The Power of Plants

Being a green at heart

by Victor Cherubim

The form of company

Everyone needs some form of company. The best companion we are often told is a pet, a dog or some other, pet at home. I grew up with a dog as part of our family back in Sri Lanka. When I came to England many years ago, I missed my dog,named Rex.

Dogs are a luxury as they need to be specially cared for. Having a pet dog can be an average lifetime cost of £16,800, with Veterinary bills,micro-chipping,dog license as well as insurance.

Dogs really do deserve their title of man's best friend.They are naturally loyal,intelligent,devoted and affectionate, and we are told they are known to improve our physical and mental health.

When it comes to deciding which dog make the best pets,it really depends on our lifestyle and the environment we live in. But the bigger question is why get a dog? Of course,keeping any pet and particularly a dog is a lifetime commitment as the dog will be relying on you for many years to come. Once you have the time and lifestyle to include a dog in your life and you have done your research about different breeds and personalities,it's time to look at all the benefits of owning a dog.

Being a green at heart

I felt that my lifestyle and work life, of being out, more than indoors, I had little time to devote to a pet.But to compensate after my retirement, I wanted to surround myself with a green environment in my living space. This was partly due to the fact that my neighbourhood was more urbanised rather rural, and so I wanted to stand out as a friendly "green" in a built up environment.

I started to surround myself with plants. My first experiment was to grow ivy around the walls of my house.Then I started growing miniature conifer plants as boundary fencing. Then I started a rose garden. My land stood out in the background of surrounding brick walls and fencing.

The benefits of plant life

Surrounding oneself with plants and shrubs brings huge benefits - cleaner air, mood improvements, reduced stress levels and frankly a better looking home from outside. But,actively taking care of plants both outdoors and indoors recently, has I felt brought me even more benefits.

Caring for a living thing hugely gives a purpose and is definitely rewarding in my experience, especially when I see that living things thrive. My miniature conifers were only six inches a few years ago, now they are over five feet high.My rose garden was only one plant, with a few blooms, now they are burdened with scented flowers,in the summer, which gives an aura of fragrance to my front door.

I now have come to love my plants aloe

I now love my garden and particularly my indoor plants. But am now slightly excited in seeing how my miniature plants will grow.

Thankfully,there are quite a few types of household plants available that nearly anyone can manage with very little effort. In fact,some of these plants love to be ignored. They include cacti,snake and spider plants, "Pothos" which comes in many colours,easy to care, thrives in low light which makes it perfect for the weather we have in England.

Plants and civilization

Our love of house plants has deep roots.Herbal plants have been known for centuries.

According to history, "Ancient Greeks filled their villas with violets in terracotta tubs. While Romans preferred blooming roses. The Chinese grew miniature trees in dishes. The Pharaohs soothed humans with "aloe vera"..After Columbus, plant fever raged with citrus trees, oranges and lemons springing up and indoor plants and flowers colonised their houses and hearts."

Healing power of plants

There is no doubt about the healing power of plants.Turneric has been used in India for thousands of years as part of the Ayurvedic tradition. In Sri Lanka,this variety of herb is called saffron, with its botanical name "crocus sativus". We all know that traditional medicine has been practiced in Sri Lanka for 3000 odd years. Today, the name Gutu Kola, botanical know as "Centelia asiantica," Hathawariya,Kang Kung, Karavila, Kathurumurunga and many other herbal plants including Kos are so effective as proven medicinal remedies over many generations.

We are told,these herbs are classified into two groups - "healing and cooling" based on the physiological reactions upon consumption.The rationale behind the application of healing herbs is to increase the "vata" or "kapha," comparatively lowering antioxidant values, while the cooling herbs are used for diseases requiring "pitta", administered to patients with diabetes.

Without going too deep into plant medicine, we use plants in other ways . We use their shape,colour, texture and scent. It is not rocket science to know that when you mix plants up using their texture and shape, they bring vitality to any space.

Make sure you know, before you grow. that plants and their species are part of our heritage. Destroying trees and our forests is a crime against our environment, which generations to follow will never forgive us.


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