The Wonders of Our Green Planet
If you haven’t yet seen Green Planet, then we’d really recommend giving it a watch. In the words of Sir David Attenborough; “Plants are the basis of all life; including ourselves. We depend upon them for every mouthful of food that we eat, every lungful of air that we breathe.” We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.
Team TLB have long been admirers of Sir David Attenborough and his quest to educate and inspire us all to appreciate, love and care for our planet more. Imagine our excitement to see The Green Planet, Sir David’s latest documentary series exploring a subject very close to our hearts; the wondrous power of plants and the vital role that they play in keeping our precious planet healthy and all who live here alive.
Extraordinary Tropical Worlds
We know a thing or two about our green leafy friends here at The Little Botanical but there is always more to learn. The Green Planet’s first episode, exploring the rich and dynamic environment of the Tropics has certainly served to enhance our knowledge and understanding of this area of the world and the wonders of the plants and animals that call it home.
We were blown away, for example, to discover that more than half of the world’s plant and animal species can be found in the rainforest and we are loving the unique, time-lapse view that their specialised cameras are providing of this fascinating world; we are delighted and enlightened in equal measure – who knew ants could be so fascinating to watch? From the vast underground activity of the fungi and ants to the sky garden in the treetops and everything in between, there is a fascinating hive of activity within this truly extraordinary world.
Exquisite Solutions to the Challenges of Survival
The power of plants is quite simply astounding, we already knew this of course. We are long time fans of the ability of our green leafy friends to purify the air around us and we fully appreciate that a plants photosynthesising power is absolutely critical in providing us with the precious oxygen we need to breathe. The Green Planet has opened our eyes to how much deeper the power of plants goes out in the wild. We have a newfound appreciation for the relationships that form, both friendly and hostile, between animals and plants to ensure the survival of both. Now, we appreciate that not only do the luscious green leaves of our favourite botanical beauties look fabulous, but they also provide a high energy food for a whole range of rainforest dwellers, from sloths to fungi.
Making pollination possible
We spend so much time making sure we look after our gorgeous indoor jungles correctly that it was quite remarkable to learn about their own survival techniques when they’re in their natural habitat and not depending on us humans to provide for them.
Isn’t it just incredible that when a tree is being attacked, it can fill its leaves with a toxin to ensure the hungry hunters move on to a new tree, allowing the original to recover? And to ensure their continued survival, our precious plants are able to use a variety of techniques to ensure pollination. Some produce oh-so-sweet nectar to entice bats, monkeys and kinkajous whilst others emit the not so appealing scent of rotting meat to tempt flies.
The end result is the movement of pollen which ensures the reproduction of the plant. Other plants produce seeds that must take root and sprout in order to survive. The potential problem is that these seeds provide a delicious snack for certain rainforest dwellers. So, to overcome this, our clever tropical plants all produce seeds in sync, a so-called seed nursery, so many seeds in fact that the animals looking for a snack couldn’t possibly eat them all and some are bound to take root, just amazing.
An Indoor Jungle
Perhaps one of the parts of the show we enjoyed most was seeing some of our favourite plants up close and in action in the wild. As you’ll know if you’ve read our recent blog, we are huge fans of the Monstera tropical plant so it was wonderful to see him featured. With his trademark split leaves, he not only looks unique and gorgeous but those leaves are specially adapted to help him survive in his tropical environment with the splits allowing sunlight to filter through to maximise his photosynthesising power.
If like us, learning more about the wonder of tropical plants has inspired you to go big on the tropical vibes in your own indoor jungle, you might be pleased to know that Monstera are fab as an indoor houseplant and we have a great range here at TLB, all available in a choice of super stylish pots to take the hassle out of choosing the right size pot for your new plant.
The boisterous Balsa Tree
Courtesy of Sir David and The Green Planet, we also loved learning more about the fabulous Balsa Tree, whose giant leaves and epic growing power help him to flourish. But you might have noticed, we don’t stock these giant specimens. Thanks to their astonishing growing power, (as we learnt from the show, they can grow up to 30 feet in a year) they are best left in the rainforest, if you bring a plant that size indoors there soon won’t be any room for you! But don’t worry, you can still create an epic jungle scape, there are several tropical green beauties that, just like the Monstera, are fab as indoor plants.
