Years ago when I moved into a Cambridge apartment with my now-friend of over forty years, we consolidated our houseplant collections. Today when we get together in the San Francisco Bay Area, we both take photos of amazing flowers we find in nature. We harvest Meyer lemons, oranges, and nasturtium blossoms in her backyard and oregano and other herbs from my porch garden.
Lately I've read a number of articles that propound the virtues of having houseplants and gardens to live longer and happier. We knew this already, but it's nice to see it verified. An article on simplemost.com gives these findings from Harvard: "Women who lived in the greenest surroundings were found to have mortality rates a whopping 12 percent lower than those of women who lived in plant-less homes and areas." An Apartment Therapy article states: "Women who live in homes surrounded by vegetation not only have lower mortality rates, but improved mental health, too." Another article explains that part of this effect is because they add oxygen and clean the air in your home.
I've only been in northern California for a year now. When I moved from Santa Fe, I had to give away all my plants, so I no longer have that prolificly blooming croton or passionflower vine you see here in my photos. I'm slowing building up my collection again, although some like my jade plants are now outside my front door instead of inside, sheltered from below freezing winter temperatures. I love that what would have been a houseplant in Santa Fe can be a year-round outdoor plant in Marin.
Vastu recommends that your homes and business spaces have a lot of fresh air and prana, that sparkly universal life energy. Plants do this. They increase prana and freshness, making it easier to both relax and to focus. Plants and cut flowers create a higher vibration, more welcoming, sanctuary for you. So get surrounded with green and blossoms now. Make it a creative, life-supporting endeavor, an action of selfcare and self-love.
Research also shows that plant-based diets increase longevity, so be sure to include what food politics author Michael Pollan calls "mostly plants" in your diet, whether or not you eat animal protein. Be in alignment with nature, as Vastu recommends, by eating organic.
Sherri Silverman, Vastu consultant. All photos: Sherri Silverman