While musing on the arrangements of plants, Jones and Clark (1952) state that ‘for it is in their living qualities that many plants have to our minds their greatest value.’ Or, in other words, a dead plant is no good to anyone.
This leads them to ponder the motivations of indoor gardening: we’re botanists seeking to learn, collectors acquiring or beauty-hunters looking for form and colour.
‘There are, of course, other motives than the aesthetic for using plants in rooms and planting indoor plant boxes. Those of botanists or horticulturalists are perhaps more vocational and those of collectors more acquisitive. And even the aesthetic is a motive which has many sources.’ Jones and Clark, 1952
In the passing sixty years we’ve been able to add a few more motivations to the list – backed by science as well as gut instinct. What about for cleaner, healthier air? We perhaps didn’t need an organisation as significant as NASA to tell us, but it certainly helped spread the word.
What about for our mental health, relaxation and greater positivity? The activities involved in helping a plant to thrive can be as morale-boosting as the connection to the beautiful plant itself. Taking time to understand its needs, regular watering and inspection give us routine, escapism, quiet alone time as well as the opportunity to share progress with others.
How about increasing productivity? Even the most cynical employer should want plants in their offices as soon as they read about their impact on creativity, productivity and employee retention.
What have I missed?