Some homes just seem drab and lifeless. There are several reasons for why this is, and some of them are actually impossible to change. Sure, you can paint the walls a bright color and open the curtains to let in sunlight, but sometimes that’s not enough. Sometimes a room just doesn’t have many windows or it has dark wood paneling that can’t be painted over or easily removed. What can you do in that case? One way of adding some life and energy to a room is to bring in some green plants.
Green plants are full of vitality. In fact, you may feel better just by seeing a beautiful green plant in a room. Why is this? Healthy green plants remind us of life. They’re always growing, and their brightly colored leaves bring in a splash of color. This can offset even the drabbest of rooms and add a bit of life to a dull area.
Sending a green plant to someone who is ill can help perk them up as well. Flowers are bright and beautiful, of course, and do help cheer people up, but a nice green plant can do just the same. Next time you find someone needs a little pick me up, or you decide your home needs a bit more energy, think about green plants. They’re full of life!
There are many different ways of staying in touch with people, but lately, everyone seems to want to use instant messaging, email, or social networking sites like Facebook to keep in touch. However, before all of this technology came along, there were other ways of staying in touch with each other.
The main way was to visit and talk. While this might sound incredibly old-fashioned to today’s kids, people used to visit each other just to talk. They didn’t play video games or watch movies. Instead, they just sat around, had dinner or a nice dessert, and visited. Today, this type of interaction often takes place in coffee shops. Next time you’re tempted to send an email to someone who lives nearby, why not ask them to meet you for coffee and simply talk to them face to face?
The telephone is another way of keeping in touch. No, I’m not talking about texting from your cell phone! In the past, people would actually talk on the phone for hours, and they would call each other just to chat. Today, because it seems like we’re all so busy, people only call when they need something. Next time you’re tempted to make a call and hang up after you get the information you need, take the time to ask how the person is doing. Even if you only chat about the weather for a few minutes, it will help you take a few minutes out of your day to just talk to someone.
Finally, a really old school suggestion: actually sit down and write a hand-written letter to someone! Imagine how they will feel opening an envelope and finding a two or three page hand-written letter from you. It shows that you took the time to really think about what you want to say to them and then took the time to actually write it out instead of typing it. You can also doodle in the margins or add cute little stickers. You can write in different colors, too, or use fancy stationary. You can really make a connection with a hand-written letter, and while it’s not done that much any more, it’s a great way of staying in touch.
It’s easy to choose flowers for any occasion or recipient. We’ll give you a few simple tips.
Let’s start with the happy occasions. Anniversaries, romantic expressions, birthdays, new babies, thank yous and just sharing your deepest emotions are good opportunities to reach out and celebrate! Flower arrangments with these flowers alone or in combination and are perfect:
For more solemn occasions, such as the sad parting of a loved one, the same flowers will work, but in different types of arrangements and in soft colors like yellow, red, pink, and pastels.
To choose flowers for your recipient, we suggest these easy guidelines:
Yesterday – The History and Legend of the Poinsettia
Joel Robert Poinsett, who was an amateur botanist and the first ambassador to Mexico, first introduced poinsettias to the United States in 1825 when he brought some cuttings to his plantation in Greenwood, South Carolina. When Poinsett died in 1851, December 12 was declared Nationnal Poinsettia Day, an official day set aside to enjoy this symbol of holiday cheer.
Poinsettias are native to Mexico, where they grow wild. The enchanting legend of the poinsettia dates back several centuries, to a Christmas Eve in Mexico when a little girl named Pepita had no gift to present to the Christ child.
Her cousin Pedro urged her to give a humble gift. So, on her way to church she gathered some weeds she found along the road. As she approached the altar, a miracle happened: The weeds blossomed into brilliant flowers. Then they were called Flores de Noche Buena – Flowers of the Holy Night. Now they are called poinsettias.
Today – Enjoying Your Poinsettia During the Christmas Holiday
Poinsettias are a versatile decorative staple, perfect for use at home on the table or in front of the hearth. At work, poinsettias make beautiful stand-alone decorative accents in long hallways, simply placed on a desk, or filling the foyer with bright red and green. And they are perfect to send home with employees just before the Christmas holiday.
