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Archive for July, 2012

I hope you all are aware that plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen as part of their photosynthesis. Researchers have also found that many common houseplants absorb benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene, as well.

To make this whole process easier to understand for those folks new to plants, instead of talking about “photosynthesis” and the process involved , it is now called “air scrubbing”.  Hmmm…  Does that do it for you?

But, it DOES make all kinds of sense.  We are so very concerned about rain forests being destroyed.  It’s not only about birds, bugs, animals and insects that either are on, or are about to be listed on, endangered lists.

Yes, rain forests all over the world are threatened.  Those forests “scrub” the very air we breathe.  They absorb the horrible, harmful gases we produce and scrub them, creating nice, fresh oxygen!

Here’s where your houseplants come in.  It has been found (by NASA, no less)that houseplants help fight pollution indoors.  They are able to deal with a lot of nasty stuff we create inside every day.

Think of all the chemicals we use daily.  Let’s start with the bathroom.  Think about ammonia, Clorox, toilet bowl cleaners, deodorizers, the list goes on.  They all create fumes that are not good for us.

Then let’s go on to the bedroom.  How about dry cleaning of clothing, drapes, bed spreads, etc?  Do you use soaps with aroma’s?  Hmm…  Guess what?

Then shall we head to the kitchen?  Talk about cleaning products.  Or how about window cleaners, carpet cleaners, waxes for our furniture.  Gotten any new furniture lately?  I’m sure you were aware that when you walk into the room, you are probably aware of the fact that a new piece of furniture has been added.  You don’t need your eyes, your nose tells you.

This is complicated by the fact that we are all trying to make our homes airtight in order to  save on energy.  The best way to get fresh air into the house is to open the windows, but when it’s either 95 degrees, or 20 degrees outside, we aren’t so anxious to open those windows for either comfort or use of energy.

The bottom line here, is that our homes are full of pollution that we create all by ourselves.  Why shouldn’t we try to clean up that air?  It’s a wonderful way to help keep our families healthy!

Stay tuned!  I’m going to add much more to this “theory”!

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They are doing VERY well!  I’m thrilled.  Of course it’s only been a couple of weeks since I got those 4 little plants.

How did I pick what I picked?  I looked for, and chose, ONLY those plants that needed their soil to dry out before watering again.  The plants I got are:

Aglaonema Silver Queen.  It has beautiful leaves and I have it tucked into the bedroom where the light is gentle.  We only have light from the east, so I think it will be happy there!

Zygocactus truncatus which is the plant we call the Christmas Cactus.  I mailed  cuttings of this from New Hampshire.  The cuttings are from my mother’s Christmas Cactus.  I am 76, so you can imagine how old this plant was.  She had it for at least 20 years before she died; and I had it an additional 20 years.  What I have now are the babies from that plant!   So, it’s not entirely new, but let me tell you that those little cuttings are just flourishing in the light and climate they have inherited!

Fittonia argyroneura nana.  It has the most distinctive leaves.  It is a very small plant but is hard to miss because of those beautiful leaf designs.

Scindapusus (Pothos) Marble Queen.  This one is sitting in direct, eastern sun in the living room.  It’s very attractive.  The leaves are striking (at least to me!)

I got the Z. pendula purpusii.  It is a beautiful foliage plant.  It’s leaves are deep green and purple.  I have it on a high shelf in the living room so it will cascade downward.  It is also enjoying the indirect eastern sun in the living room.

I was given an orchid by my daughter, which brightens up my coffee table in the living room.  It has tiny blooms on a spray.  I’m not quite sure what kind it is.  I need to do a bit of research on that.

As you can see, if you do a little further study on all of these plants, I only need to water once a week, if that.  I also use a siphoning system that I will use whenever I go on trips, so I don’t need to worry about their care.  This system allows the plants to take only what they need in the way of water!

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HOUSE PLANTS

OK, so I went out and bought some indoor plants yesterday.  Four of them.  I’m hoping I can keep them alive.

I’ve always been an outdoor gardener…  I think part of the reason for that is all my indoor plants seem to die.  I have lived in five houses before moving into this apartment.  In ONE of them, I could grow anything!  But, in the rest, forget it.  They all died.  Except for the house in Southern California.  Everything flourished there, whether in or out!

When we left New Hampshire for Washington State, I sent a few cuttings from my mother’s Christmas Cactus.  I figured they’d just die, and I was sad about that.  It was impossible to send the whole plant out.  They can’t cross state lines!

Anyway, I planted those five little stems, and they have gone absolutely WILD!  What did I do?  Or what DIDN’T I do?  The only thing I can imagine is that the light is right.  So, I”m hopeful.

In the meantime, I’m trying to find some websites that can help me become a better (indoor) gardener.  For outdoor stuff there’s the Master Gardener program which I accomplished in both Connecticut and New Hampshire.  But they don’t have such a thing for indoor gardening…  At least not that I’ve been able to find yet.  So, I’ve gone on-line to see if I can find anything.

There’s a good course offered by the University of Vermont, but it’s expensive and I’m not willing to pay all that money at this point in my life.  So, I’ll continue to look.

So far, I’ve found a website that gives you some pretty good information.  It can be found at Plant Care Information.

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No black-flies!  No mosquitoes! Hardly any bees!  I have yet to see a wasp!  Where are the butterflies?

I don’t think Washington has black-flies, but mosquitoes?  Am I just lucky living in the city?  I’ve seen probably three bees in the 4 months we’ve been here.  I haven’t seen ONE butterfly.

Is it that we are in the city?  Is it that I’m not being observant enough?  There are certainly tons of flowers, so there must be pollinators.  On reading this article, it appears that Washington is a bit concerned about it’s pollinators.  We need to plant all kinds of flowering plants.  More importantly, we need to plant NATIVE species which will attract and hold onto those pollinators even better.

So, maybe part of the problem is that gardeners in Washington need to be particularly mindful of pollinators.  Here’s a link that will tell you how you can help.  Visit it and take it seriously!

So, I’m off for today.  If I get a garden plot here at our retirement facility in downtown Seattle, I’ll be looking at native species to plant.  Do you have any wonderful recommendations?

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