Sheila Valli M.D.: Living Environment

Modified from a book written by Shirley-W. Wilson, “The World is Living and Breathing: Innovative Cool Housewares” by Janet Patterson.

So what’s on your wish list for the next year, ten, twenty, or thirty? One of the things I like to talk about on a regular basis in this column is the innovative ideas people are coming up with and to try out for what their properties are like.

Many people feel the kitchen is not the place to experiment with their idea-and that it’s nice and practical if you can find a picture or demo of a product on the internet or tell your friend about it.

But what if you could find a few plants that you could grow in a special location that would include interior windows where they would be shielded from the heat of the house? You would even be glad to have a few plants of your own in the kitchen.

I am not saying your gadget in your kitchen should look like a caterpillar; although that is an interesting observation, but it is not the principle I am talking about. More about this in the next update.

What to try:

There are many choices for plantings around the house. Many of the choices that grow well indoors have bulbs and plants in them. As I was talking to someone recently, he said that he grows his bedding plants in mesh bags and hides them in a shelving unit for safety and privacy.

What we have learned so far is that you can get the same geranium that you would get outside for under six dollars for the geraniums you would use for your window plants. Although geraniums do not grow well indoors due to not growing tissue cultures, propagating them is easy when you prepare the bulb after it has been potted.

The next choice might be a little different. Many window containers are tilled in at a slope, but many of them have a sloping wood fence that has been left uncovered. The easiest way to protect the plant from heating, air exchange and air pressure of all the windows is to enclose the container by putting a sheet of flexible polythene on the top of the container. You can also put a plastic cover over the plant, but you can also use black tape. There are many brightly colored electrical tape varieties, but they will easily stain when exposed to the sun and so it might not be a good choice. As you put on the slipcovers, you will need to cut them down to size and place them in the containers.

Another plant that you can use to grow in a window container is geranium flowers such as its dark pink “Camouflage” variety and its pretty white “Duke” variety. Some people like to use a grass that has been painted black that was clipped and dried before being placed in a container. A couple of bird feeders that your favorite hummingbird uses can be placed around the container so that it will have lots of place to hang from the container at night.

These are just a few of the suggestions of ways to grow your collection of indoor herbs:

Black dogwood. I have had the pleasure of giving a number of my clients the choice of the “Purple Rose of Liverpool” which takes about four years to bloom, or the “Blue Gold” which doesn’t bloom for more than six to eight months. It is called “Purple Roses” because of the heavy purple flowers that flow once the seed is fully exposed. The potting mix is Water the Plant Pure Garden Essence Water, Soil Mix Water, Go Vegetable Variety, and Soil Conditioner Mix.

Woodsmoke bush. The compact leaves of this evergreen will set up well in a container and they have a similar, cinnamon flavored fragrance. The watering system is either super diluted water or a watering bottle.

Lovely pile. This is a naturalistic plant called “Collarpot”. The name comes from its cone-like resemblance, but from the real name: Love Domaine. It is a member of the mint family and like the most mintes can be grown indoors.

Well-nourished petunia (Daisy). They even give the same naming to the creamy white lady’s mantle and the petunia flower called “Joy of Mary.” These plants do need some watering but will produce a wonderful fragrance for you to find out how to get the most out of your plants during the summer months.

Herb recipe:

This is the easiest way to use the herbs in your cabinets. Use a potting mix like the one above and fill a pot 1/2 inch below the surface. Take out your onions or bell peppers and put them in the pot. The filling will go into the pot

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