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Indoor Gardening With Foliage Plants

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Plants grown primarily for their leaf characteristics and utilized for interior decoration or landscape purposes are called foliage plants. As our society becomes more urban, living plants as part of the interior landscape increases. The use of live foliage plants brings individuals closer to an outdoor type of environment, and the large variety of plants gives us the opportunity to select species that will serve as attractive additions to interior decor. Foliage plants are excellent for indoor culture since they are able to survive environmental conditions unfavourable to many other plants.

Most avid gardeners continue to grow plants year-round. We start seeds in the living room, grow ferns in the bathroom, bring in begonias from the outdoor garden year after year, and have pots of herbs in the kitchen. Today there are so many interesting plants that can be grown indoors that there’s simply no reason for a gardener not to be surrounded by plants all year-round.

Everyone can grow foliage plants indoors with little effort if the right plant is used in the right location. Large-leaved species such as rubber plants (Ficus elastica), Monstera deliciosa, dumb-cane (Dieffenbachia amoena), and Philodendron are especially suited to commercial building interiors. They provide the size required to make them focal points in interior landscaping. These large leaved-plants as well as the smaller specimens such as ferns, vines, and ivies can serve a similar purpose in the home or apartment.

Practical Steps To Buying House Plants

Indoor plants are raised in glass greenhouses in which the air is warm and humid. When brought into the average home, they need to withstand more adverse conditions than the average outdoor plant. Challenging conditions such as minimum light, inadequate ventilation, warmer temperatures, drafts, and dry air contribute to stressful conditions for plants. Considering the following points will help in the selection of house plants that will complement your interior décor and live for many years to come.

1. Strong and vigorous. Give the plant a quick shake. A plant that’s unsteady in its pot may not be well-rooted. Shaking the plant also tells you whether the plant has whiteflies that will scattered in every direction if the plant is infested.

2. Evergreen – Since it will be seen everyday of the year, plants need to be evergreen.

3. Attractive – Some of the foliage plants will flower from time to time, but the primary reason for purchasing is the plant’s foliage and how the plants grow. The leaves may be selected for their colour or form, or both and the growth habit should be attractive and require minimum maintenance.

4. Slow-growing – Select plants that are slow-growing without a lot of pruning or training. They will perform better over a longer period of time.

5. Crowded roots – Check the bottom of the plant for roots coming out of the drainage hole. Roots emerging from holes in the pot don’t necessarily mean that the plant is under-potted, but it’s frequently a first symptom. Root bound plants will require transplanting when you get the plant home.

6. Unhealthy roots – If you can, have the clerk take the plant out of the pot to check for crowded roots. Roots come in all shapes, sizes, and colours. They should always feel firm and not squishy. Squishy roots are a sign of root rot.

7. Stem or root rot – Sniff the potting mix. Signs of rot smell like the sickly sweet smell of a rotting potato. Don’t buy this plant, as it likely has a bad case of stem rot or root rot.

8. Leaf spots, yellowed leaves, or abundant leaf loss – Leaf spots can be a sign of disease or caused by the jostling of the plants in a garden centre. A yellow leaf or two at the base of the plant is nothing to worry about. If you see many yellow or fallen leaves, however, the plant’s probably stressed and therefore not a good choice. Damaged leaves never recover. Ask yourself whether you are willing to wait for the plant to produce new leaves or would you rather purchase a healthier looking specimen.

9. Leggy plants or brown leaf tips – These conditions are signs of a plant that has not received adequate care over a period of time. Spindly plants indicate a lack of adequate light.

10. Signs of insects or disease – Look under the leaves and at the leaf axils (the place where the leaf attaches to the stem) where most often pests hang out. Do not purchase this plant, as not only will you have a problem with it, but you may also infest the other plants in your home.

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Codependency – Do You Need to Be Needed?

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Maybe you grew up in a dysfunctional home in a codependent relationship. In the bestselling book, The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls tells of her hardscrabble childhood. Her father was an alcoholic, her mother abdicated her role as caregiver, and the children had to fend for themselves. Walls’ parents made their children serve them, not the other way around. Perhaps your situation is not so deeply dysfunctional, but it doesn’t have to be to grow up codependent.

What does it mean to be codependent?

Basically, you are codependent when you are in a relationship in which someone who is pathological, possibly with an addiction, controls you. The dysfunctional relationship puts you in a position to help or enable someone else to be immature, irresponsible or incompetent in some way.

Children who grew up with a tenuous bond with their parents, as Walls did, were in a constant state of anxiety. They had to forget their own needs, let alone what they wanted. They even had to forget who they were at their core in order to survive. You don’t have to be a child of an alcoholic to feel that you’re not good enough, and that your own feelings are unworthy. Children with parents suffering from narcissism, borderline personality disorders and other problems can feel equally insecure.

What happens when codependent children grow up?

As children, they learned to sublimate their needs, and most continue in that pattern. Their self-esteem has been eroded, so they need the approval of others, just as in their childhood. They pay more attention to others’ feelings and needs than their own and cater to others so they won’t be abandoned or rejected, as they fear they would have been as children. They have no ability to assert their own needs in a relationship, and often end up with a partner who continues the pattern of codependency.

