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{Making Everyday Life an Art}

Want to know the common name of a plant? I’m your girl. How about instructions on care & feeding? Hand-raised.

In my case, a green thumb is really just code for flora infatuation. And I’m only one macramé hanger away from becoming the Crazy Plant Lady.

 

Since my soul is nourished by my passion for plants, I’m always on the lookout for ways to add more greenery per square foot.  To some, I may have taken the advice I once heard — to have something "alive" in every room — a bit too far.

 

I can’t seem to help myself. I love the way plants create wild vignettes in the nooks & crannies of a home.

 

Zeal

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When Nature Pulls a Fast One

In addition to their obvious aesthetic beauty, it’s been proven that houseplants offer psychological & restorative benefits. To quote Martha Beck, they are “cheery emerald life forms that brighten my mood each time I enter their space.” (Wish I said it.)

 

And if that doesn’t impress you enough, they also increase indoor air quality by magnanimously returning each wisp of carbon dioxide expelled from our lungs with their own homemade oxygen.

 

Through photosynthesis, they scrub significant amounts of undesirable gases out of the air. So much so, that NASA plans to adorn future space stations with them. In case you need more convincing researchers have found that houseplants in homes, hospitals & workplaces:

 

     • Reduce stress

     • Improve concentration

     • Increase productivity

     • Boost creativity

     • Speed post-surgery recovery

 

I can attest first hand to their creativity-boosting benefits. When I spend time puttering with my plants, words & ideas invariably flow.

 

 

Add a betta fish to the mix & I’m over the moon. When my slightly iridescent, cobalt blue crown tail male, Neptune, flares his large, flowing fins while dodging back & forth between aquatic plants, he never fails to delight. (And lower my blood pressure—so I’m told).

 

Sometimes I just stare at Moby (yep, we’re a two-fish family) as he lazily naps on top of a leaf without a care in the world.

 

Told ya.

I’m ca-ra-zee.

 

In fact, I’m so taken with the beauty of combining betta fish with their brilliant colors & willowy fins together with funky aquatic plants in unique containers that I’ve had recurrent dreams that I’m a proprietor of a quaint little shop lined with shelves chockablock full of them.

 

Though charmed by the idea, I settle for offering aquariums as housewarming presents as often as I can.

And then there’s the room with a bloom.

 

Flowers that flaunt: Who can resist their fleeting pleasures?

 

I like the idea of making every living thing around me bloom.

 

And few things brighten a home quite like flower power.

 

Sunny is the daffodil & romantic is the rose, but my heart goes staccato while viewing the showiest of them all— the incomparable orchid.

 

My appreciation for the orchid’s sublime exoticism goes beyond merely growing them to the walls of my living space which have all but disappeared behind a gallery of orchid photos.

The stanhopea orchid that hangs over my writing space (& the inspiration for this post)

Tasked with getting my orchids to bloom in Denver’s semi-arid climate has been a challenging but not impossible endeavor.

This is my staghorn fern (and tongue-in-cheek nod to mounted antlers).

 

Ain't she a beaut?

 

I “feed” it chopped up banana peels, & in the event of a fire, I’d grab it on my way out the door.

 

 

Every spring, an Asian expat friend of mine waxes wistfully poetic about a lovely Japanese tradition called hanami which, literally translated, means flower viewing. Hanami parties, especially during cherry blossom season, are a popular pastime in Japan.

 

So why not take a cue from the Japanese & throw our own everyday hanami parties?

 

Now it may be that some of you are too busy raising babies (or careers or ....) to raise plants. As in, you can't take-one-more-thing added to the mix. I feel ya. But perhaps that's all the more reason to nourish your souls with a little bit of the wild.

 

"Beauty awakens the soul to act."     -Dante Alighieri

 

So why not splurge on an orchid, once rare, yet now ubiquitous — even in supermarkets, to create an instant spa-like feel in your home? When you figure in that a phalaenopsis generally blooms for up to 3 months, they’re less expensive than shorter-lived cut flowers.

 

Or force amaryllis or narcissus bulbs to bloom for a little spring in the monochromatic dead of winter for some flower therapy?

There's nothing quite like the thrill you get when what you put in the soil rises up to greet you.

 

Or create a one-of-a-kind aquarium & derive inordinate satisfaction while flashing a mirror in front of your betta? Confusing his mirror image for another fish, with the intention to intimidate the intruder, the crown-tail male will flare his opercula (gill covers) impressively, delighting you & your kids.

Indulging our senses with little joys makes everyday life an art.

 

 

What's your favorite way to hanami?

 

 

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Get your happiness on here:

It's Happy in Here (TM) (Series) |  How to Be Happy:  22 Tips to Everyday Bliss by Cindy O'Krepki

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