Let it snow outside and let it grow indoors

Life can be stressful. We all experience the stress of family, money, and health. My current angst is that of being a mom of 3 teenagers. While I used to be their most loved and admired person, as they naturally grow up and away, I am now that out of touch person whose IQ level keeps decreasing as their age increases. My beloved husband has realized that a walk around the block with me will cure any amount of stress that I experience with our children. As we walk around the block, I look at the beautiful Oak trees, the gorgeous lawns, and the seasonal flowers. Being in nature while exercising releases endorphins and I walk back into the house ready for whatever ‘good natured’ comments my 16-year-old son might make.

As the weather changes, our walks around the block will decrease. I am making a concerted effort though to introduce nature into our home. Introducing nature in a home can not only reduce stress, but also decrease air pollution and make us feel better in general.

Below are a few items you may want to try.

1. Plant an herb garden. Herbs can be easily planted and grown in containers in your kitchen or sunroom. Popular herbs to grow inside include thyme, basil, and lavender.

2. Plant air plants or succulents in a clear jar or glass. Air plants and succulents require little care. Many times they can be planted in decorative rocks and require very little watering.

3. Buy yourself flowers. As simple as this seems, spending $8-15 weekly on fresh flowers will pay back huge dividends. For Christmas one year, my grandfather contacted a local florist and paid for a 3 month subscription of fresh flowers. Every two weeks the florist delivered fresh flowers to my grandmother. She loved it!

4. Hang a vertical garden. Wooden Frames are not just for pictures anymore! Vertical gardens offer you a way to hang plants on your walls. They available in a wide variety of sizes and can be hung indoors.

5. Create a mobile. You may want to create a hanging mobile using items in your yard. Pine cones, dogwood branches, and feathers can all be used to make a very decorative piece of art.

6. Use Eucalyptus. Eucalyptus branches are very aromatic. They can be used to decorate any room including your bathroom. Consider hanging them from your shower head to create that spa like feel.

7. Decorate and display small stones or interesting rocks. Stones are often collected during road trips. Have some with a special meaning? Consider displaying them inside. Want to brighten up your entry area? Ask a younger member of your family to spend the afternoon decorating a few stones with you.

8. Incorporate houseplants into your home décor. Pothos Ivy, Ficus, and Mother in Law’s tongue work well indoors.

9. Tabletop fountain. The sound of water has a calming effect. Small fountains, less than 12”, can be integrated into your office or living area to help you manage anxiety and reduce stress.

10. Forcing Bulbs. Spring blooming bulbs can be planted in a container and forced to bloom inside. This is very easily done and has a huge payoff. Many have gorgeous flowers and a great fragrance.

Kathleen Carr is the owner of The Growing Scene, Inc., a garden center and landscaping company. She can be reached by calling 815-923-7322 or tgsinc12@msn.com. Have a gardening question? Please contact her. She may address it in an upcoming column.

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