Sustainability, Biodiversity, Biophilia and Building a Better Future

The pandemic has heightened environmental awareness.  As COVID-19 swept through all our lives and made huge changes to the way we have had to live, this has given us time for introspection and reflection on the fragility of our planet and our core values. What is important to us?   That is the question that we have asked ourselves.  The answer?  Looking after our physical and mental health as well as the planet that we live on.

In an article published in June 2019, the Guardian wrote that Briton’s are more worried about the climate crisis than the economy, crime, or any other issues.

 

Sustainability, biodiversity, and wellbeing issues are complex interconnected subjects. Everything we do and how we live impacts the planet, our health, and our wellbeing.  It’s very clear that we need to make better choices and decisions to improve our situation in all these areas, it requires a holistic approach.

The mental health foundation, who chose nature as their theme for Mental Health Awareness week this year, published the results from recent research which shows that one of our top coping strategies during lockdown was to go for walks outside and that 45% of us reported that being in green spaces had been vital for our mental health.  Another example of our yearning for nature to help us cope during this period was that websites showing footage from Webcams of wildlife saw hits increased by over 2000%.

It is no wonder then that sustainability, biodiversity, and other green issues are at the top of the agenda for most people. Organisations understand the importance of this and of their own corporate social responsibility to ingrain this into their values.  It is wonderful to see that most leading organisations now have appointed a Head of Sustainability role.   This is a senior leadership position that takes an overarching responsibility for ensuring that sustainability and corporate social responsibility are considered in all areas of operations within the business.

Over the past year, the majority of us have had our lives turned upside down. Working from home, schooling from home, cut off from physical contact with friends and family.   With everything from holidays to weddings cancelled, we had a lot more time on our hands.  As well as giving us time and space to think about the important things, we have proved that it is possible to work and learn from home, spend more time in nature and in relative comfort, less time commuting, and have less impact on the planet as a result. We now have the opportunity to reassess, re-evaluate and build back in a better way, that suits us as individuals.  The most innovative and successful companies are adapting to this by offering their staff a hybrid model and flexibility to support their work life balance.

How can we create a better future? This is the question, and it is also the opportunity, that is being facilitated by designers, architects, and leaders in the property management sector.

“The future will belong to the nature smart – those individuals, families, businesses and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real”.  Richard Louv – ‘The Nature Principle’.

The co-working sector, in particular, looks set for a boom as they specifically offer flexibility and attractive collaborative working spaces.  Innovative companies like our client Fora Space feature impressive, biophilic-design led spaces, linked to nature, and are leading from the front in this sector.

The importance of good design linking us to nature is better understood now, especially since we have spent the past year being able to access our gardens and local parks more frequently. The truth is that in this country we spend more than 90% of our time indoors and we have changeable unreliable weather. So, we have a real need to bring nature inside if we are to benefit from it year-round, and as we make the transition back to working from an office.  Working in spaces that feel more natural and include planting gives us the boost that we yearn for. In turn, it also boosts our health and well-being, helping us to cope with stressful situations.

We can, and should make better use of outside spaces to create gardens and pocket parks in cities.  This will increase the amount of greenery, and by selecting plants that attract nature and provide a natural habitat for wildlife, we are supporting biodiversity.  We need to maximise opportunities here,  joining up the green spaces between London’s parks, improving the views for the local community, and improving the environment. Planting additional trees wherever that is possible, helps absorb carbon, provides shade cover, and produces additional oxygen, cleaning the air.  Every small improvement adds up to make a significant difference.

At Planteria we work with a wide variety of clients including property management companies, designers and architects, collaborating on projects that improve the environment and enhance people’s well-being.

As a company, we are committed to sustainability ourselves, and an ongoing effort to improving our practices and operations in this area.

We are working to reduce plastics from our supply chain; our online plant shop – Foli8, uses coir hair pots instead of plastic.  These pots are 100% natural and made from coconut fibres. We are moving to a green company fleet and have just switched over half the fleet to electric vans.  At our head office, we keep sheep instead of mowing the lawns! We recycle and we compost all our green waste.  We also harvest rainwater as our first choice for watering our plant stocks.

 

Can we help you achieve your sustainability and corporate social responsibility goals? Please get in touch so we can discuss your ambitions.


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Sustainability – what is it and why is it important?

Sustainability is much more than a buzzword. While the use of the word has certainly increased in frequency, the concept itself is hardly new. An ecosystem, a lifestyle, or a community that is sustainable is one which supports itself and its surroundings.
Sustainability itself can be defined by three core elements:

  • Environmental Protection
  • Social Development
  • Economic Development

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Environmental Protection

Environmental protection entails examining how our use of the environment affects it, and how we can ensure that negative effects are minimised and behaviours that positively impact the environment are emphasised.

Social Development

Ensuring that human beings have access to basic resources, that their health is being protected, and that they enjoy a good quality of life within a sustainable environment is crucial.

Economic Development

Sustainability without economic development simply cannot succeed. In order to convince individuals, communities, and organisations to invest their resources in sustainability, there must be incentives above and beyond the long-term advantages.