Create your very own Green Planet
Check out our duo of Jungle Greenery which pairs our big Monstera, also known as a Cheese Plant, with the gorgeous Calathea, another tropical houseplant, distinguishable by her stunning variegated leaves. The Calathea is another pretty special plant, both in its outdoor habitat and as an indoor plant. Whilst the Monstera has the splits in his leaves to maximise his access to light, the Calathea has his own wondrous techniques. They are also known as a Prayer Plant because their leaves move up, as if in prayer, at dusk and open out again at dawn.
We wrote a blog recently all about this super plant, check it out here if you’re interested to know more. Are you feeling totally inspired to create an indoor, tropical jungle of your very own? Other tropical beauties to consider including alongside or instead of your Monstera and Calathea would be the big and beautiful Bird of Paradise, a true statement plant with a real wow factor and the elegant and gorgeous Peace Lily, thought to bring positive energy and calm to its environment.
Enjoy the tropical vibes
We think creating your very own tropical wonderland is a fab idea, we know we’re certainly feeling inspired to go big on the tropical vibes in our homes having watched The Green Planet. Looking after these plants in a domestic environment can pose its own challenges. Whilst we hopefully don’t have predatory fungi, leaf-cutting ants and toxic bird poo in our homes, we are also unlikely to have the balmy temperatures and high humidity levels of the tropical landscape.
But don’t panic, for the most part, it’s not as hard as you might think to provide your jungle beauties with the right conditions to help them flourish. All of our plants have a plant care section on our website and many of them even have dedicated care guides containing all you need to know to look after your tropical plants indoors and some fun facts too, take a look in The Hot House.
Benefit from gorgeous greenery
The really good news is that these tropical houseplants will be hugely beneficial to your environment; oxygenating, humidifying and purifying the air around you so your stylishly potted plants are not only looking good, they’re also doing good, whoop.
The Ever-Changing Seasonal World
Episode three of The Green Planet was all about fascinating Seasonal Worlds, exploring the amazing survival strategies that many plants have developed in order to survive the changing conditions of the 4 distinct seasons and the importance of the changing seasons to the survival of these plants. The survival techniques that plants have developed are quite simply astounding.
As you lovely plant people are no doubt aware, even many of our houseplants act differently during the different seasons; going through a growing phase in the warmer months of the spring and summer and a more dormant phase during the colder months. This means of course, that we don’t have to water and feed our green beauties so often in the autumn and winter.
But the outside world is unsurprisingly a more extreme environment than our humble homes and so these outdoor plants need more varied and ingenious strategies for survival in the wild. And they don’t disappoint. Just like our indoor green beauties, seasonal plants in their natural habitats also follow a similar pattern; hunkering down in the winter and reviving again as the temperature increases for the warmer seasons. And their most important job during this more active phase is to reproduce in order to ensure their ongoing survival. The strategies they use to ensure this happens are just incredible.
The beauty of daisies
We’ve long admired the beauty of a field full of daisies in the springtime, how amazing it was to learn that to ensure their continued survival they absorb the warmth of the sun, turning themselves into natural radiators, making themselves a very inviting little perch for pollinating insects to come and warm up – and collect pollen of course!
And Hammer Orchids, native to Western Australia, have a rather difficult job since they are a plant that doesn’t produce nectar or look particularly like a flower, making it seem quite a challenge to pollinate. Not when you synchronise your pollinating period with the mating season of a breed of wasp called a Thynnid wasp. The orchid rather cleverly we think, mimics the female wasp in looks and scent to entice the male wasp. Sadly, for the male, he doesn’t get quite what he bargained for but the orchid does succeed in transferring pollen – simply remarkable.
As well as this seasonal episode of The Green Planet showing us just how incredible plants are at adapting to the changing seasons, it also gave us a lovely, timely reminder of what a wonderful season spring is for so many of our lovely plants – both indoor and outdoor. As the temperature begins to rise over the coming weeks, many of our plants will reawaken from their winter rest to produce an oh-so-fabulous floral display.
