Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Going Green

This week I’m short on time and long on list of things to do. I wanted to give you a fast, simple idea in case you are a busy woman as am I but still love to make your home feel new and exciting. Going green can mean so many different things to many different people. For the sake of today’s blog, it relates to a fast easy way to green up your house and give it some life quickly and easily. People that know me know I love anything growing be it houseplants, seeds, bulbs, bushes, trees, etc. They also know if anybody can grow it or save a victim of another black thumb, it’s me. Apparently this is a trait I inherited from both of my Grandmothers.

I have had plants as long as I can remember. I have also taken care of plants as long as I could walk. My mom has always called me her “flower child” because I would pick anything pretty I could get my hands on including the neighbors’ tulips and daffodils. Plants really do not need to be intimidating. They make wonderful gifts (shhhh sometimes even better than flowers) and can freshen up a stale house quickly. They work to clean our homes of toxins (including ammonia, benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene), add humidity and oxygen to our air, add color and texture to any room while also helping to lower our blood pressure, increasing our serenity quotient, elevating mood and reducing stress. Some cultures even believe certain types of house plants can even bring money and success to your home. VOC’s have nothing on houseplants!!

A fast easy way to make a room feel alive and fresh is to add a couple of plants. I do have some of my favorites that are lower maintenance, inexpensive and a beautiful addition to any room. My personal favorites include Peace Lily, Shamrock plants, Aloe Vera, Philodendron, Christmas cactus, Spider plants, Polka dot plants, Fuchsia, Boston fern and many of them remind of people I love so I like to surround myself with them. I think a small plant is also a great Hostess gift and it’s something that will hopefully survive long after any bottle of wine has been drunk.

As I said before my love of plants extends from my Grandmas and I have plant memories of each of them which helps me to keep their memory fresh in my mind. My Paternal Grandmother had a huge Boston fern that she put on a pedestal and it flourished in her living room by the front window. Her plants were liked beloved members of the family who traveled back and forth between her two houses with her. Fuchsia plants hung all over her deck at her house on the water and each Spring as I explore the local garden center I’m always reminded of her when I see them. They were bright pops of color hung high in the air. I can remember digging in the dirt with her repotting plants and planting flowers.

My Maternal Grandmother was a green thumb in her own right. She had a 12 foot wide bow window full of Violets. I can’t walk past the plant section of the Grocery Store without thinking of my Gram when I see all the tiny pots of Violets. She was also my Grandma who made me the proud owner of a Christmas cactus that had been passed down by the women of my family for over 150 years. It had been my Great-Great Grandmother’s plant to start and now I will someday be able to pass a slip of the same plant to my daughter too.

If you’re using plants to decorate then you can place them near windows because it helps the room feel more spacious and it also helps to bring the outside in by visually extending the foliage. Hanging plants will help low ceilings feel higher and draw the eye up to other focal points in your rooms. They help absorb sound in larger rooms or ones with hard surface flooring like tile and hardwoods. House plants can help balance accent colors. They can also be an avenue for adding a bit more of the accent color and texture simply by varying the types, textures and colors of pots in which they’re planted.

Don’t be afraid you’ll kill house plants; start out slow with a couple of easy to maintain types then branch out. Get a book about plant care, go online or buy plants from a local florist who should be able to provide care instructions for your purchases. You also must promise me you will keep them dusted since it makes it difficult for them to do their jobs if covered in dust. You can buy products like leaf shine, slow release fertilizers (try organic and non-toxic if you have kids and pets) and all sorts of other fun stuff to help care for your plants. I read a time-saving article once that said to plant maintenance while you are chatting on the phone to a friend and it actually does make quick work of it!

Happy Decorating!


Posted by Mary of Illuminate, Decorate and Fascinate

Featured weekly on Pink Lemonade Online Magazine

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