Why is it so Important?

Sustainability is important for a very simple reason: we cannot maintain our quality of life or the Earth’s ecosystems unless we embrace it.

Sustainability in the Home

There are many different ways to support sustainability at home.

Recycle

Recycling should be something we’re all doing as a matter of course now. Recycling eases pressure on the world’s resources and the environment.

Growing Food

Giving up a portion of your garden to plant vegetables has become increasingly popular in recent years. Container gardens, which can be moved and easily swapped out, are another great choice.

Conserving Water

Choosing plants native to your area that have evolved to thrive under the naturally present conditions is one choice. You can also consider installing rain barrels, depending on your local regulations, or planting a “rain garden”—planting water-loving foliage in areas where water tends to gather, to allow it to be absorbed into the soil rather than running off into storm drains.

Use of Fertilizers, Pesticides, and Herbicides

The chemicals you use on your lawn matter, and not just to your grass. Using safer, organic alternatives can help you keep your landscaping looking lovely without polluting or endangering the ecosystem. Lawn and garden care chemicals can have lasting effects on plants, animals, and insects in your area, and can also have a negative impact on the water supply.

There are so many ways to embrace sustainability, we hope this blog has given you some ideas to get you started.


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The Hottest Plant Trends Right Now – Green Plants Are Good For You

Where are you right now?  Whilst some are working from the office, others are working from home.  Where ever you are, you’ll likely agree that your environment is very important, perhaps now more than ever.  That’s not surprising when you consider that your environment plays a big part in impacting your frame of mind.

The World Happiness Report 2020 concludes that globally, there is evidence suggesting that being exposed to green natural environments improves mental well-being, reducing stress, increasing positive emotions and cognitive restoration.

The report goes on to say that “The health benefits of green, natural environments may also have an indirect positive impact by encouraging certain behaviours, for example, physical health and longevity, and thereby happiness”.   Given that most of us spend around 90% of our time indoors and with restrictions on socialising because of Covid19, and the winter coming, this is not likely to reduce, we seriously need to think about how to include some nature into our indoor environments both at home and in the office (which may be the same place!).

One of the easiest ways to add some greenery to your life is with houseplants.  We take a look at our TOP FIVE plants, those that are most loved and coveted by our Corporate Clients.  The great news in that these plants work just as well in the home as they do in the office!

 

Ficus Lyrata

This is a beautifully tall, majestic plant with large oval deep green leaves, also called a Fiddle Leaf Fig.  Could it be the ‘INNEST’ plant of 2020?  This is the plant featured in every interior design magazine.

Don’t be put off owning one of these as they only require a moderate amount of attention.  Allow the top 2 inches of soil to dry out between water applications, and go easy, don’t let the plant to sit in water as they are susceptible to root rot if they stay to wet. Originating from the tropics, misting the leaves every couple of days will provide a good amount of humidity for this plant to thrive.

A beautiful Ficus Lyrata in the home

Monstera Deliciosa

Another stunner with an equally wonderful name!  This plant originates from the rainforests of Southern Mexico and is most commonly known as a ‘Cheese Plant’ due to the holes in its distinctive green leaves.  This is a favourite with our clients for providing real impact and is often used in a cluster of 3 mixed plants in a corner of a board room or reception.

Easy to care for, water every week or so allowing the top soil to dry out before watering, and mist regularly to create a humid environment.

Monstera deliciosaRhipsalis

This pretty, frondy plant, looks great hanging up or on a desk or coffee table.  It has become a real favourite with our clients as the trend for accessory planting has grown.  This trend is all about using planting as an integral part of the design scheme, using a large amount of planting arranged in racking or on shelving, featuring containers that pick out the accent shades of soft furnishings.

Also known as ‘Mistletoe Cactus’, Rhipsalis has fast-growing bright green tendrils. Originating from the rainforests of central and south America, this plant will add a tropical feel to your home, and as an added benefit, it’s a great air purifier.

Rhipsalis is easy going and needs a light touch on the watering.  Don’t over-water and always check soil moisture levels first. The top 2 inches of soil should be dry before any additional water is applied, usually once every 1.5 weeks depending on light and room temperature levels.

rhipsalis in an orange hanging potFicus Benjamina Tree

Ficus ‘Benjamina’ is one of over 800 species of Ficus, this evergreen plant is relatively easy to care for if positioned in the right location. Commonly nicknamed ‘Weeping Fig’ for its long drooping branches and clusters of small oval shaped leaves, this plant will add a jungle feel to any home.

Benjaminia needs a little more t.l.c, give her regular watering, again a good rule to follow is to check the top 2 inches of soil before watering, allow this to dry out between water applications, but do not allow your plant to sit in water as she is susceptible to root rot.  Mist once a week with filtered water to replicate a humid environment and do not allow to dry out completely.

