BRINGING THE OUTDOORS IN: JAMES WONG PROVIDES HIS TOP TIPS TO HELP CONNECT US TO OUR OUTSIDE WORLD
Getting closer to nature has never been more important than it is today. From working longer hours to living so much of our lives online, we are all spending more time than ever indoors and away from the natural world. According to Anglian Home Improvements, it’s no surprise we are therefore missing out on the psychological and physiological benefits that come from exposure to the outdoors – and this is why the ‘biophilia’ trend is currently proving such a hit with homeowners.
Defined as a love of living things and nature – which many believe humans are born with – ‘biophilia’ as an interiors trend can connect us to the natural environment. Anglian has teamed up with botanist and horticultural expert, James Wong, to provide homeowners with top tips on incorporating this trend into their own living spaces – to bring more greenery and vegetation into the home, and to reap the many benefits this could bring.
Liam Kingswell, Digital Marketing Manager, from Anglian Home Improvements, said: “There is no denying the close connection humans have to nature – who has not enjoyed the simple sensory pleasure of picking up a bouquet of fresh flowers to display in the home or the restorative effects of a bracing country walk? We are therefore very pleased to be working with James Wong to help homeowners bring the outside in. By embracing the ‘biophilia’ trend we can all create a place of happiness and relaxation – a safe sanctuary from the stresses of daily life – and ultimately make the house a home.”
James Wong is a Kew-trained botanist, science writer, broadcaster and author. He graduated with a Master of Science degree in Ethnobotany in 2006, and has since became the author of internationally best-selling books ‘Grow Your Own Drugs’ and ‘Home-grown Revolution’, as well as presenting for BBC and Channel News Asia.
James is passionate about communicating plant science, and was listed as the Top 20 most influential people in horticulture in The Sunday Times 2015.
JAMES WONG’S TOP TIPS:
Stimulate the senses
In a world obsessed by how things look, it can be incredibly easy to be lulled into the impression that the benefits of plants largely come from just admiring their beauty. However, there is evidence for how they can stimulate our other senses, in particular their fragrance.
Gardenia flowers are an easy houseplant to maintain, with white, rose-like blooms and an incredibly uplifting fragrance. Compounds in their flowers, which we absorb through our nasal passages, have been proven to have a mood-enchanting, anti-anxiety effect. More research is clearly needed, so why not test this out at home?
Group plants together
One of the best ways to simultaneously reduce your watering, increase plant survival and improve the look of your display is to simply swap your plant collection from being stored in multiple individual pots, to grouping them together in larger pots.
Housed together to create mini gardens in each pot, plants seal humidity around each other. This reduces the amount you need to water and can improve their overall health. Also, if one of the plants dies, you will barely notice as its neighbours will soon grow to fill its space.
Even visually, pots with a variety of plants in each will always work better than a varied collection of lots of tiny pots, each in a different size. This simple trick will benefit you and your plants in almost every way.
Experiment and expand
Most houseplants are incredibly easy to propagate. By taking cuttings and seeds from existing plants, you can grow your plant collection for free. Tracking down truly weird and wonderful species can be tricky in your average garden centre, but doing swaps with your plant-loving friends is a great way to track down rare specimens and share your precious finds.
Many species such as philodendrons, epipremnums and dracaenas are eager to grow, and a small cutting will root even in a glass of water in just a week or two. So what is stopping you? Start snipping!
Accept that you will make mistakes
I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard it: ‘I’d love to have houseplants, but I killed my last one.’ Timid first timers seem to be somehow paralysed by fear when it comes to bringing the outside in. But things don’t have to be this way!
I have news for you, I have killed houseplants too. In fact, I have killed hundreds. When I get together with my uber-geeky horticulturist friends, what do we talk about? The plants we killed.
You see, no good gardener ever got there without a few dead plants. Just like no good baker hasn’t burnt a few cakes. It’s just how you learn.
The trick is simply to see it as an invaluable learning opportunity and a chance to try something new. In gardening there are no mistakes, only experiments. So get experimenting!
For more information about Anglian and its wide range of home improvement products, including double-glazed windows and doors, conservatories and orangeries, visit www.anglianhome.co.uk.