GREEN house

De­sign­ing with pot­ted plants creates per­fect in­te­ri­orscape

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Colleen Zacharias

BIO­PHILIA, a con­cept in­tro­duced in the 1980s by Ed­ward O. Wil­son, de­scribes a hu­man’s nat­u­ral in­stinct to in­ter­act with na­ture and other forms of life. El­liott Ben­nett knows first­hand the value of bio­philic de­sign. The vice pres­i­dent of Air Strength Canada, a Win­nipeg-based com­pany, Ben­nett has grown up in a fam­ily busi­ness that con­nects work­place en­vi­ron­ments to na­ture through in­te­rior land­scap­ing with trop­i­cal plants. Plants are liv­ing or­gan­isms, says Ben­nett, and their in­te­gra­tion into our home and work en­vi­ron­ment, in ad­di­tion to re­mov­ing air pol­lu­tants, has been proven to evoke pos­i­tive, emo­tional and psy­cho­log­i­cal ben­e­fits. As a judge for Amer­i­can Hort’s In­ter­na­tional Plantscape Awards, Ben­nett has the op­por­tu­nity to see some of the most imag­i­na­tive ways to dis­play plants in­doors, from dra­matic liv­ing walls and in­no­va­tive wallflow­ers for cool, con­tem­po­rary sur­round­ings to ex­cit­ing plant pair­ings. Plants must be in op­ti­mum con­di­tion if they are to en­hance their sur­round­ings. Plants thrive in a stable en­vi­ron­ment, yet per­fect in­door en­vi­ron­ments rarely ex­ist, es­pe­cially in our cli­mate, says Ben­nett. En­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors such as in­door tem­per­a­ture, hu­mid­ity and light in­ten­sity are im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tions when con­sid­er­ing the place­ment of plants. Close prox­im­ity to drafts of icy cold air from open­ing and clos­ing ex­te­rior doors or to heat­ing vents or fire­places can stress plants. There is great di­ver­sity to choose from when se­lect­ing house­plants that are both tough and easy to grow. Aglaonema grows in low, medium or bright light. Ben­nett says his com­pany makes fre­quent use of the many va­ri­eties of aglaonema be­cause of their ver­sa­til­ity and adapt­abil­ity. Per­fect for table­tops, Red aglaonema has dark green leaves with strik­ing red or pink tones while Sil­ver­ado aglaonema (also known as Chi­nese ev­er­green) has lu­mi­nous, sil­very leaves. One of the eas­i­est, low-main­te­nance

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