Ficus benjamina in the home
Calathea Medalion

Calathea ‘Medallion’ is another favourite of our clients.  We often plant this with other mixed plants of a similar size to provide a real jungle feel in cabinet top planters or troughs.  It is equally as lovely on its own, with its large, oval shaped leaves and distinctive green purple and pink variegation, this plant is a real showstopper. The common saying “to turn over a new leaf” is thought to originate from the Calathea, as their leaves close up at night and re-open in the morning.

Calathea is fairly easy to keep, make sure the soil is evenly moist and do not allow to completely dry out, water once a week after checking the moisture levels. The top 1 inch of soil should be dry before adding water, mist leaves once a week and never use leaf shine.

Calathea 'Medallion' at home

We hope we have inspired you to think about hiring some office plants, or even enjoying a bit of greenery by getting some plants for your home office!

Don’t forget to follow us on our socials, or sign up for our emails, for all the latest tips and news.


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Return To The Office – How Plants Can Help

In March, people from all over the UK found themselves in a unique situation. Most were not used to working from home but, suddenly, had to adapt to a new situation. Remote working quickly became the norm and many people have truly enjoyed the experience; however, there is no denying that this type of work also has several drawbacks.

Below, we’re taking a look at the good and bad of working from home – and how plants can help to prepare for a return to the office.

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

Pros

Apart from self-employed individuals, such as freelancers, remote working was new for the vast majority of people. Most have adapted very well to the circumstances and have reported an increase in their productivity and efficiency. In fact, in a recent survey, 43% of bosses surveyed found that remote work had a positive impact on productivity since lockdown started.

After all, working from home allows you to have more flexibility when it comes to work hours, since you are able to create or adapt your schedule to fit your lifestyle. This means more time with family too.

It might also be your case that working in an office means having to deal with distractions that bring down your productivity levels; so, you may find that working from home allows you to focus on work and makes it easier to take a break.

Another benefit is not having to commute. Not only is commuting time-consuming and, therefore, an interference on work-life balance, but it can also be expensive. Due to this, you probably appreciate being able to save money on fuel or train fares; working from home also means you’re not spending money on coffee runs and eating out.

Cons

However, while there is no doubt that working from home offers a host of benefits, it can also have several downsides, which make people keen to return to the office.

A big issue with remote working is isolation. If you’re used to chatting with colleagues on a daily basis, you probably miss the face-to-face interactions and might end up feeling lonely. Loneliness is not conducive to productivity or creativity. On the contrary, if you feel lonely, you will likely feel less motivated and without energy as well.

Another disadvantage of remote working is how boring the experience can quickly become. Before the COVID-19 pandemic and world-wide lockdown measures, you may have dreamed of working from home. However, it’s clear that looking at the same four walls every day without a change of scenery can be harmful to your mental health. This means cabin fever, stress or depression.

Working from home blurs the lines between professional and personal lives, as you may have been forced to work from your kitchen, bedroom or living room. Not every home environment is appropriate for remote work either, be it because of children in the room or simply lack of space, which can have a negative impact on work.

Something else to consider is how out of touch people have felt with their wider business community and with their clients. In the office, it’s easier for you to communicate with your peers, partners and customers but, when working from home, these connections are not as strong.

Returning to the Office

A lot of people are still working remotely but a return to the office is now imminent.

Of course, it’s not expected that businesses demand everyone returns to the office at once. This will likely be a phased-in return in line with current government guidance, which will see the slow re-introduction of the office to the many individuals working from home or on furlough.

It’s crucial that workplaces ensure the safety and comfort of their staff, and you’ll be surprised at the key role plants can play in this process.

Plant Barriers

For example, office plants can be used to delineate areas and teams. They allow you to implement social distancing measures easily and, because you’re using plants instead of tape to mark spaces, your employees can benefit from a green and aesthetically pleasing office.

A 2016 study found that cognition can be boosted by 26% in green workspaces, and that people’s wellbeing and productivity improve with plants around them as well. This makes adding green barriers to the office a great argument.

Replacing Desks with Plants

If, because of social distancing, you have to remove desks, you don’t want the office to look sparse and empty. Adding plants to the newly vacated spots is a great solution because it makes the office look attractive and vibrant.

Plants Help with Anxiety

A fantastic benefit of plants in the office is that they ease anxiety and stress levels, perfect to help with the current circumstances.

Plants reduce stress at work, as they help people feel calmer and more positive. Both having visual access to plants and being allowed to care for them (passive and active involvement) can have a calming effect. So, by adding plants to the workplace, you can help your staff fight anxiety and stay relaxed.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you to prepare for a return to the office with our plants and to create a peaceful environment that your employees will love.

 

 


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6 Plants That Induce Sleep

The Daily Mirror once reported that over a third of the British public was suffering from sleep problems. The NHS have since provided a report that considers the methods in which this information was gathered, and how much the results should be trusted. To surmise, the final evaluation was that the report was not, and never pretended to be, a scientific study and therefore should be treated with caution.

On the other hand, it is not wrong that a worryingly large percentage of people do struggle with their sleep, and poor sleep can negatively impact an individual’s life in many areas. The Daily Mirror brought sleep back to the centre of public thought, and since then, other studies about how sleep patterns affect mental health and physical health have become more widely read.

