My Top Three Super Plants
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, plants and social media are having a bit of a moment. Instagram is full of quirky succulents, overgrown cheese plants and hanging ivy arranged just-so. The hashtag #UrbanJungle is being used in abundance and I for one am loving it.
“Plants Make People Happy”
I grew up in a house that was full of houseplants with a flowering garden and the occasional home-grown fruit and veg. My grandparents’ live in a rural area so have a large and incredibly beautiful garden that they’ve always tended to so attentively and my Gran grew lilies, apple trees and fruit bushes. I was always encouraged to spend time outside, get my hands dirty and learn the names and characteristics of plants and wildlife. I’m so very grateful for the influence of my parents and grandparents on both sides of my family for instilling and nurturing my love for greenery and the outdoors. Thankfully, I seem to have inherited the green finger gene so their efforts don’t appear to have been in vain!
At the beginning of 2017, Abby and I moved into our current home that just do happens to have a good-sized back garden with a tree and small grassy area out the front. We were thrilled as this meant BBQs in the summer, the opportunity to adopt a pet(s) and the ability to grow plants that weren’t confined to small, indoor planters. I love looking after our garden, but I have such a soft spot for my indoor greenery. Some of it, I’ve had for a long time now. I have a peace lily that my Mum bought me in 2015 on the bookshelf in our living room and Aloe “pups” from the plant in my parent’s kitchen on my desk. Unlike the lobelia in the flower bed outside, my houseplants need looking after all year round and don’t vanish when summer’s over.
I’m sure we can all agree plants look nice and can add a millenial-approved aesthetic to any room – I’m looking at you, succulents. Then there’s the popular tree blossoms that we all take incessant Instagram photos of in the Spring. However, did you know that some of the most common garden and house plants can help sort out your skin? Help you sleep? Provide you with antioxidants? Over the next month or so, I’ll be showing you how I use three of my favourite plants to do all three of those things and more. I’ll also give you some tips on how to look after them.
Below are three “whistle-stop” tours of my plant superheros, so I haven’t covered all of their benefits or information off. Look out for their individual blog posts for a full description of their characteristics and properties.
Aloe Aloe Aloe
Aloe Vera is a succulent, so you’ll get some cool-points off the bat just for owning one. Succulents are really easy to look after and do best in dryer environments – a perfect plant for the forgetful waterer. Aloe plants have been used medicinally for years for everything from healing burns, to aiding digestion and boosting the immune system. These green do-gooders contain calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium among other vitamins and minerals. Aloe also has anti-allergy properties, so is a godsend for a person such as myself who only has to look at a heavily scented product to come out in a rash. I personally use the gel in my aloe plants for skin care, to heal cuts and burns and occasionally add some to smoothies to help with digestive problems.
A Rose by any Other Name
Alice helped to paint them red, they’re the UK’s national flower and the Beast kept an enchanted one in a bell jar. There are over three hundred varieties of the beautiful smelling and looking rose, but it’s not just a pretty face. Roses boast their own string of vitamins; vitamins A, C, D and E, to name a few. Rose oil and water have wonderful skin benefits and are an ingredient in many popular cosmetic products. Not only do they have anti-inflammatory properties that help treat acne and eczema, they can also help with anti-ageing. Rose tea can be beneficial in the treatment of sore throats, congestion and constipation. It’s no wonder silent movie actress Mary Pickford used to eat them in an effort to make herself beautiful! Although there’s no scientific evidence that this worked, rose petals are edible and were probably less harmful than the arsenic containing night cream she used. I like to add rose water to baths and spritz it on my face.
Lavender: Not just the Bees Knees
Everyone should have some lavender in their garden. It smells lovely, isn’t difficult to take care of (especially the more weather hardy varieties) and bees love it. It’s also excellent at helping to relieve stress, restlessness, headaches and sleeping problems. It’s incredibly easy to make your own lavender sachets or bags to pop under your pillow at night. I’ve never made my own lavender oil, but it’s easily attainable at most health shops or pharmacies. A bit of lavender oil massaged on the temples or wrists can work wonders in times of stress.
As previously mentioned, I’ll be writing three more posts on how I specifically use these wonderful plants. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled!