[Infographic] How to create your urban garden?
The pursuit of happiness passes through places, and our favourite place surely is our house. It is the place that better represents us, where we can be our true selves. It is our shelter, far from work and from constraints. The Danish word “Hygge” perfectly define this concept.
Hygge is about living a lifestyle where feelings are shared with our beloved ones, at home. For their part rooms and their decor, with colours, spaces and shapes contribute to get to this blissful feeling. How can we get peace of mind? Nature still is our best partner. We can find it in home decor thanks to green touches, floral prints, bucolic scenes and indoor plants.
The “green” home decor trend gets to its peak this current year. The Pantone Color Institute has declared “greenery” as Color of the Year 2017, as it symbolises our desire to gain our connection with nature back. Indoor plants are winning everyone over, both for their looks and for the positive vibes they give.
Urban jungle style is all about decorating home spaces with any kind of plants: the living room, the bedroom, the bathroom, the kitchen. The goal is to recreate the same restoring feeling we have when walking through a wood… or through a jungle.
The reason we talk about urban “Jungle” is the favourite indoor plants for Europeans are tropical ones, as their majestic looks and their shape and foliage are highly valued. Other than their exotic beauty, according to a study conducted by NASA a number of them have proven to be useful in purifying the air from harmful essences that might be present in our houses.
Snake plant, also called Mother-in-law’s Tongue, is a Latin America native succulent native and it has the peculiarity of neutralising formaldehyde, which can be found in detergents, toilet paper, rugs and pieces of furniture. It usually goes into bedrooms as, as the perfumed lavender and aloe vera, it induces and improve the quality of sleep.
The red edgings of Dracaena give a touch of colour, and the plant itself can contrast the volatile substances we can find in varnishes and lacquers. All plants, regardless to their looks and healing properties, “oxygenate” the space around them as they absorb carbon dioxide by photosynthesis. Ivy, native from Southeast Asia, mostly performs this “exchange” at night and it also reduces humidity.
It can find a place both above-ground, as on a shelf or on a countertop, or at a ground level given it has specific supports so it can wrap walls up or frame windows, as dictated by the Urban Jungle trend. A highly valued plant among vines is Photos, a perennial ornamental plant with white and yellow streaks on the leaves. Other popular plants are ficus benjamina and bamboo, as their minute, dense foliage embellish any location.
Herbs rule in the kitchen. The design and the way of arranging the vases and the containers are part and parcel of the home decor, especially in Northern Europe countries such as Sweden, Iceland, Norway and Denmark. This way, the act of adding thyme, rosemary, mint and basil to food happens right while cooking
The latest food trends are climbing strawberries. To go into suspended vases, fragraria ananassa produces cascade branches and fruits, which are great not only for fruit salads and smoothies, but also aesthetically pleasing. In Southern Europe – Southern France, Spain, Italy and Greece – herbs and edible plants go even better outdoors, thanks to the mildest climate conditions. As they grown on balconies and roofs, the intensely and vibrantly coloured jasmines and geraniums embellish houses, facades and city streets.
The demand for indoors natural elements goes alongside with the house itself and with the latitude. Someone living in a city, in a flat surrounded by the urban chaos, will feel a strongest need for flowers and plants in the house in comparison to someone living in the country. The same thing happens to people living in really cold climates that don’t allow for many kind of plants, especially exotic ones, to survive outdoors.
It’s not that strange, though, that a number of Northern Europeans picks up giant plants, sometimes even actual small trees, to have them grown at home. If they don’t survive outside, why not having them indoors where temperatures are mildest? This is the case of Banana and Plantain, of the beloved Philodendron, of Sterlitzia – most commonly known as bird of paradise flower -, of Areca palm, of Zamioculcas, etc. Other than their magnificent size, what makes them great ornamental plants is their bright green foliage, that can be more or less glossy depending in the species.
Generally speaking, the most of tropical plants are low maintenance. They don’t need total exposure to sunlight, they dread cold and they grow at their best in a room where temperature never goes under 15° C. To give them the right amount of water means no to let the soil to dry, but at the same time not to give them too much water – backwaters must be carefully avoided.
On the other hand, drought is essential to succulents as they might start to rot form the inside otherwise, with no chance of recovery. Giant tropical plants don’t need very big vases to develop in height. In fact, the excessive development of the roots prevents the plant from growing in height and its ornamental features are compromised.
During spring and summer, or when climate in Southern Europe shortly allows, we recommend to move the plants outdoors, on a balcony or on the roof, to allow vegetative growth. Turn over the soil a bit, water the plant more frequently and dung it with organic fertiliser. Your plants will be obliged. And now, we only have to think about which new plants we want in our house.
By Eleonora De Paolis Foglietta
Eleonora De Paolis Foglietta is a contributor from international network Gushmag. Passionate about nature, gardening and art, she is founder of the Blueeco project. Her favourite quote is “the beauty will save the world”.
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