Bedroom with plants biophillia

How Can I Improve My Sleep?

There are many things that you can do to improve your sleep. You could avoid taking caffeinated products and drinks before bedtime, engage in relaxing activities before bed, and set regular times to encourage good habits, but you could also consider adding some plant life to your bedroom.

We are experts with indoor plants and indoor flowers, so let us help you to achieve a better night’s sleep with some natural interior design changes.

 

Lavender

The scent of lavender is well known for being relaxing. Scientifically, it has been shown to reduce blood pressure and heart rate, which is beneficial if you find yourself struggling with anxiety when you get into bed.

Many people use lavender spray on their pillows, others use pouches of dried lavender in their pyjama drawers to scent their sleep clothes, but we think that the best solution is a pot of fresh lavender by your bed. Lavender has a beautiful colour that you will appreciate every morning, whilst its scent calms your nights.

Lavender plants like warmth and sunlight, so keep one on your windowsill.

(Sansevieria) Snake Plant

Air quality is another factor that might be affecting your ability to sleep easily and through the night. We spend a lot of time breathing moisture into our bedrooms, and this can increase the humidity levels in the room, especially if you keep the door shut as this decreases air circulation around your house.

High humidity increases the likelihood of mould and dust mites, which can affect your ability to breathe and leave you with a poor night’s sleep. Snake plants are great at pumping oxygen into your bedroom to improve your air quality, and their large leaves are also good for removing plenty of harmful chemicals such as xylene, trichloroethylene, toluene, benzene, and formaldehyde.

Peace Lily

Air that is too damp can cause plenty of problems, but dry air can also be an issue for sleep. If your bedroom has an issue with dry air, you might be better using a peace lily. These lilies can increase your bedroom’s humidity by up to 5%, which is known to decrease dry skin and hair, static electricity, and increased susceptibility to colds (ApartmentTherapy).

A peace lily will not require much watering or light, so you can keep it right next to your bed without worrying that it has enough resources.

Aloe

Aloe is a popular plant in most households, famous for its ability to soothe minor cuts, burns, bites and dry skin – but have you thought about introducing one into your bedroom? Aloe vera makes oxygen at night-time, which is great for your bedroom’s environment. Aloe likes a lot of sun, so keep it in the window next to your lavender.

Happy aloe plant

Areca Palm

Areca palm is known for being one of the best air purifiers. Like the snake plant, it has great ability in removing toxins from the air. The areca palm is also a natural air humidifier, ensuring that bedroom maintains great air quality while you sleep.

This plant requires a lot of bright but indirect light. If the light is too harsh, the leaves will turn yellow. Keep your areca palm healthy by keeping the soil moist during the spring and summer, allowing it to dry out between watering in autumn and winter.

English Ivy

If your bedroom struggles with damp, English ivy is another plant that can help to combat some of the issues that could be causing poor respiration in your bedroom. This sprawling, leafy plant is fantastic at collecting airborne mould – preventing you from ingesting it and developing an infection.

Are Plants in the Bedroom Harmful?

No, most plants are not harmful to keep in your bedroom. Plants produce small amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) during the day which some people worry about, but they produce far less than a human partner or pet and are therefore they are not harmful to your home. These plants’ ability to produce oxygen means that they are actually very beneficial sleeping partners.

For more information about putting plants on your premises, go to our blog.


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Outside Spaces and How to Make the Most of Them

Outside spaces at the workplace can often be forgotten about, but we’re looking to change that.  An outside space can be a place for relaxation, re-energising, and creativity.  We strive to encourage more businesses to incorporate popular biophilic trends by blurring the lines between indoors and out – and we love to discuss the benefits of doing so.

Here, you can learn about some of the best ways to use your outdoors spaces, as well as how to bring a piece of the outdoors into your establishment with indoor office plants.

Flexible Meeting Spaces

If you’re working in close proximity to a park or garden, using this space to hold meetings could prove to be great for morale – especially during warm weather.  Of course, we wouldn’t recommend hosting any meetings that will include information that is confidential to your clients, but taking a break from the office to discuss internal changes, processes or brainstorming will maintain efficiency with time, and may even help your workers to stay productive later into the working day.

 

Informal Lunch Area

Many offices have difficulty keeping their indoor air quality at healthy levels, so encouraging staff to take a break in the outdoors can improve  health and concentration. Particle pollution is known to poorly affect physical and mental health, and indoor spaces are typically ten times worse for this pollution than outdoors. Taking a break from particle pollution can do wonders for the help and headspace of your staff, so if it’s a nice day – why not suggest a picnic? Ideally, if you do have some viable outdoor space at your office, providing table and chairs to create an alfresco area which can be used for eating, taking a coffee break or having an informal meeting is an excellent idea.

Breakout!

