupboard to disguise, why not drape a leafy trailing plant over it? Use a large plant to divide a room or screen part of it. Place an attractive bowl or terrarium on a table where it acts as a living, changing ornament.
5. They’re easier than you think
Start simple, with a small, easy plant like a peace lily that will grow along with your confidence. Remember that a plant in a pot is entirely dependent on you for everything it needs to grow, like water and food, but as long as you provide these and repot it when it needs to get bigger, you’ll succeed. As you get to know what your first plant needs, you’ll soon find yourself getting it a companion. Plants are addictive!
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