Poinsettias complement almost any holiday decor because of their classic vibrant red and green colors. They can be placed on the floor, on accent tables or on the dining room sidebar. Any interior space that needs just a touch more holiday can be celebrated with a poinsettia or two. Because they are so traditional, we immediately think of the holidays when we see them. And more than 50 million poinsettias are expected to be sold this holiday season!
Inspect the bracts. Bracts are modified leaves and are the colored portion of the poinsettia plant. Bracts should have good color, a mature shape and not have a great deal of green along the edges.
Examine the leaves. Rich, dark green foliage is a sign of health in poinsettia plants. Make sure the leaves are plentiful and are growing down the length of the stem.
Note the size of the pot. The poinsettia should be growing in a container appropriate for the plant. The accepted guideline is that the poinsettia should be approximately 2 1/2 times the diameter of the pot.
Check the soil. Stick your finger in the soil and test the moisture. Avoid plants with soggy soil and appear to be wilting. This could be a sign of over watering and possibly root rot. Poinsettia soil should be moist and only allowed to become dry to a depth of 1/2 inch.
Observe how the poinsettias are being displayed. Be cautious of poinsettia that are displayed in plastic sleeves or crowded together. They need space and crowding can cause the plant to loose bracts.
Evaluate the poinsettia’s general appearance. The poinsettia should appear full from all angles, without bare spots. The stems should be erect and leaves and bracts do not appear wilted. If leaves or bracts fall from the poinsettia when you pick it up, choose another plant.
Keeping Your Family and Pets Safe – The Poinsettia Toxicity Myth
The poinsettia is widely tested as a consumer plant, proving the myth about the popular holiday plant to be false:
Scientific research from The Ohio State University has proved the poinsettia to be non-toxic to both humans and pets. All parts of the plant were tested, including the leaves and sap.
According to POISINDEX, the national information center for poison control centers, a child would have to ingest 500-600 leaves in order to exceed the experimental doses that found no toxicity.
A study from the Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University found that out of 22,793 reported poinsettia exposures there was essentially no toxicity significance of any kind. The study used national data collected by the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
As with any non-food product, however, the poinsettia is not meant to be eaten and can cause varying degrees of discomfort; therefore, the plant should be kept out of the reach of young children and curious pets.
Tomorrow – Poinsettia Care Tips
Poinsettias are long-lasting blooming plants. To keep your poinsettia blooming all year long, follow the care tips listed below:
To keep the poinsettia blooming:
When surface soil is dry to the touch, water thoroughly. Discard excess water in the saucer.
To prolong color, keep a temperature range of 60 degrees for night and 72 degrees for day.
High humidity is preferable.
Place plant away from hot or cold drafts, and protect from cold winds.
To rebloom for the next season:
During winter, continue to follow holiday upkeep tips.
March 1 (St. Patrick’s Day): When bracts fade, cut stems back to eight inches above soil line.
Continue to water regularly.
Lightly fertilize with a balanced all-purpose plant food every three to four weeks.
When temperatures are warm, place plant outdoors; first in indirect, then direct sunlight.
Avoid temperatures below 50 degrees throughout the summer.
July 4 (Independence Day): Cut back new growth stems. Repot if needed.
Early September (Labor Day): Move plant inside. Provide six ormore hours of direct light.
October 1 through December: Confine plant to complete darkness for 14 hours, giving it 10 hours of natural light daily. This will set the buds and cause bracts to color.
Dish gardens are wonderful gifts during the late fall and winter months. They are attractive, easy to care for and full of life.
Our enhanced collection for 2009 includes brand new designs that include foliage, foliage with fresh cuts, and European gardens. Check out our selection here.
Generally, a dish garden will be planted in a leak-proof container or lined with plastic so they can be put on finished wood surfaces. Containers can be ceramic, metal, terra-cotta, wicker or metal.
Best of all, almost any occasion or decor can be celebrated with a dish garden. When choosing a dish garden as a gift, keep in mind the decor of the recipient. If the home is more traditional, a ceramic container with a porcelain look may look better than a garden in a wicker basket or terra-cotta pot. For an office, a non-blooming selection of plants may be easier to care for and hold up well during vacations and weekends.
Also, keep in mind that added fresh cut flowers will last up to a week. And the hardier green plants should flourish with proper care and give the recipient months, if not years, of enjoyment.