TAG: Plants

Benefits of Butterflies

butterfly_perched_flower

Butterflies are among the most common insects to frequent gardens. Adding an ornamental touch, a yard full of butterflies can only be good. As sensitive indicators, the very presence of butterflies may be enough to detect the health and vitality of the surrounding area. However, they are more than a by-product of healthy landscapes. Butterflies in themselves can prove essential to the overall health of plant life. Like bees and flies, butterflies are excellent pollinators, fertilizing trees, flowers, and shrubbery. The pollination of a plant is necessary for it to reproduce, contributing to the production of flowers and berries. This is an important process, required by all plants with the exception of grass, wheat, and corn. Butterflies also… read more

Grow Food in Containers

Growing food in pots

One of the best things that you can do for the environment is to grow your own vegetables and herbs. Food grown organically at home doesn’t require the transportation that contributes to global warming, and it’s free of pesticides, fresher, and usually tastier as well. Many people believe that growing their own produce is not an option because they don’t have yards, but plenty of food plants grow well in containers of various sizes on decks, porches front walks, and driveways. Some produce plants don’t even require very large containers, others can tolerate partial shade, and a few can even… read more

Saving Seeds

Sewing seeds

There are plenty of good reasons to save your own seeds. You’ll save money, help to preserve the genetic diversity of food plants, and develop plant varieties that thrive in the growing conditions you provide and are more resistant to pests and blights. In addition, while agribusiness favors varieties that store well for shipping, home gardeners can select for traits such as great taste and suitability to local climate. When planning your seed collection strategy, keep in mind that some plants only produce seeds in their second year and hybrid plants don’t breed true to parental type – in other… read more

Algae Powered Lamp

Algae powered light

In the world of cool eco-friendly inventions, 2012 and 2013 have so far been the best years for innovative designers to showcase their products. A great, independent design venture website called Designboom has told us of an ingenious attempt to reinvent the lamp by a designer by the name of Mike Thompson. Basically, Thompson has invented a lamp that runs on algae, water, and . . . well, CO2 from your breath. You store the lamp outside in the daytime, and photosynthesis will generate electricity through the algae. When you need to use the light, the electricity will be released and power… read more

What Leaves Reveal

Leaves

Leaves can seem little more than accessories to flowers and trees. However, they provide much more than colorful foliage or shaded escapes. They are essential to a plant’s health and we can benefit a lot from learning about the role leaves play in plant life. Doing so allows you to identify not only the condition of your plants, but of your living environment. It is true, plants need a good plot of land and plenty of sun. But they are also fueled by sugar. Leaves are essential in supplying them with the sugar they need as their blades are like nets of… read more

Garden Centerpieces

Flowers in tree stumps

Removing an old tree stump can be costly, averaging a hundred dollars if you do it yourself  (using a rented stump grinder) and more if you hire a professional to remove it. But the landscaping opportunities a tree stump brings can eliminate the need to dispose of it altogether. Though I don’t recommend chopping down a healthy tree for the sake of ornamental purposes, an existing stump makes a great host to a variety of plants.  Tree stumps can also serve as natural seating or tables. To create a nook for flowers and other plants, make sure you have handy… read more

The Tasteless Tomato

The story of the tomato

If your senses have ever had the pleasure of smelling and tasting a farm-fresh, sun- ripened tomato, then you not only recognize the distinct tomato plant smell but you also know what a tomato is supposed to taste like. In stark comparison, there is a strange hue of red, plastic-textured versions of the tomato, imposters if you will, that exists. You can find them readily available at most mass market food retailers, even oddly out of season. How do they take an innocent tomato and transform it into something, well, tasteless? It is a sad little story that starts with… read more

Have a Houseplant

Houseplants

Houseplants have been around for many ages. Historically grown for consumption and medicinals, plants have also branched out into everyday adornments. As creatures of the indoors and out, considering what we place in our spaces as decoration is important. Houseplants are a great dual duty décor, providing functionality and aesthetics. This old staple is pretty, and pretty good for you, too. They have long been known for their use as natural air filters. Research has shown that common houseplants do help purify indoor air. A 2009 study of three common houseplants, the snake (Sansevieria trifasciata) and spider (Chlorophytum comosum) plants,… read more

Hidden Toxins in our Homes

Houseplants reduce toxins in the home

Home. As popular comedian George Carlin once said, “Home is just a place for your stuff.” This is true in a sense. But home is also, as the common saying goes “a person’s castle”. A place to eat, sleep, and dance about looking ridiculous. If home is a castle, and a place for our stuff, it should be safe and comfortable. And while locks on the doors might make it feel safe, most of us don’t know that inside our castles the air is most likely to contain four to five times the legal limit for outdoor pollutants and toxic… read more

Apartment Compost Bins

Bokashi bins

Apartment dwelling has dramatically increased in the past 50 years; however, this convenience should not deter you from the joy of composting! There are many positives to starting a compost bin, one of which is that you will always have a rich source of food for your plants and herbs. Another is that you can prevent your food scraps entering landfill which when broken down releases methane into the atmosphere that is more harmful than CO2 emissions. Bokashi bins are a great way of disposing of food scraps and creating compost in an apartment. The bins sit in your kitchen and… read more