Yet, having learned in childhood how to manage others, they can appear completely confident and competent. Because they are the person others depend on, they appear mentally and emotionally strong. They understand from experience that they shouldn’t depend on anyone else. They are the problem-solver, the caretaker, the decision-maker and the rescuer. They are driven by the need to be loved and accepted, as they never were by their parents or original caretakers.

Codependents need to be needed.

So they seek out someone who they can ‘help,’ and therefore feel good about themselves. But what often happens as the relationship evolves, is they support the other person’s negative behavior, whether it be incompetency, immaturity, irresponsibility or poor mental and physical health. If they end up with an alcoholic, for example, they enable the behavior by covering for their partner. They continue to rescue their partner-all the while feeling very needed-from problems. In actuality, they are accommodating unhealthy behavior. Unfortunately, the result is they prolong that behavior the longer they enable it.

More about codependency next time.

Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch.

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Amendoim – What is it and How Does it Stack Up to Other Exotic Hardwoods?

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As exotic hardwood floors continue to gain in popularity, Amendoim is sprouting up as a popular hardwood flooring option. But what is it exactly, and where does it come from?

Amendoim is commonly referred to as Brazilian Oak, although another species, Tauari, is also called Brazilian Oak, which has lead to a great deal of confusion among the flooring industry. It is grown in Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, and is also used to make fine furniture because it sands and shapes very well compared to other hardwoods.

Much like Brazilian Cherry, Amendoim has a reddish hue, but it has a more golden cast, particularly the sapwood. Amendoim Hardwood Floors have more swirls and rings than seen with Brazilian Cherry, but much like its sister specie, its soft brush strokes look as though they were painted on with watercolor. It will darken with sunlight, also like Brazilian Cherry Hardwood Floors, but it’s a much more subtle difference.

Also like Brazilian Cherry and other exotics, Amendoim is very, very strong, showing top ratings on the Janka hardness scale – 1912, which is above maple and red oak, and equivalent to Santos Mahogany. Brazilian Walnut is considered the strongest at 3680.

Amedoim is available in both solid and engineered hardwoods, with some engineered collections offering very inexpensive options. Engineered products range from $2.89 per square foot to $6.69 depending on the finish, distressing techniques, plank width, and thickness.

You can find solid Amendoim floors ranging from $4.09 per square foot for smaller spaces up to $7.70 for 5 ½ inch wide planks, which are typically the best sellers in all wood flooring products.

Price-wise, Amendoim is somewhat similar to Brazilian Cherry, perhaps a little more expensive, but much of that depends on what you’re looking to do. Handscraped floors will cost more than smoother finishes regardless of the specie. Brazilian Cherry seems to have more engineered options on the market with cheaper prices, but if you’re set on something solid, Amendoim is cheaper.

If you’re still exploring your options for a floor, have a free hardwood floor sample sent to your home so you can actually see the product and cut of the wood. This is particularly important with Amendoim because you could either be getting the tan sapwood or the reddish heartwood. Some cuts have lots of swirls and others don’t. You just want to be sure that you’re getting what you pay for.

A reputable exotic flooring retailer can walk you through the selection process and help you figure out if Amendoim is right for your home.

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How to Clean and Fix Your Oscillating Fan

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When cleaning the fan, you will need the following things:

-a screwdriver, to open the fan

-detergent and some warm water to clean it

-dry cloth or a towel to wipe off the remaining water

Not really a lot of things, right? Well, that’s one more benefit of oscillating fans-they are really easy to open and clean. An oscillating fan cools down more air than a regular fan, so it’s more likely to get dirty faster and more often. That’s why it’s design must allow easy cleaning.

So, the first thing you have to do in order to clean the fan safely is to unplug it from the electricity. After that wipe off the surface dust from the fan. When you have done that, you can begin disassembling it. Remove the grill by unscrewing the screws that keep it together. Some grills don’t have crews but clips and that makes the process even easier. Remove the blades by taking off the screws that keep them attached to the fan. Now you can use detergent to clean the grill and the blades. Be very careful with this because you don’t want any electrical components to get wet. After that use a dry towel or a cloth to dry the washed parts. Before reassembling, the grill and the blades should be left for some minutes to dry a bit more. That way, you will avoid getting injured or breaking down your fan. Reassemble the fan in the reversed order in which the parts were removed. Tightly screw in all the screws, plug it in and test it. Your crispy clean fan should now work perfectly, the ticking is probably gone, and the air is better because you stopped the accumulated dust from spreading around the room.

If you can hear the clicking noise while the head of the fan moves it could be just dirt. However, it could be that the gears are worn or loose. You will have to open it anyway so unplug it and to that.

– Take a screw driver and unscrew the grill of the fan. Take off the blades and clean them altogether with the grill, the shaft and the motor housing. For the grill and the blades you can use only water and detergent but for the shaft and the motor housing vacuum cleaning wouldn’t be such a bad idea. While you are there inspect the motor. If the gears look OK put everything back together again in the reverse order and plug the fan in the electricity. The fan should be running quietly now.

– If the gears look like they need a replacement or tightening up, then your work is not done yet. First check the set screw. If it’s loose tighten it up because this screw balances the blades and when it gets loose they are not balanced correctly and that may cause the buzzing and clicking sound.

– Also inspect the gear assembly and the motor housing. Try tightening them up. If you can then all should be good. But, if they can’t be tightened that means that they are worn and you have to replace them. After they are tightened or replaced lubricate the shaft and reassemble your fan.

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