While cut flowers around my home have always been a necessity, I've recently become enthralled by houseplants and the power of green leaves.
Flowers silently demand center stage - as a centerpiece for a table, up high on a mantle, or close to our sleeping selves on a bedside table. They seduce us through their beauty, their scent.
Green foliage works its magic in a supporting role - waiting in the wings with a more subdued dramatic presence. A blossom's colors may capture our attention first, but the human eye can discern more shades of green than any other color.
I find myself drawn to plants with lush, gentle leaves - the Peace Lily has become close to an obsession, my local nursery joking that I'm cleaning them out of their inventory. Larger-leaved plants exchange more oxygen and are thus considered great air-washers. A row of Peace Lilies alongside my bed both creates a ravishing backdrop of deep green and purifies the air in which I sleep.
My shower has become something of a rainforest, with ferns, lilies, orchids and vines basking in the steamy atmosphere.
The Victorians adored their houseplants. Displaying exotic species from around the British empire in ornate stands and vessels was essential for an elegant, worldly interior. Conservatories for plants, rooms for sharing space with beautiful, verdant beings, were features in many fine homes.
I find that adorning your home with these living sculptures somehow adds more than just beauty and cleaner air - something akin to company.
They say plants respond positively to music. Around our piano are several plants in silent audience, which seemingly grow toward the emanating music.
I recently had a piano tuner out for service. The tuning and voicing process took 3 1/2 hours and occurred next to two ficuses. As he was putting away his tools, he said, "I have kind of a strange request: would you mind if I took a cutting from one of these? I'd like to try and propagate it at home."
"Of course not," I said, and cut off a shoot for him.
He thanked me and in the doorway reflected, "When you have a plant in your home, you need almost nothing else."
I have to agree.