Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Flower Council of Holland

 Over here at Gadget Girl HQ we have alot of hobbies and most of those lead to techy gadgets as Im always on the look for that "Next unique amazing piece of tech".
So generally I review specific items or products.
However I recently received an email from the lovely people of The Flower Council of Holland asking if I would like to receive a plant from them, to review their mission and strategy rather than a "A" particular item to review.

Who are the Flower council of Holland?

The Flower Council is a non-profit organisation and the marketing centre for flowers and plants from and traded in from the Netherlands. They also promote the positive things about having and caring for your plants in your own environment and how it gives a positive effect on our everyday lives whether we realise it or not.
Not only do flowers and plants look beautiful, they can boost our moods, cause surprise, bring happiness or offer comfort. They unleash a wide variety of emotions which all result in feeling happy.

So just by having a plant we can improve our everyday lives.

Please see more after the jump!

Dont dismiss this as a hippy idea, as I'm sure you've been aware when you walk into someone's home who is a gardener and their home has plants everywhere, it always has that wonderful country homely relaxed feel to their home. Its a feeling you may not think about again till you go into another home or office which has no plants at all. These often feel empty and you cant put your finger on why?
I didn't need to be told I would feel better with plants as I've always loved nature with a passion and I'm an avid gardener myself. Although I have to admit I'm not the best at keeping house-plants. So I was worried for the life of this poor plant that was going to be arriving here to stay...and I was hoping I wasnt going to feel guilty if I killed it then I wouldn't be happy....eeep.

The Science bit!
Scientists have proved that by having plants in the home and workplace the areas we spend most our time in, we feel better in ourselves. You dont have to be peering through a jungle of leaves or having to fight through a triffid to get to your desk or the kitchen. Just a small plant sitting happily in the corner, will make a positive effect on your day.

You get to care for it while it produces oxygen and nitrates into the air, it cleans the air and brings a bit of nature indoors if you don't have a garden. It has been proven there's less days off sick in the workplace, when you have that little bit of nature surrounding you. Well placed larger plants give businesses a luxury elegance to foyers and receptions, giving a classier more relaxed feel.

Plants remove harmful airborne contaminants that accumulate within busy offices and working environments. Air conditioning, improved insulation, modern synthetic furnishings, computers, electrical equipment and everyday household products can produce harmful substances which are then trapped in these buildings and can all contribute to "Sick Building syndrome".
symptoms include headaches, nausea, sore itchy eyes and loss of concentration.

"The Indoor interior is 5-10 times more polluted than the exterior" 

The simple addition of a few plants will help remove alot of these pollutants safely and naturally. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen, reducing your carbon footprint and increases the levels of oxygen in the air and inside you- leading to increased concentration and productivity.

Some more Benefits of Interior Plants (House of Plants info)

As well as purifying the air we breathe the presence of indoor plants have also been shown to have many other beneficial effects, details of this research can be found on the links above. These benefits include:

  • Increased positive feelings and reduced feelings of anxiety, anger and sadness.
  • Reduction of sound levels
  • Reduction of stress levels
  • Control of humidity within the optimum levels for human health
  • Cooling effect
  • Absorption of carbon dioxide and emission of oxygen refreshing the air
  • Improved concentration levels leading to improved productivity particularly with those working with computers
  • Reduction of absenteeism in the workplace
  • Faster recovery from mental tiredness
  • Interiors feel spacious, looked after and clean
  • People prefer to occupy rooms that contain plants
  • Improved image - interiors are perceived as "more expensive"

Some fascinating facts

Plants can filter and purify the air leading to a significant reduction in the symptoms of exposure to aborne pollutants:
Fatigue -20%
Headache -45%
Sore/dry throat -30%
Cough -40%
Dry facial skin -25% 

The Flower council are trying to promote a certain plant every month so we get to know our plants a bit better, the plant for me was going to be the Succulent, I sighed with relief as I have been keeping succulents for years and love them, I haven't killed any of those... Phewey!

If you go to their sister site The Joy of they help you decide what type of plants are best for you and your lifestyle, eg;

Are you the Caring Type - then you will be matched with a flower that is like a Diva; it wants to be pampered, it needs the right light, enough water, dead flowers picked off immediately, the more you look after it the better it becomes, they offer a list of flowers which are True divas.

Are you the Nochalent Type?
You dont like rules, your not very neat and tidy, so your matched with a Rock...well not a stone one exactly but on terms of  it can cope without a strict schedule, it can cope with been watered once a week, its beauty wont wilt or wrinkle but actually improves with age. The longer you have it the bigger, fuller, stronger and more impressive it becomes!
  • Areca palm
  • Calathea 
  • Chamaedorea
  • Croton
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Dracaena 
  • Scindapsus
  • Ficus 
  • St Bernard’s lily
  • Ivy 
  • Boston fern
  • Peace lily

Lastly are you the Adventurous Type?
Your life buzzes, your always busy and hardly at home to look after a plant. So this match is for the Lone ranger or the Succulent as it can cope a bit on its own, go weeks without care, it likes to be left in peace, its thick skin blocks out hot sun, dry air and it stores enough food to survive, but it will still need a bit of care if you can remember or it can still die.
  • Aloë
  • Crassula
  • Echeveria
  • Kalanchoë
  • Christmas cactus
  • Sansevieria

From here The Flower council can advise of a florist or nursery near you to buy that type of plant.

