|Plants in my bedroom including resting orchids|
Every spring when all chance of a late frost has passed us by, I take almost all my house plants outside for the summer. Only my orchids remain inside and a few other plants I keep inside so it won’t look too bare. Orchids that are still blooming remain downstairs, and orchids no longer blooming go to their rest home upstairs in my bedroom by the east windows until they are ready to bloom again the following winter.
|The front window in my library with my new orchid in front|
A few weeks ago I started bringing in my house plants. I had a lot of house plants to bring in and find places for around the house. In didn’t help that my daughter-in-law was going to pitch four huge beautiful hanging ferns because she thinks they’re too messy so I adopted those abandoned ferns. But where to put them was a problem. I already had two healthy although smaller ferns, and one that looks rather pathetic. Just like I can’t kill anything other than mosquitoes, flies, slugs, or Japanese beetles, I have a hard time murdering house plants, too. Some of the plants in pots are getting quite large, heavy, and awkward to carry. Well, I got them all in including two hanging baskets of fuscias which I put on top of the large bird cage. Then I decided that one of the matching pots on pedestals next to the bench beside the sidewalk was too beautiful to leave out for the frost to kill the impatiens, lobelia and a vine that had filled in. So I hauled it into the house to place in front of the laundry room window near the bird cages. I considered myself finished now, until I looked at various geraniums blooming. Such cheerful colors and they’ve been known to bloom almost all winter in pots so I put some in long planters that would fit in several spaces if I jammed other plants together. Now I was done and could relax and enjoy my indoor tropical garden. I wouldn’t be tempted by any other plants, I told myself. I’d even skip any poinsettias this December.
|The front window in my living room.|
Yeah right! This past Saturday my sister Elaine’s good friend, Joan, took us along with their friend Sue, to visit Grace Meadows, a lovely 90 year old woman in Lewisville. Grace has lived almost her whole life in what was once a brick schoolhouse. All around her home are lovely gardens she manages herself with only the help of a son, who comes to mow the extensive grounds. True, most of the plants are done blooming after the frost, but some were still blooming and the bones of the garden as well as little clever additions allowed us to see how beautiful the garden would be when everything was blooming.
|Fuchsias on top of doves' cage next to Pavarotti's cage.|
What really impressed us were the two greenhouses attached to the side of her house with tables and shelves full of clivias and exotic orchids called Cymbidium orchids much more expensive than the cheap ones I buy at Aldi’s or Home Depot. She also had huge pots of geraniums blooming as well as a lemon tree with three green lemons on it and many other plants, too. But most of the greenhouses were devoted to the orchids and clivias. She was willing to sell some of her plants to us because she has so many of them. I bought a clivia and one of the orchids called Sunset. She also gave me a small clivia that won’t bloom for three or four years, but the older one and the orchid should bloom for me in March or maybe earlier.
|Plants in window in upstairs hall|
Grace invited us in, and served us coffee or tea and fresh baked apple dumplings with vanilla ice cream. We asked her lots of questions about plants and her life which she shared with us. When someone mentioned I’m a writer, ( I mentioned I’d love to use her name for a character in a future book.) she got very interested and brought out two thick three-ring binders with long lists on each of the pages with the titles of books, the authors, and a brief synopsis of each book. Although she’s an eclectic reader, she loves mysteries and had the whole series of specific writers she’s read and enjoyed like Dick Francis and others. Although her eyesight is too poor to drive anymore, she can still read and every week her son stops at the library and brings at least three new books home for her to read.
We left with promises to be back in the spring to visit with her and see her gardens, and I promised a signed copy of my first book which pleased her very much. My only regret is that I forgot to bring my camera with me that day.
So now I had three more plants to fit in. Okay, I guess I’m a hoarder not only of books but plants. I just can’t seem to resist either one. So rationalizing my addictions, as I do, I remembered having house plants actually makes a house healthier. So to prove it to others that I’m filling my house with plants for a healthier life; I went online to get the facts to post. There were so many links to the health effects of house plants and lots of them were repeating the same facts so I’m going to just post “15 Fabulous Health Benefits of House Plants” by Leslie (no last name given) at: www.mastersinhealthcare.com/blog/2011/15-fabulous-health-benefits-of-house-plants/
1. One. Plants can help fight colds: Indoor plants have been shown to reduce cold-related illnesses by more than 30%. This is due to their effects of increasing humidity levels and decreasing dust.
Two: Plants can remove airborne contaminants: We breathe the same air again and again, potentially inhaling harmful substances that are trapped inside. Indoor plants can help to remove pollutants including VOCs that cause headaches, nausea, and more.
Three: Plants can stop your headaches: Filling your home with plants can decrease or eliminate headaches. With plants, you’re much less likely to be breathing the kind of stuffy, stale air that contributes to headaches.
Four: Plants can make you happy: House plants can contribute to a feeling of well-being, making you calmer and more optimistic. Studies have shown that patients who face a garden view in their hospital rooms often recover more quickly than those facing a wall.
Five: Plants can improve your mental health: Caring for a living thing can help when you’re depressed or lonely, giving you a purpose in life.
Six: Plants can decrease your blood pressure: People with plants in their homes have less stress, and plants have been known to contribute to lower blood pressure.
sEVEN: Plants can reduce carbon dioxide: During photosynthesis, plants draw carbon dioxide from the air. Removing this substance can help prevent drowsiness from elevated levels.
Eight: Plants can offer treatment: Some indoor plants, like aloe, can be applied to skin and offer pain relief.
Nine: Plants can prevent allergies: Exposing children to allergens such as plants early in life can help them build a tolerance and immunity to the allergen. It works like a custom allergy shot, naturally.
Ten: Plants can negate cigarette smoke: If you are a smoker or live with one, a plant may help you remove the airborne chemicals from cigarettes. In particular, the Peace Lily is a good choice for this health benefit.
1 Eleven: Plants can make your brain work better: Potted plants and flowers can improve your idea generation, mood, and more.
Twelve:. Plants provide clean air: In addition to filtering chemicals, plants also put out clean air, improving the air quality around them.
Thirteen: Plants can clear congestion: Eucalyptus in particular can help clear phlegm and congestion from you system. In fact, eucalyptus is often found in congestion remedies.
1 Fourteen: Plants are natural humidifiers: Instead of buying a humidifier machine to soften the air, just bring in a plant or two.
Fifteen: Plants can improve your sleep: Gerbera daisies give off oxygen at night. Filling a vase in your bedroom with these flowers can improve your night’s rest.
|A few plants beside my bed.|
Other articles listed certain house plants that were especially good; some I have, some I don’t. I do have aloe, but I’ve never used it for pain relief. I almost never get a cold or get sick at all. I can’t remember the last time I had one. Even when teaching third graders, I seldom got one. Now I’m crediting that to the house plants I always have in my house. My blood pressure is fine. I rarely get headaches, either. I love the idea house plants make your brain work better. I need all the help I can get with that. And yes plants make me happy, especially during the gloomy, dark days of winter. As for having something to take care of helping you fight off loneliness and depression, pets do the same thing, but even without plants and pets, I’m rarely lonely or depressed. In fact, I tend towards being optimistic by nature. But then, maybe it’s because of a super abundance of house plants. Who knows?
Do you have house plants?