Is squash the new monstera?
A passion for plants can forever change the environment we live in. Both on a micro scale - on the scale of our apartment, garden, office, and on a macro scale - on our city, country and world. "Column of Kasia Vesterska and Michal Depa - parents of plants from the botanical project ro_ślinka.
The vegetable trend has emerged relatively recently. It wasn't until 2017 that Pantone named green the color of the year, and that's when Instagram was massively filled with leaf photos. People fell in love with plants again. No one will be surprised to see a couple walking briskly through the city with a large plant in a plastic pot, which will soon be placed in a representative place in the apartment. We are also not surprised that in the bookstore we can find no less than fifty different books on how not to kill a favorite plant and how to choose it for the interior with mutual benefit. How did it all start?
The first traces of people transferring nature to the interior can be found already at ancient sites.
Greek paintings. This need was officially stated in the early seventeenth century when the English gardener Sir Hugh Plath published his texts on the cultivation of potted plants. He was the first to mention the transfer of gardens to cramped bourgeois interiors. Josiah Wedgwood, the forerunner of mass production of ceramics, added his three cents later. Wedgwood not only began large-scale production of flower pots, but also began to dictate the development trends of pots in his own way. The ideal breeding vessel should be practical, stable (but lightweight), roomy, and highlight the beauty of the plants, he said. And of course at an affordable price.
These features may be related to Dieter Rams' postulates of good design, but it is enough to look at Wedgwood pots to understand that functionality was not in the first place - it was inferior to ornament in the first place. The plants themselves were treated differently. With the onset of the Victorian era, the era of industrial pollution, there was a time of real splendor for greenery. Plants appeared everywhere. It was then that terrariums, home greenhouses and the first heating systems began to be created, imitating the conditions of tropical forests, and therefore the first palm houses. Thus, cities intuitively wanted to breathe.
It was only in the second half of the twentieth century that attention was drawn to the sick building syndrome. It was noticed that the modern buildings at that time negatively affected the health of the people living in them. The sealed rooms with synthetic finishes were filled with musty, polluted air. NASA has become interested in this issue, since the spaces described above are also the reality of the astronaut's workplace. Tests have shown that harmful compounds present in the air can be easily eliminated by several types of plants planted in the ground.
At the end of the twentieth century, plants were again turned into interior items. They began to play a purely decorative role in homes that quickly ceased to be attractive. As a result, we have recently relocated greenery from our homes. We began to treat potted plants as a heirloom - old age was like a school, clinic, or grandparents, where ferns always fell.
Today this approach is changing. Concerned about the deteriorating air quality, we revisit the results of the NASA study. Smog is a challenge that
cities are trying to cope with this in many ways, including planning green spaces.
Trees in the city lower the air temperature, produce oxygen and absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide. However, the best results are achieved when nature meets technology. Berlin's proposal called CityTree seems to be an effective solution. These are screens made up of different types of mosses that fight for clean air in cities. One screen is as effective as 275 trees planted and takes up 99% less floor space, absorbing up to 240 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
Today's architects are actively exploring the need to be surrounded by nature, especially in the context of seeking a private refuge in large cities where there is little room for a garden. Danish studio BIG's projects take into account green spaces, which gives residents of modern apartment buildings the opportunity to have their own functional garden in the city center. In 2020, China will build its first fully green city, the Liuzhou Forest City. Thirty thousand people, forty thousand trees and a million plants will live in it.
These design ideals aren't just about location. Think of the old zoos that were full of concrete, metal barriers, and trellises. These are slowly relics of the past. The BIG ZOOTOPIA project aims to transform Copenhagen Zoo into a collection of modern ecosystems that allow different species of animals to live together in an environment similar to their natural one, without artificial barriers.
Trend researchers predict that in the near future, we will limit our items to the bare minimum. We will pay more attention to experience, being, "being". For plants, this will require further study of their miraculous functions. We already know that green has a significant impact on us and our environment, which is also supported by scientific research. The conscious use of plants is part of the biophilic design trend that is driving new architectural and urban designs around the world. And how does this compare with our “usual” use of plants? We still choose species most often in terms of aesthetics, but fortunately, we are increasingly aware of the functionality of plants.We often want to set up a private clean air plant in the bedroom.
on the balconies not only mint, basil and possibly cherry tomatoes, but maybe zucchini? Cucumber? Salad? Intuitively and in the dark, we decide to practice indoor plants, but this is a great start to deliberately harness the power of urban gardening. We are all looking for unprocessed foods from reputable, preferably local sources. We will soon - in the footsteps of Singapore's current Edible Garden City - create community gardens that all residents will manage and use. In addition, such gardens operate on a small scale in Warsaw. In offices - instead of boring non-interactive zamiokulkas - there will be stakes with potted tomatoes, which employees will take care of.Plants will become an occasion for meeting and collaboration, the consequences of which (literally) will bear fruit. Communication with nature will go beyond the casual encounters we now have, with indoor plants out of context, crammed into the comfort of our homes.
A passion for plants can forever change the environment we live in. Both on a micro scale - on the scale of our apartment, garden, office, and on a macro scale - our city, country and world. By caring for plants, we become more attentive, sensitive and purposeful, and they help us take care of our environment. By deliberately building relationships with plants, we become better, which leads to a better world in the future.
About the authors - ro_ślinka
Plant parents and green advocates in homes and public spaces. They have a botanical shop in Poznan. They discuss, advise, save, search and acquire. They help select the right green company for everyone - from individualists to workers, offices and local gastronomy. They do not believe in a "hand to plants", because everyone can successfully plant greenery in their lives - all you need is a heart and good intentions!