Help to boost health and wellbeing, by turning your outdoor space into a useable attractive area for a quick spell outside for formalised lunchtimes. When under duress a break outside can help staff to reset and return with a fresh can-do attitude, whether they’ve just struggled with an intense call with a client or business partner, or a busy morning with back-to-back activity. Plants and nature have plenty of restorative qualities. Your business could easily be enjoying these benefits with minimal cost.  The added benefit of topping up vitamin D levels in the sunshine and taking in the view of green plants will also help to improve immune systems to work optimally and keep your workforce healthier and happier.

Bringing the Outdoors IN

In many cases, a green attractive outdoor space may not be within a lunchtime walking distance of the office.  And you may not be lucky enough to have accessible outdoor space of your own.  In this case, you may be looking to bring aspects of the outdoors into your workspace so that staff and guests can still reap some of the benefits of natural elements and plants.

Looking around your office, you may find some areas that can easily be converted into a green space. Think about you dining area, or communal areas such as locker tops, or break out rooms.  Here are some popular methods that modern businesses use to bring biophilic benefits into their place of work:

Entrances

Often overlooked but integral to the first impressions of your business, the entrance can be a fabulous place to start adding some greenery.  Not only important for your guests, a green entrance will suggest positivity to your workers as they enter and leave your establishment.

There are a number of methods for increasing your kerb-appeal, including window boxes and external green walls, but you might also choose to add an internal moss wall to your lobby area, large and unique planting options by the door, and table posies in waiting areas.

If you’re interested about installing a moss wall or green living wall for your business, we recommend reading our blogs on this topic:

Can I have a Living Wall?

It’s Alive! Buildings with Living Walls

Moss Walls: Q & A

 

Roof

Green roofing is a brilliant idea – looking out for your office window, a green roof nearby brings brilliant rural landscapes a little closer to city-orientated businesses. Our brains respond very positively to colour, and views to nature so the sight of a verdant green roof could prove to be quite inspiring, boosting productivity and creativity.

There may be a group near you that you can help to get involved with green initiatives. A BID (Business Improvement District) will typically group neighbouring businesses in an effort to improve their local working area together, and sometimes, this might include making their views greener by collaboratively installing green roofs.

Balcony and Terraces

Balconies and terraces can be a great place for workers to enjoy a brief respite in the fresh air, but you can bring nature even closer by installing some beautiful window boxes or planters to add to the relaxing vibe and make them visually beautiful.

Could your business be making more of outside spaces, or is it more feasible for you to create some green spaces inside your own office area?  We love all things biophilic and can help you with any green design queries that you might have, so speak to one of our friendly team about your ideas soon.

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Can I have a Living Wall?  And What ‘Green Wall’ alternatives are there?

Without a doubt, living walls look stunning and provide large swathes of real planting from floor to ceiling, creating a real impact…

A living wall can have numerous benefits in business environments; they can help to make staff more productive in the workplace and are equally important in improving the perception of your brand. In this article, you can find out the main points to consider when thinking about a living wall for your space, and why it could be important for your staff or guests.

Green Wall for CTA

Can I have a living wall?

Almost definitely yes! Or at least, the effect that a living wall can give. We create bespoke walls for your requirements, though there will be some spaces more suited to live living walls than others.

A living wall works best in a well-lit space with plenty of room and fresh air circulating. For example, entrance atriums and large reception areas with hard or concrete floors. It is ideal to install them when a building is being constructed so that the irrigation system can be put in and the living wall placed on top. This can also off-set some of the cost, as the wall won’t need plastering and painting.

If you have a carpeted area or a space with lower light levels, such as a restaurant or traditional carpeted office reception, you could consider an artificial living wall instead. These look beautiful and give a very similar effect, creating the same kind of wow factor. For office spaces, moss walls also make an excellent option for giving a high impact finish, they are easy to retrofit and require minimal ongoing maintenance.

Another option to include real, live planting without the commitment and expense of a full living wall, is to opt for live dividers or panels. These are self-contained green modular products and give a great effect. These can be replanted on a regular basis to give a different look and so can be treated like art installations. You can also use them to give seasonal variation to your location…

tall green wall in a clean white entry space

Where is the best location for different types of green walls?

The best type of wall for you will depend on your location and the requirements of the plants you select. For example, some plants need more light than others so if you are planning to place your living wall in a bright and airy reception, you will have lots of options for the type of plants you can use.  For dark areas, you may need a growing light. You can also opt for moss walls or artificial living walls as these are perfect options for many spaces. Moss walls look exquisite when executed by professional plant technicians like Planteria. With lots of colour options and three different types of moss to choose from; bun moss, flat moss or reindeer moss, there are lots of variations to make your wall unique. You can also include your logo or a message and have something bespoke and specific to your company.

Here’s some more reading material on living walls to get you inspired for your new project:

It’s Alive! Buildings with Living Walls

Moss Walls: Q & A

 

What is A living picture and what types of living walls are there?

A living picture is a self-contained piece of art with a frame and a central section of planting. Living pictures look beautiful and can be hung singularly or in groups.  Also available in this type of product are living panels and dividers. These are easy to maintain and a cheaper option than a full-scale living wall. There are lots of options for different types of planting and it can be regularly changed to give different effects throughout the year. If you move offices, you can even take these with you which you can’t do with a traditional built-in living wall.

