Planting an escape


Kendra Rocke

A well-manicured garden or just a few plants clustered together provides an instant surreal calm to the senses, with soothing elements for creating ultimate relaxation. Have you ever wondered how you feel so refreshed when walking a nature trail or simply visiting your favourite garden shop? Does a visit to the Green Market in Santa Cruz on a Saturday or Sunday morning give your spirit a refreshing lift?

Beyond the beauty they afford, plants provide key environmental benefits: They make oxygen and clean the air we breathe, purify water, regulate temperature, control erosion, and serve as a habitat for wildlife. Now we can create this environment right in our own space no matter the size. The essence is quality not quantity.

Here are some ideas.

Enclose your seating area by using plants to form a privacy screen. In my own space I added podocarpus, bamboo, peomele and leea for the sun areas and palms and dracaena to the semi-shaded parts. But there are many other full foliage plants which give the element of privacy to a seating area.

Choose the right plants to give a tropical feel to the landscape. You may wish to add acalyphas, bromeliads, ferns, plumbago, orchids, hibiscus, gingers, coleus or even bougainvillea to instantly transform the space.

Select the right aromas; nothing completes your relaxing space more than complementary scents of the Jasmine, quisqualis, sweet lime, gardenia, and herbs such as lavender, mint, lemon balm, Rosemary and thyme. Choose how to set them out so as not to have them overpower each other. As an added bonus some of these plants attract butterflies, hummingbirds and bees to your garden.

Create the right sounds; the element of sound immediately takes the mind to a state of relaxation. Adding a water feature with trickling waterfall sounds to your space will beckon you to relax. The perfect water feature for your backyard is a swimming pool, but for most, due to small spaces, financial constraints, and maintenance problems, less costly but effective water features can be added. A garden pond, koi pond, wading pool, fountain or birdbath are some alternatives.

Chimes are another feature which generate a sense of calm, with many different tones according to tube length, and material form as the wind blows. For my space I added chimes according to feng shui principles. In the east and south-east sections I hung wooden and bamboo chimes, to the west, metal and a clay chime to the south. These are placed along the eave of the garage so from whichever direction the wind blows different melodies are heard. When adding chimes, note the number of rods each chime should carry for the location it’s placed.

Settle into comfortable seating to complete a relaxing garden. Ensure you get the most comfortable chairs with durability and style. Patio table sets are wonderful for entertaining and there are so many beautiful and affordable pieces on the market to complement your taste.

When we hear landscaping the first thing that comes to mind is outdoor landscape. But there is interiorscaping or plantscaping indoor areas to create the same environment as you would do outdoors. To de-stress and add peace and tranquillity to your home, consider some live plants indoors.

Living rooms can benefit from a living wall instead of hanging a photograph, or corner planters and dividers to separate spaces with living plants. For example, fiddle-leaf fig, Monstera deliciosa, philodendron, parlour palm, areca palm, peace lily, aspidistra, aglaonema and sansevieria can be used. For the wall planter you may consider the pothos, spider plants, Boston fern, and even add some herbs for aromatherapy.

I would consider the aloe, sansevieria and spider plants as the best choices for the tropical bedroom, as these plants are low light tolerant and air purifying promoting a soothing effect on the mind.

We spend most of our time in the kitchen, so why not add plants there? A pair of mini sansevierias in colourful pots adorn the counter top of my kitchen. A pair of parlour palms are on the refrigerator and a hosta is on the table. Adding a mini herb garden on a windowsill that receives bright light, a sunny south facing window is also an option to enhance your space.

Add some elegance to your bathroom with a bamboo, aloe, aspidistra, peace lily, begonia, pothos ivy N’Joy, philodendron, spider plant or ZZ plant, depending on the space available on a counter top or shelf.

Benefits of interior landscapes

A space is not complete without plants and in interior spaces plants provide a welcoming effect and brings a place to life. Today, plants are used not only for their aesthetic appeal but for economic, architectural, and most recently for health benefits. Many studies have been done showing that many of these plants may improve the indoor air quality by removing pollutants derived from commonly used household products. This gives every reason for adding a plant or two to our interior, and maintenance of a few plants will only add to relaxation and life.

No matter the size of your backyard or porch, or interior you can create a space as a source of enjoyment and refuge, to relax, unwind, and have fun. Try not to confuse your space with having too make furniture or accessories; these may make you avoid the space entirely. Blend in your plants with harmonious colours to complement your style, opt for more drought tolerant plants for your garden space, not only are they low maintenance they also assist in conserving water, and some require little to no fertilising to thrive.

Where do I begin?

Remove all clutter, including plants that have died or are not conducive to the space. Cut unnecessary trees and prune plants, throw out all broken furniture, pots and accessories. Introduce colour, it makes life happy.

The Eastern Horticultural Club will host it 9th annual Plant and Garden Show, Plants for Relaxation and Life on June2 and 3, at the courtyard of Trinity College East, Trincity Central Road, Trincity, from 10 am to 6 pm daily.

For further information contact the Eastern horticultural Club at 357-5033, 764-9125 or 720-2698 or [email protected] The Club meets on the first Saturday of every month (except public holidays) at 3 pm at Moreton Hall, Aramalaya Presbyterian Church, Cochrane St, Tunapuna.


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