Even plants need a spa day

How to freshen up houseplants in the shower

newDonnawebDo you have a layer of dust on your indoor plants from the pre-Obama era?

As the sun shines on my plants, I can see it’s been too long. If I can write my name on the leaves in dust, I know it’s time to send my greenery to the shower.

Light levels are so low in February in Calgary that any extra interference, like dust, slows houseplants down and blocks the already limited light. If leaf tips are browning or whole leaves yellowing, the plant is probably cutting its losses by getting rid of the lazy leaves that are too shaded to give back.

In nature, regular rains wash leaves clean, but in your apartment or house, plants need a helping hand.

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Gifts from your garden

How eco-therapy can warm the soul during the holidays

newDonnawebWhether you believe in gift giving or not this is the time of year to be thankful for your garden and for nature. And the physical benefits gained aren’t limited to things we have to buy.
Here is a seasonal selection of garden gifts to ponder:

Winter

Chelsie was at the landfill in late November when she noticed someone else had left large birch branches behind. Knowing these could be striking additions to her seasonal garden containers, she swapped out her waste for someone else’s, and happily left with a few striking white branches. Later, she included them in her seasonal outdoor pots and planters.

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Chill out

Bring nature indoors for low-cost decorating this season

newDonnawebMichelena Bamford loves the scent of natural evergreens such as junipers, pines, blue spruce, white spruce and cedars in her home.

But the owner of Calgary-based Rocky Mountain Wreaths doesn’t limit herself to greens. She also gathers local dogwood, birch and wolfwillow twigs to add to her work. Combined, she says it brings nature into her home and brightens up the dark days of December.

“Different plants that we appreciate at different times of year are really important to me,” said Bamford.

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A brave new world

Engineered gardening could help expand growing potential

newDonnawebYou likely don’t think about light quality or intensity when you’re crunching a carrot or raising a radish, so why should you care about Jack Zhang’s newly engineered lights?

Because Zhang’s new LED lights could help you grow your own super-efficient vertical farm in a kitchen nook, empty bedroom or spare closet.

Zhang, an electric engineer by trade, spoke to me about his newly imagined LED lights when the Lumenari Biosciences co-founder and CEO attended the Canwest Horticulture show in September. At that time, Zhang said his company was, “all about designing energy-efficient lighting systems for the horticulture industry.”

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