When would I opt for Moss wall?

We supply sixteen different colours of preserved moss which can be used to beautifully create bespoke walls and even replicate your logo. Most moss is not recommended for use in exterior positions, but for interiors it is easy to manage and control. It is lightweight and fairly straightforward to install, making it ideal for most office environment.

Why would I choose an artificial living wall?

An artificial living wall brings many of the design benefits of a real living wall, with far less maintenance or ongoing costs associated with a real living wall. Obviously, an artificial plant does not grow, and you won’t reap the benefits of the air cleansing and CO2 absorption that you get with real planting. You also need to consider that artificial planting, made from plastics, is not as environmentally friendly as the real deal. However, just like interior furnishings, they last a long time and can be moved with you if you are moving offices, so this should be weighed up in your considerations.

moss wall plants living wall broccoli and cauliflower

Which are best and why?

There is no right answer to this question as whether you opt for a traditional built in living wall with its own Irrigation system, an artificial living wall, a living picture,  panel, divider, or moss wall, will largely depend on your vision for your premises and the constraints of your environment and budget.

When planning in your green wall, you need to ask your plant provider questions like:

  • Is this right for my space?
  • How much will it cost to install?
  • What will the monthly cost of ongoing maintenance be?
  • What possible issues might occur that I need to keep in mind for the future?

Big living wall in reception area biophillia biophilia

If you would like to discuss your location and options to help you decide which is best for you, please get in touch with Planteria group today for a free consultation and quotation service.


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Celebrating Butterfly Awareness Day

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The 2nd June was a cause for celebration at the beauty that is the butterfly. Every year BEAD (Butterfly Education and Awareness Day) allows you to learn all about the stunning insects and their habitats, creating a cross-curricular learning environment where you can find out various fascinating facts about the incredible creatures.

Butterflies play an important role when it comes to flowers due to their pollinating capabilities. Pollen collects on the body of the butterfly and is transferred onto the flower that it next encounters, spreading the pollen and thus continuing the cycle of pollination.

As we celebrate butterfly awareness day, find out which flowers attract the special insect, and how you may be able to attract them to your garden.

 

What Flowers Attract Butterflies?

With butterflies, you must incorporate plants that best serve the needs of all of their life stages to attract them. As is common with most animals, the insects need a space to lay eggs and also need food plants for their larvae.

Adult butterflies are attracted to bright colours such as red, yellow, orange, pink and purple blossoms. Here we have listed some of the top flowers and plants which you can use to attract butterflies:

· Buddleia

· Verbena

· Knapweed

· Ivy

· Eupatorium

· Marjoram

· Michaelmas Daisy

· Lavender

· Scabious

· Hebe

Find out more about these plants and what species of butterfly they attract here.

 

How to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden

Butterflies are a beautiful and welcome visitor to any garden, however, in recent years some species have seen a decline. Many ask the question; how do you attract butterflies to your garden? Here at Planteria Group, we have the answers.

One of the main elements that will attract butterflies to your garden is planting pollinator friendly flowers. Ones rich in nectar, such as wildflowers, are a great choice.

Why not create a butterfly garden? This will provide the resources to sustain resident breeding populations of native butterflies. Take a look at the top 10 plants for butterflies..

If you are a lover of butterflies, you can transform your space into a butterfly garden with these easy steps:

· Avoid insecticides.

· Plant nectar rich flowers, such as bramble.

· Keep nectar and host plants close together.

 

Celebrate National Insect Week

18th – 24th June hosts National Insect Week, an event which aims to educate and raise awareness, by encouraging people of all ages to learn more fascinating information about insects. This fun filled week sees hundreds of events and activities across the UK, giving you the chance to discover insects you might not have known existed. It also gives you the opportunity the meet the entomologists who study them, answering any curious question you might have.

The week is supported by a large number of partner organisations who are interested in science, natural history and the conservation of insects, helping to reach a wide audience and create maximum interest for those who attend.

One of the partner organisations is the Butterfly Conservation, whose aim is to save butterflies and moths. Through their work, they have been able to raise awareness about the decline in numbers that many species of butterflies and moths are currently experiencing.

Butterflies are a beautiful part of nature, playing an important role in pollinating flowers. Will you be celebrating National Insect Week? As a specialist in plants and flowers for business, we offer a range of plants and we can help you turn your outside areas into butterfly attraction zones giving you an eco-friendly space that can be enjoyed by your colleagues and the local butterfly population.

If you would like to find out more about our services, contact a member of the team today by calling 0345 505 333. Alternatively, email enquiries@planteriagroup.com with any enquiries – our friendly team will be more than happy to help.


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Bee Aware

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Bees have been getting quite a lot of ‘air-time’ of late, but for all the wrong reasons. They are in danger.

 

Bee populations are declining

Since 2010, there has been a 45% decline in the number of commercial honey bees. Pesticides play a large part, but agricultural techniques have changed too over the decades, with an emphasis on increasing productivity which has meant a loss of the bees’ natural habitat as wildflowers have disappeared from our countryside. It has been estimated that we have lost 97% of our flower-rich grassland since the 1930s.

