Invite Nature Indoors
A holistic reawakening is happening. Ever since day-to-day living has moved indoors, nature has bloomed in significance. Before, her abundance seemed more of a backdrop, colors fading like fall leaves in the distance. However, being on the inside looking out is creating a natural shift in priorities. In the past, people strived for more money, more possessions, more adoration, just plain more... but today, crisp air, walks in greenery, and fresh produce are what we crave.
Whether you're lucky enough to have access to outdoor space or not, infusing nature inside your home can lift your spirits, bring a fresh supply of oxygen to your lungs, and promote a sense of connection with the earth. For ways to bring the outside in, read on...
Perennials That Enjoy Sunny Spots
Cultivate edible plants, and reduce your dependence on outside forces for healthy options. Don't fret if your lighting isn't the best; a grow light will help bump up the sun.
Scallions - (Allium Fistulosum)
Loaded with antioxidants, scallions are surprisingly easy to grow. They love the sun, yet can also flourish in indirect light. No need to buy seeds or plants. Miraculously, any scallions from the market with roots can suffice. Simply snip before the green stem, leaving the bulb and roots intact, and plant in soil, about two inches apart, exposing about a quarter inch of stem. Miraculously, it only takes a few days for flavorful green stalks to emerge.
Garlic Greens (Allium Sativum)
The health benefits of garlic include being heart-healthy, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and the list goes on... To get your yummy greens growing, begin with a head of garlic (preferably organic). You'll also need soil, and a pot at least a foot deep, with holes at the bottom for drainage. Break the garlic off into cloves, leaving the outer layer intact. Plant cloves in moist soil, approximately 4-6 inches apart. Place in sunlight, or beneath a grow light. The resulting stalky greens are antioxidant rich with a delicate garlicky taste: enjoy as you would chives or scallions.
Rosemary – (Salvia Rosmarinus)
Fresh or dry, rosemary is a highly versatile flowering evergreen that can accent vegetables, soups, biscuits, salads, fish, poultry, or even shortbread. As a medicinal plant, research has been shown to improve memory and brain function. Rich in antioxidants, rosemary is naturally antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. And its lovely calming aroma makes a delightful addition to any setting. Be mindful not to overwater. Start with seeds or small plants. For tips on growing read, Tenth Acre Farm, The Secret to Growing Rosemary Indoors.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Even though sunlight is ideal, lemon balm will still grow in shade. Because it emits a fragrant citrus scent, lemon balm can work as a substitution for lemon in some recipes; fresh or dry, it makes for a soothing and aromatic tea. Add to salads, fish, soups and sauces. It's also a natural insect deterrent. For extra calming vibes, close your eyes and inhale; research shows that lemon balm may have the ability to reduce stress. For the skinny on growing habits, see Harvest to Table's How to Grow Lemon Balm.
More Edible Plants...
These delicate greens pack a powerful healthy punch. A step away from sprouts, micro greens are readying themselves for new life, thus concentrating their nutritional content. Plus, they grow quickly and can thrive on your windowsill. See Better Homes and Gardens, How to Grow Microgreens Indoors.
Start with dry lentils. You'll need a jar with a drainable lid or drainable tray that can be covered. Wash and soak lentils overnight. Then place lentils in a jar, fill about half way, and add cool filtered water. Each day, drain the water out, once or twice. Within a few days your lentils will start to sprout, releasing a bounty of nutrients, and are ready to consume. Check out Khang Starr’s video instructions. And if you'd like to sprout beans, here's a breakdown of various kinds from Wellness Mama.
These free-spirited beauties grow lush and leafy and expand quickly. So if you start with a plant rather than seeds, transplant into a significantly larger pot so it has plenty of room to spread out. Peppermint will do fine in partial sunlight. Gently immune boosting, mint is a natural digestive aid, and a caffeine-free herbal drink that can offer energy or calm. Its fresh leaves work in sweet or savory dishes, added to watermelon, or vegetable salads, smoothies. Dry and crumble leaves and use on salads.
No dirt? No problem. Tillandsia are hundreds of exquisite perennial flowering species. As if by magic, some of these blooms even turn different colors during the year. How do they nourish themselves? They live off the nutrients in air, absorbed through their leaves. But that doesn't mean they don't require any TLC. For specifics on how to keep these unusual plants thriving, read How to Care for Air Plants.
Living amidst lush green walls, is like being tucked inside a virtual medieval forest. Make a DIY living wall, preserved one, or combination of the two. You can even add succulents if you wish. There are a rainbow of ways to shape and structure your wall, or section of wall. So express your artistic side. All it takes is a few simple tools, and you can craft moss sections on frames. Plus, if you choose dry/preserved moss, it will maintain its green, yet requires no maintenance. For easy instructions, check out this video from Simply Cher Cher DIY Moss Wall Art. For more about the intricacies of designing your moss wall, read Trendspot's DIY Moss Wall Garden.
When spending the majority of time inside, you can still experience outdoor splendor via the powers of your imagination. Even something as simple as listening to sounds of trickling water from an indoor fountain or waterfall, can transform an ordinary room into a meditative Zen sanctuary.
For a nature meditation: close eyes. Take a deep inhale through your nose, into the abdomen. Slowly exhale. Within your mind's eye, recreate your favorite gardens, ocean waves, horses roaming free, whatever you desire. Take time to linger inside your vision. Along with the imagery, recall the scent of the air, and its feeling against your skin. Listen to the sounds. Allow yourself to deepen the experience through your senses.
Additionally, you might create a nature journal, with photos that inspire inner calm; when the mood strikes, take some quiet space to go within. For a constant reminder of the earth’s beauty, consider placing crystals throughout your home to freely touch and absorb their energies.
When it comes to selecting the specific areas within your living space that would benefit from a nature boost, tap into your creative side. Wellness Design Consultant, Mayo Clinic Certified Wellness Coach, Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS, MCCWC, author of three books, including Wellness by Design, says, “You can add plant features to your home – not just on windowsills either – by planning their holders into your space design.”Aside from the obvious kitchen choice, Jamie says, “I’ve also seen numerous bath installations to create a complete rain shower experience and green walls in living spaces.” And while you can certainly add elaborate nature designs, the accents you choose might also be minimal and intuitive. “This type of peaceful space can be a home feature you create for your self-care without buying or installing anything, just gathering elements that soothe you into a favorite spot at home,” says Jamie. For more ideas, check out Jamie's, free download guide for healthier quarantines.