I believe every home should have plants, greenery can brighten up any corner and really bring life into a home. Plants will naturally purify air as their respiration is taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen (opposite to us) so living indoor plants have extra benefits to just looking good!
As this week from the 8th - 14th May is Mental Health Awareness Week, I wanted to do a little blog post for it, so although this post is not particularly herbal medicine/health focused I still hope it is useful and relevant. Coincidentally, a couple of weeks ago I started my training to become a volunteer for the charity Mind in the Greater Manchester area - Tameside, Oldham and Glossop Mind. They do many amazing projects to promote the health and wellbeing of mental health for their clients, not just 1 on 1 counselling services but there are many therapeutic courses available to suit the needs of the person. Noteworthy for here, is their community garden as part of an Ecomind project, in which anybody is welcome to drop-in and join in tending the garden, the produce of which is used for the TOGMind vegetarian cafe, Topaz Cafe. They recognise the importance of being outdoors in the fresh air, practising mindfulness of being in the moment and contributing towards the community, as well as being educated on healthy foods, horticulture and keeping active.
The theme of 2017 Mental Health Awareness Week is 'Surviving or Thriving?', some activities to bring about self-empowerment and increasing positive mental health are spending time learning new things, on hobbies you enjoy such as crafts, reading, music, gardening, spending time outdoors and with family and friends. Of course it can be about experimenting and finding what works for individuals, but I thought a simple way to introduce nature and a new hobby is by potting your own plants to display in your home and bring some beauty from outdoors to inside so it can be enjoyed in all weathers.
I am not particularly green-fingered and often forget to water plants, I am however clued up on the most low-maintenance and forgiving plants! Here I picked up from the garden centre very cheaply a few succulents, they naturally don't like much water or too much sunlight and prefer to be neglected a little bit but look lovely and bright all the same! I have here a glass terrarium, a truly stunning way to display your succulents and it acts as a mini greenhouse so requires even less watering as the condensation traps the water in for longer. However this is not necessary and I've shown some other examples of repotting a plant into an old teacup and an empty cosmetic container (the Lush black pots are great for this!) or a jam jar would work.
Then you can pop it on your windowsill, fireplace or bookshelf and admire! It will require watering between every 2 - 4 weeks, it is best played by ear - if the soil feels damp it won't need watering and see how it is in a few days. Succulents and cacti generally prefer indirect sunlight so placed in a bright room but away from where the sun is most concentrated is perfect.
My name is Helen Davison and I'm a NIMH registered practising Medical Herbalist based in Ramsbottom, Lancashire. I've had a keen interest in herbal remedies since my early teens and would experiment creating my own balms and bath bombs using natural ingredients, which prompted me in discovering and pursuing a career in Western Herbal Medicine.