Just why is this so important?
Bees are the world’s most important pollinator of food crops. It’s estimated that one third of the food we consume each day relies on pollination, mainly by bees. These crops include, vegetables, rapeseed and sunflowers as well as cocoa beans, tea and coffee. Crops used to feed livestock also rely on that same pollination.

It’s not just food crops that the bees play a huge part in, cotton crops rely on bee pollination too. The annual global cotton crop is estimated to be worth $170bn.

 

So what can we do about it?

On an individual level you can include bee friendly planting into your own garden, balcony or window boxes. In the UK alone, domestic gardens cover over one million acres.

  • Think about adding bee boxes for them to nest.
  • Bees love flowering plants which are rich in pollen and nectar.
  • Lavender is an easy to care for option that bees love.
  • Avoid using pesticides, especially ‘bug killing’ sprays.

Wildflowers are important for bees, so why not allow a space in your garden to let things run a little wild, and encourage bees and other insects for flourish?

At Planteria we use flowering bedding plants for our client’s outside spaces, and we are fans of including lavender for its attractive colour and fragrance as well as its bee-friendly factor. We also grow sedum for green roofs, the bee’s just can’t resist it, so it makes a perfect green roof for city locations which are so often lacking in natural bee habitats.

Go to http://bumblebeeconservation.org/about-bees/why-bees-need-help/ for more information and to find out what else you can do.


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Celebrating National Parks Week

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There are many things associated with the UK: tea that solves a multitude of ills, rain that never ceases and queuing that is a national sport in itself. Yet this sceptered isle is also renowned for its green spaces and as such boasts an astonishing fifteen National Parks across the nation.

This month, a week-long calendar of events is taking place to celebrate our National Parks and encourage us to get out and explore them.

From Sunday 22nd to Sunday 29th July a range of activities that the whole family can get involved in will be taking place up and down the country and here  at Planteria Group we take a look at what’s going on and why you should get involved.

 

A Walk on the Wildside

Amongst the many studies that support the theory of the benefits that nature has on our mental health as well as our physical well-being, there is increasing focus on how interaction with animals influences this too.

With that in mind, the wildlife-friendly events organised as part of this week-long festival provide the perfect opportunity to get involved.

If you’re local to Exmoor, why not join the Evening Deer Search for a two-hour walk over three miles looking for the Red Deer at the Exmoor National Park on Tuesday 24th July starting at 7pm? Naturally shy beasts, it might be worth taking binoculars to ensure you catch a glimpse, but no dogs please!

A herd of red deer in a field, there is a tree in the background and a stag is looking up towards the camera

Earlier on in the same day, the Yorkshire Dales National Park hosts a Secret Squirrel event in which a specialist guide will show you how to look for the squirrels and other wildlife that make the peaceful woods their home. Being a gentle afternoon stroll covering just a mile and a half, this is an ideal event for young and old alike.

 

Treasure Hunters

A fantastic family event takes place on the Thursday of National Parks Week on the Cleveland Way National Trail, part of the North York Moors National Park. Taking around two hours to complete and costing five pounds per family, this fun Geocaching activity involves using a GPS unit provided as part of the event to locate clues that have been hidden in boxes. What’s more, as long as your dogs are on a short lead, they are welcome to help sniff out the clues!

The little ones can take charge with the Young Explorers Smugglers’ Treasure Hunt – with one nearly every day of the event – and use their smugglers’ map to search for hidden treasure, meeting at the Danby centre.

Two young girls cuddling and looking happy infront of rock wall and fallen leaves in a national park

 

Getting Active

If you fancy something more physical, the Run ‘n’ Park event at Balloch on Saturday 28th July might just be for you; with a 2k and a 5k course marked out taking in the stunning, iconic views of Loch Lomond and with no official recording of times, you can take this event at your own pace and enjoy the great outdoors.

The kids can get involved at the New Forest National Park on each day of the festival on the Holiday Adventure Days. With activities throughout the whole day that they can enjoy, you can guarantee they’ll have a good night’s sleep after all that fun.

 

Getting Crafty

If you’re more of a hands-on type of person, there are plenty of great events for you to take advantage of. From dry-stone walling, letter-carving and archery to machine embroidery, there’s plenty of opportunity to learn a new skill in beautiful outdoor settings. Take a look at  the diary of events to find an activity near you.

Of course, you don’t have to wait for an official week of events to enjoy our National Parks – nor are you only restricted to visiting a National Park to reap the benefits of spending time outdoors amongst nature.

Dr Andrea Mechelli of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at Kings College London, acknowledges that whilst it has long been understood that there is a positive link between contact with nature and health – in particular mental health – the lack of ability to gather qualitative data has led to little compelling evidence to support this.

