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The Beauty of Houseplants! MBG Winter Plant Sale Feb. 8th,9th 9-5pm (guest post by Stephanie Cosby)

The beauty of houseplants is this: If you pick the right plant, put it in the right pot and place it in the right spot in your can bring a bit of the living, breathing outside...inside. That, my friends, is what is SO AWESOME about keeping houseplants.

Living, breathing houseplants help create quality air in your home. Beyond the physical benefits, there is the added bonus of being close to natural beauty.

{ In the above photograph there is a piece of glass covering the wooden table top. This is perfect for a collection of Cacti or Bromeliads that require spraying with a spray bottle. You don't have to move your table arrangement to water.}

When indoors either washing dishes, sipping a cup of tea or coffee, or working at your computer, it's quite a lovely experience (especially in the middle of winter) to look at the glowing leaves of your houseplant. Every houseplant will need to be positioned in front of, or very near a window. This means that the light will shine through its leaves and even on a cloudy day the leaves will GLOW. Maybe the leaves are green, or a bit mauve, or magenta...whatever plant you've chosen, the light will shine through giving you a 'stained-glass' experience of awe. 

There are also Bromeliads or 'Air Plants'. What's so unique about them is they don't require soil, so they can become sculptural art pieces in your home. There are a variety of neat ways to mount them onto wood or shells, or stone, or in interesting containers. They also love bathrooms where they flourish in the the steamy shower environment. These Bromeliads do bloom and this one below shoots out bright purple and fuschia blooms once a year.

Terrariums are a perfect choice for the home office. They are little worlds of moist, green, lush life. You can choose to have a pre-historic fern forest environment, or an Asian moss-covered stone environment. You can have a desert environment with Cacti or Succulents and Southwest stones/grit. You can even have fun with it and put a bone you've found in the woods in it, or a piece of rusted metal you've found to add that wild desert vibe. You can add any special stone of yours or a small figurine of some sort to your terrarium to complete the fantasy world of your choice. I like these in the home-office environment because they rarely need watering. This is especially nice near computers, hard drives, chords and other electronics. No watering accidents, no soil spills on important papers. Yet, you still get that living plant that draws you in and gives your mind a place to rest while pondering the next sentence in your email. Plants have this wonderful effect of zapping the clutter in your mind. They're peaceful creatures!

{ Below is also pictured an Orchid that is fine in low-light and rarely needs's about to bloom creamy white flowers! This one has outgrown its pot and needs repotting after it blooms. It has dark burgundy velvety leaves with peach pinstripes.}


Keep in mind that houseplants are a bit like having a pet. You do have to watch them and get to know them. They'll tell you how they want to be oriented in relationship to the closest window. They'll tell you when they want some water, and if the air is too dry in a particular spot or not (is it under the heating vent?). There are some tricky things to figure out about the right container, and please use the Memphis Botanic Garden staff to answer your questions concerning that. Salt buildup on a ceramic pot or in the soil of a houseplant can kill it, but the right container for the plant, and monthly deep watering in the sink or tub to let water run completely through the pot will help in some cases. To have success in keeping houseplants, I've discovered, you have to find the right plant that suits you and your space and how much attention you want to give to it. 

I'm notorious for plant neglect, so the ones pictured in this post are great for the person seeking low-maintenance house plants. I rarely water (or spray with a water spritzer in the case of Bromeliads) and they keep on thriving. 

Lastly, don't forget the cut branches of early blooming Spring shrubs. They can be stuffed gently together into a big vase or used in other interesting ways to decorate for a meal or party you're having. In this case, I arranged Cherry tree branches on a large platter with a cake, for a little girl's birthday. It's also the time of the year now that Hellebores are blooming and the earliest Daffodils are coming up. I have fun searching for them and making a little bouquet to brighten up my kitchen during these last days of gray winter.

Please do go and buy some houseplants at the Memphis Botanic Garden Winter Plant Sale this February 8th and 9th from 9am-5pm. Have fun with their lively and knowledgeable staff! Support Horticulture in Memphis.

Stephanie C. Cosby ~ Contemporary Fine Art Photographer

Stephanie is a guest blogger who is blogging about the art and aesthetics of plants/habitats/gardens and reasons to conserve them.

Stephanie's Tumblr (photographs of Chris Cosby designed gardens and plant collections)

Posted by chris cosby at 1:39 PM


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