The World is Changing: For Us and For Plants!

The past few decades have brought marked changes to our standard of housing. Small windows have been replaced by glass walls or picture windows across the width of the room and fireplaces and wood or coal stoves by central heating, governed and regulated by thermostats. The result is more sunlight indoors, higher temperatures kept at a set level in the winter months and a much drier atmosphere, often with a relative humidity of only 20 to 40 per cent. These changes have naturally affected the selection of plants that can be grown in the modern household and therefore the choice offered by nurserymen.

The late 17th and 18th centuries witnessed a great development in horticulture. Hundreds of new species made their way from all parts of the world to newly established botanical gardens as well as to private collections. The loveliest of these were cultivated in the greenhouses of the wealthy as well as in horticultural establishments. Later years were characterized by selection and breeding. Heading the list for popularity were those species that were readily propagated, easy to grow, and flowered freely and reliably — in short, those that thrived indoors.

Changes in housing and people’s life-style during the past decades caused a veritable revolution in the florist’s trade. The classic selection of azaleas, cyclamen and other plants that need considerable attention have, to some extent, been replaced by more suitable species. People today rarely have enough time (often both husband and wife work) to care for difficult plants. Furthermore, holidays are being increasingly spent in travel, so a potted plant on the window-sill does not have much chance of surviving. Most important of all is the unsuitability from the aesthetic viewpoint of many of the traditional plants. The austere, boldly divided spaces of the modern home require a special arrangement of furnishings and ornaments, including plants. That is why the classic selection of plants must be supplemented by epiphytic species (plants growing on other plants without harming them in any way), climbers and bog plants. New opportunities are also afforded by terrariums, where it is possible to create congenial conditions even for the most demanding plants with comparative ease.

This website takes note of the changes that have taken place in interior design and acquaints the reader with many non-traditional plants such as epiphytes and plants suitable for growing in bottle gardens, keeping in mind, of course, the fact that not everyone has central heating and thus including also the classic standbys.

15. November 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Featured Articles | Comments Off on The World is Changing: For Us and For Plants!

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