With this in mind, he collaborated with the developers of an app called Urban Mind which tracked users’ movements through mobile devices and randomly asked them questions about their feelings and their immediate environment.

hands holidng ipad showing graphs

The findings were quite staggering, including not only demonstrating this positive link between the outdoors and health but also providing surprising but measurable results in terms of the length of time these positive effects lasted. He found, for example, that a single exposure to nature such as a walk or even time spent in a garden can have beneficial effects lasting up to seven hours.

Woman happily posing for camera holding fallen autumn leaves in what looks like a national park

Additional studies have shown how incorporating a green outdoor space in other settings, such as hospitals and care homes, has had a positive influence on successful outcomes for patients in relation to aiding their ultimate recovery in the case of the former and their improved well-being whilst being cared for in both circumstances.

So, the recent trend for providing an outdoor space in unexpected locations such as offices has been shown to be more than just improving the aesthetics; it can actually have a beneficial emotional impact on employees that can last a whole working day in addition to creating a pleasant environment to take a break and enjoy the visual stimulation, access to vitamin D and peace quiet from the humdrum of an office.

a group of people around meeting table looking happy, there are 3 women and two men, the women and one of the men are looking at the second man who has his side to the camera

Additionally, these spaces provide an easy talking point that enables colleagues to engage with each other naturally thus improving relationships, whilst also providing handy sustenance and shelter for local wildlife.

The good news is that you don’t have to find the room to recreate the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in order to do this; any amount of space can accommodate an element of nature, from a small collection of pots planted up with flowers, a green ‘living wall’ to a roof garden hosting low-maintenance plants such as lavenders and other scented butterfly attracting plants.

Here at Planteria Group, we specialise in Corporate Floristry to help organisations to provide green spaces for the benefit both of their employees and their customers so to see how we could help you bring nature closer to home – or rather the workplace – get in touch with us.


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The Greening of London (with the help of BID’s)

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A Business Improvement District (BID) is a not-for-profit collective of local businesses who have come together to help improve their immediate area. There are currently 47 BIDs in London, each of whom create, develop and fund projects that benefit local business and the community.

In 2008 ‘The London Plan’ the Mayor’s spatial development plan for London, introduced a new concept, ‘Green Infrastructure’ or GI including; green walls, living walls, roof gardens, rain gardens and ‘parklets’.

Increasing green infrastructure brings with it may benefits; Cooling the built environment and reducing energy consumption, improving air quality, improving health for residents, increasing wellbeing, enhancing biodiversity and creating attractive places where people want to be.

In 2015 Boris Johnson launched a new and more specific initiative called the “Wild West End” designed to link up Regent’s Park and St James’s Park with green ‘stepping stones’ to encourage more birds, bats and insects to the built-up busy streets. This initiative was handed over to the local BIDs. A variety of installations have since been put in place including green roofs, planters, beehives and bird and bat boxes to provide a permanent habitat for London’s wildlife. Adding wildflowers including oxeye daisy, birdsfoot trefoil, and field scabious attract butterflies and bees and create more natural habitats to provide foraging opportunities for robins, goldfinch and other species.

The London Wildlife Trust said it was a “fabulous step” towards attracting nature to the heart of the capital, and demonstrating “how wildlife can flourish amidst the hustle and bustle of the city centre”.

Boris Johnson said the initiative could transform the city for thousands of residents, workers and tourists. “London’s population is at an all-time high, so while we need to build new homes and improve transport infrastructure, we also need better quality green spaces,” he said in a statement. “There is absolutely no doubt that parks and green spaces in urban areas improve people’s wellbeing and quality of life.”

The widespread public benefits of the greening of public infrastructure mean that the delivery of GI has previously been seen as the role of the public sector and the challenge has been to make the case for businesses to invest.

Evaluation of Victoria BIDs Cleaning and Greening programme suggests that businesses increasingly recognise the value of Green Infrastructure in;

Attracting Customers – guiding customers to a retail space and making locations more inviting.

Maximising Spend – increasing the amount of time a customer spends browsing.

Motivating Staff – and retaining them.

Adding Value – working with suppliers and building relationships in the locality, giving back to the wider community.

Looking to the future, the ‘London Green Infrastructure Plan 2050’ projects ahead to our needs for the coming decades, it calculates that the capital will need the equivalent of 13,000 football pitches of new green cover by the middle of this century. These findings prove that green infrastructure projects are much more than nice-to-have and certainly not an afterthought. Green infrastructure is about conservation as much as it is about aesthetics. The future of land and property management will be more proactive and less reactive and better integrated with efforts to manage growth and development.

FM Manager or Eco Warrior? We can help you with a ‘GI’ project; Green roof, green / living wall, eco-friendly planting, roof gardens and more. Contact us today.


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We’re on a high for the End of the Year!

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Over the past year we’ve been busy. Our No.1 focus was to get our service from a good standard, to a great standard, to exceed all expectations…it’s been hard work and our service team have really dedicated themselves to creating ‘raving fans’! And look at the results!

Our ‘10 minute response time to all service queries’ has increased by 40%!

Our ‘solution to query provided within 2 hours’ has increased by 32%!
…in just 6 months.

We think they deserve a large pat on the back! Watch this space for next year – we’re on our journey to create raving fans…


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