So what next?
I received a courtesy call from The House of plants, where they specialise in a huge variety of house plants and are the only nursery in the UK which solely specialises in house-plant.

The very next day my plants arrived so well packed in a specially folded high box to prevent any other parcels from being placed on top.....and potentially crushing and killing the delicate plants inside.

High five to you guys for this is a genius packaging idea. I have been receiving parcels for years as a reviewer with always a risk of the product being squashed, crushed or broken BUT....not with this way. Whatever plant you choose to buy, you can almost guarantee its completely nurtured till it gets to your door. Then its down to pressure...!
The box has been cleverly taped at the top corners so the plants if they did tip over couldn't slide out the top and the top also remains open so the plants can breathe while travelling to you.

They were placed carefully into a clear plastic polybag and to my surprise when I pulled them out, I had 4 gorgeous succulents plants inside, I must have squealed with delight as I woke the dog, I have been collecting succulents for years and love these strange plants.

Two were in flower and they arrived without even a broken leaf....I'm gobsmaked at the amazing quality of these plants. I go to my local nurseries and never see them in this good condition, these travelled in a hot van all the way from East Sussex and they look like they've been just potted, fresh, green and lush!

I was lucky enough to receive 4 species of succulent, each one so different yet so beautiful in its own way. 
Luckily for me succulents are used to inhospitable environments so mine should feel like luxury to them...I hope. They dont need alot of tendering to like some house-plants; but the succulent is a tough cookie and a real fighter of a plant. They just needs a good light position, regular water in Summer and a little in Winter to be a happy succulent!

As a photographer I couldn't wait to get taking photos, so here are just a few I got so far as 2 of them are already I've made them happy...haven't I..?

 Sempervivum tectorum 'Rubin' (left) and Echeveria Duchess of Nuremberg (right) 
are stunning large succulents. I love the amazing colouration on both these from the beautiful burgundy softness to the purple silver they are just gorgeous to look at.
You cant help but stroke and gently squeeze these plump leaves, they feel so cool, they are really tactile.

 The Echiveria has a gentle subtlety to it with its pale silver green colours and with its long curved flower stem ready to burst into flower I love its amazing structural shape.

 These flowers are so unusual they are so fascinating to study, so different to most normal flowers you may have in your home. Make a statement and talking point by buying a few of these for your home.

 Euphorbia milii red

This stunning red flowering cactus has the most unique flower stems Ive ever seen, they have flowers protruding from flowers, they really are gorgeous.

 But beware underneath you will see the cactus like spikes for what we all know cactuses are about, but they are not sharp so no worries with kids and pets.

So two weeks down the line, I know your dying to know if I've killed them off arnt you; well my four new babies are growing well, still flowering and still alive.....tut tut...did you really think I'd let them die...sheesh. ;-)

 My country lounge window, what an incredible difference to the feel of the room, it really does bring nature indoors and you have to admit it makes it feel and look really you agree?

How do I feel?
Ill just lay back on this couch.....:-)
Seriously I absolutely love having these gorgeous plants in our lounge you can see from the image how homely they immediately make the room feel. They give visual interest every time you walk past them, I cant help but just reach out and touch the leaves, remove a dead flower or simply give them a little turn. They really do make me smile.
I always think a room looks so bare without plants, I love bringing nature indoors with us. I feel better knowing nature is indoors with me too.

Well its certainly a strange review for gadget girl but I love my new plants. Its a very tactile hobby that will hopefully make you feel good too. I have found myself talking to them as I'm sure you will too even though you may not admit it... ;-)
Our modern gadgety home must be full of negative ions and I know these plants are working their socks off to produce fresh air and convert these pollutants to a safe environment for us to live in. So the least I can do is to take care of them as they are taking care of us. I can combine natural and tech...yay!

 Next time you go into an office or someone's home with lots of house-plants take a quick mental note on how you feel...I bet you feel more relaxed and at home there?
So you can improve your home and working environment just by bringing a few plants into your living space, science has already proved it will help improve your health and well being, there's no harm in giving it a ago, you have nothing to lose. I would never be without my plants I instantly feel calm and relaxed.
 You can completely surround yourself with nature and you should notice that you feel better.

All my thanks goes to both the Flower council and the House of plants for giving me the opportunity to show you how you could feel having plants in your life, home and working environment.
All my views and opinions are my own.

If you are after some of the most gorgeous unusual, unique plants take a look at the nursery The House of Plants. they offer outstanding service from telephone call to packaging and plant advice . They are there to answer any queries and advise the best plant for you. For business owners you can even bulk buy your plants for your offices or home. They will even advise you how many plants will suit a certain size office or room and even supply the right containers; or you could buy the "Fresh Air collection" 5 plants that clean the air around you, I love this idea.
See more information on the Financial and health benefits of plants in the workplace HERE .

1 comment:

  1. We've never brought from House Of Plants, but have heard really good things about them! (your review included). The Joy of plants is a really cool website, and the Flower Council seem like great people, especially as they arranged all of this for you.

    House plants really do make a "home", and I'm really pleased you like them.


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