Last week I guest-posted this article on Decorated Life. Thank you, Christine, for posting it on your blog.
We recently moved countries, and I want to tell you what I did just after we moved into our new house – but I’m interrupting myself with something about the Far East first.
Did you know that bonsai tree landscapes originated in China? I didn’t. I’ve always associated them with Japan.
I’m so exited when I learn something new, I just have to share it with you.
So somewhere in ancient China, high up in the mountains, a band of monks came across these weird, tiny contorted trees, their roots and branches knotted and twisted in their struggle to find nutrition among the rocky landscape. These dwarfed trees turned out to be very old, and the monks thought that they possessed special concentrated energies.
They took them home and created miniature landscapes in small pots with moss and rocks. They carefully pruned and cared for their midget trees and offered them as sacred gifts to visiting monks from other areas. What we today know as bonsai (from the Chinese word Penzai, meaning ‘tray plant’) became highly sought after – a sign of wealth and influence.
Everybody wanted one in their home.
PLANTS IN THE DINING ROOM
Even today, a sculpted bonsai adds a certain allure to a room. Source
These beautiful, living sculptures are not your average pot plant, but they achieve something we’ve been wanting for centuries—to bring nature’s green inside.
The Egyptians, the Romans and the Greeks all brought potted plants into their homes as food and medicine, and crucially, as decoration.
But the Victorians, o my gosh, these guys went totally potty for pot plants. In the 1800s, indoor gardening was the in thing and became the leisure pastime of the wealthy and the famous. Anybody who was somebody knew something about indoor plants. Private greenhouses burst with exotic and rare species. If you couldn’t afford a greenhouse, you packed your windows with plants. Even the lowliest parlor had a potted palm or a Boston fern, at the very least.
A Victorian window with greenery in pots, baskets and a small terrarium. Source
How else could you turn a stale, dull parlor into a fresh one but add a plant? Or two. Or forty-seven. The Victorians put them everywhere—they hung in the windows, they crept up the walls, in pots behind the sofa, next to the sofa, on a trellis over the sofa. Even the summer fireplace was adorned!
PLANTS AROUND A FIREPLACE
Texture on texture. The greenery here compliments the paneled wall. Source
PLANTS INSIDE (ALMOST) A SUMMER FIREPLACE NOWADAYS
Green and fresh and bright for summer. Source
But you can’t blame the Victorians for over-doing it a bit. In a time of industry and change, the air and water, the streets were awfully smelly and polluted. It’s not surprising that they embraced the notion of houseplants as mush as they did, given what we know today:
1. Houseplants purify the air
A recent study at NASA found that houseplants removed harmful compounds and lung-irritating ozone from indoor air.
PLANTS IN THE BATHROOM
Imagine this bathroom without the large fiddle leaf tree. Source
You know where I’m going with this—EVERY ROOM NEEDS A PLANT.
Recently we moved to a new country. At the prospect of not having any of our stuff for a while, guess what was the first things I bought for our new house? A plant. I put it on a small side table where we could see it all the time. It immediately changed the dynamics of the room and lifted our spirit in an inexplicable way. It just sat there patiently, reaching its prickly arms out to us as if wanting to give us a hug.
But here are other things about these green leafy things that make them even more attractive:
2. Plants make you smarter
It’s true. There are people who spend their time doing extensive research on this. According to Scientific American, having plants around has direct benefits for mental functioning. People surrounded by plants in their workplace are able to concentrate better on demanding tasks. It’s not yet clear why this is so, but the scientists are working on it. I’m sure they’re surrounded by plants while they try to figure it out.
PLANTS IN THE OFFICE
A plant at your desk not only looks pretty, it also improves the way you think. Source
3. Houseplants lower stress
Studies have found that hospital patients with a live plant in their room were less stressed, used fewer painkillers and recovered faster.
PLANTS IN THE BEDROOM
Plants in the bedroom are not only beautiful, they will also help you to relax. Designer Heidi Caillier
4. Plants put you in a better mood
Really? Apparently so. Scientists have linked houseplants to many positive benefits, including lower anxiety, lower blood pressure and increased pleasantness.
Ha, I’m putting one in my son’s bedroom TODAY!
PLANTS IN THE ENTRANCE
Doesn’t this just immediately put you in a good mood? Via Tessa Neustadt
OK, enough with all these scientific studies. I think you get the picture. Not only should you eat plants, you should have them all around the house for good health and better performance.
PLANTS ARE GOOD FOR YOU.
Speaking of eating—look at these for the kitchen.
PLANTS IN THE KITCHEN
Who needs a window above the sink if you can look at this? Source
PLANTS ON A SHELF
Waterfalls of plants on the kitchen shelf. Source
5. Plants make space
When you need height you can always install a giraffe. Source
Even with a giraffe, a green leafy thing brings balance. I’ve added one on the other end of the sofa. What do you think?
A plant can balance a giraffe 🙂
However, you don’t need a giraffe. But you do need a plant. Cover the plants in the pictures that follow to see what these rooms would look like without them.
A beautiful living room with a large plant for height by designer Ken Fulk
A bit of greenery adds texture, balance and a touch of randomness. Source
A PLANT AS A FOCUS POINT
A house full of interesting things, and here the plant just completes the picture. See more of this beautiful Australian house here
PLANTS IN THE WINDOWSILL
A delicious window with books and art. Source
PLANTS FOR CONTRAST
There is something about this heavy blue pot with the dainty plant that forces you to look again. Source
PLANTS IN THE ART STUDIO, OF COURSE
I want one of theses, please! Source
PLANTS IN THE GARDEN ROOM
And this too. Source
BUT WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE GREEN FINGERS?
If you’re a plant killer, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Most of us have killed a plant at some point. Poor things, they can’t even get away to look for a better home.
But I found THE PERFECT SOLUTION! It’s so easy you can’t mess it up. AND it looks stunning.
It involves a clear glass vase (or bottle, or decanter, or jar), water, and a branch. Simply put the three together, and that’s it. A very trendy house plant.
Look how these happy branches are growing roots in the clear glass jars. Source
They will sit there and be happy. They will please you with their green foliage for months. They will grow new leaves. They will even grow roots for you. It is so easy.
I’m mad about glass-bowl plants, they’re all over my house.
What do you say, shall we bring the sun and the blue sky inside?
If you want to make the right choices from the start AND love your space, let’s chat about it – on-line or in person.
Over to you
How do you feel about plants in your house?
What do you think about glass-bowl plants? I dare you to try it – and I want to hear from you how easy and fabulous they really are.
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I have spent some time in making normal plant to bonsai plant. I am sure its associated with Japan.
Thanks for stopping by, Gloria, and well done for nurturing your very own Bonsai – they certainly are a beautiful addition to any interior, and I love using a bonsai as an accent table piece.