This pandemic has definitely made us go back to our roots. Staying home 24/7 may be difficult but it brought us some time from our busy lives. Transportation and traffic, long meetings, lunch breaks and other activities wasted our time, and not constructively. Now we have more time to spend as a family, getting bored (yes, psychologists say that getting a little bored is healthy!) and searching for new creative activities. The cores of each society, families, are getting back together, becoming united and enjoying the luxury of time that allows us to know each other better. A stronger core of society leads to a united society.
Working from home can be helpful to rearrange your program and stop habits that waste your time. Time is the most precious and expensive good – we can never buy it back – and we had forgotten about it. Instead of screen time in social media, you can start a new project for making your house a better place to live in. Gardening is a great example of creative activity. There is no need for special skills or a big space. Kids and plants are the same. They need love, water, food, and sun to thrive. There are many ways to put plants into your life.
If you are lucky enough to have a balcony, you can choose to either plant seasonal flowering plants or perennial plants, mini trees and shrubs which can also live in the low temperatures of New York. Even though decorating a Christmas tree is not a Greek tradition, the species Abies alba (the ‘white’ pine tree) and Abies cephalonica (the pine tree from Kefalonia island) are native to Greece and easy to keep in big pots. Find a corner of your balcony for it throughout the year – and also use it as a real tree for Christmas! Alternatively, keeping an olive tree can make the Christmas tree tradition more ‘Greek-ish’ (there are ‘strong’ varieties for low temperatures) and is not a big deal to maintain. Keeping small trees and shrubs in a big pot with wheels make them easier to move indoors or outdoors, towards the sun, and do not need frequent water like annual flowering plants.
If you choose aromatic plants like thyme, oregano, sage, marjoram, and lavender, remember to ‘sunbathe’ them in your sunniest place, in order to give you the most aroma. In contrast, do not water them frequently as their roots do not like being soaked. A small amount of water now and then will be ideal for them. Also, many aromatic plants usually do not survive in temperatures below zero. Indoor plants like pothos, spider, English ivy, peace lily, rubber tree, ficus, and many more are easy to take care of. They do not need a lot of sun, and you can water them less than once a week. Most of these plants are native to tropical forests, so low temperature is a big no no.
Whatever your choices, plants in our house will improve the air you breathe, your psychology, and your interior decoration. Planting and taking care of the house can be a family activity, mainly when you have young children, and can be easier than taking care of a pet! Last but not least, take advantage of our spare time by making a new family tradition: trees and shrubs are essentially immortal and can pass from one generation to another.
Evropi-Sofia Dalampira is an Agriculturist-MSc Botany-Biology and PhD Candidate in Agricultural-Environmental Education and Science Communication.