Here at team TLB, this episode left us excitedly anticipating spring as we wave goodbye to January and we are keen to revamp our indoor jungles with some stunning spring plants; who’s with us? Read on to discover our top picks for flowering houseplants that will add a fab pop of colour to your greenery just in time for spring.
Unlike the Hammer Orchid, the orchid plants that we stock at TLB do have flowers and are a fab option for bringing some stunning, springtime colour into your home. Brighten up a windowsill with an eye-catching injection of pale or vibrant pink in your plant scape.
Flowering Houseplants for Spring
Orchids are not the only flowering plant in our range. We also love the Mini Kalanchoe and Mini Rose. These really are blooming lovely, with their delicate pink petals and pretty pink ceramics, they might be mini but they’ll make a big impact. Perfect as a gift or to treat yourself, but get them quick, they are only available for a limited time.
Or the elegant Peace Lily with her white blooms contrasting against the vibrant green leaves is an oh-so-chic choice to brighten up your space.
Another absolute stunner in the floral stakes is the Magical Hydrangea. These gorgeous botanicals will give you big and beautiful, magical flowers. Magical because they will start either pink or blue in colour and, as if by magic, will change throughout the season. What a spectacle to behold.
Now it’s quite a well-kept secret here at TLB, but we do in fact stock some outdoor plants. And as we’re starting to look forward, somewhat tentatively, to the time of year when we can enjoy our gardens, we thought now might be a good time to draw your attention to the divine Betulia. Available in red, light pink and dark pink, they are just perfect for adding a pop of bright colour to your garden, making it feel spring-ready!
The Hostile Desert Worlds
The fabulous Green Planet series continued with an episode all about Desert Worlds. The more we watch this series the more awed we become of our botanical buddies out in their native habitats. The techniques and strategies they employ to ensure their ongoing survival is simply astounding and the plants that inhabit the hostile environment of the desert might just be the most impressive yet. To picture a desert in your mind, it’s easy to imagine a barren environment where not much life of any kind could flourish, so it was fascinating to discover through this episode that there are in fact many plants that do thrive in these sandy habitats and that they have developed complex and intimate relationships in order to do so. As seems to be the case in all the worlds that have been explored so far in this fascinating series, the plants and animals that dwell in them have developed finely balanced relationships which, for the most part, allow the ongoing survival of both. It is simply fascinating to see nature at work up close and gain a much deeper understanding of these intimate relationships in the wild.
Deserts are of course, by their nature, extremely dry places, with very little rain. As we know, plants depend on water for their survival and so the green beauties that call these vast sand dunes home have developed very impressive strategies to survive even when much needed water is in very short supply. Here at team TLB we were delighted to discover that the vast sands are in fact home to seeds patiently waiting for a once in a decade rainfall, at which time they will burst into beautiful life and for a few days the desert-scape is transformed into a spectacular floral scene. Their life is short but sweet, and before they go, the next generation of seeds are produced and left in the sand, invisible to the naked eye, awaiting the next rainfall. It’s quite simply, marvellous.
We’re sure we’re not alone, but when we hear the term desert plant, we immediately think of a cactus. So, it didn’t come as a big shock to see these spiky beauties featured in this Desert Worlds episode.
Now, of course, here at The Little Botanical we know a cactus as a pretty low maintenance, hardy houseplant that doesn’t need much at all in the way of attention. It was an absolute delight to learn about the extraordinary techniques that a cactus must employ in its native habitat, to see how those trademark spines serve both to help the cactus absorb the essential water and to protect the plant from predators. And it’s no wonder that we don’t need to water our indoor cacti very often when we learn from Sir David that they can store enough water to last them a whole year, just incredible.
As you’ll know if you’re a regular follower of TLB, we’re rather fond of these durable little beauties so it was fab to see succulents get a little shout out in this episode too.
Similar to their spiky friends, they can store water in their flesh which helps them to survive in this dry landscape. But when it comes to protection from predators, they don’t have those handy, spiky spines so they use a different protective method; camouflage. Succulents in the desert are overlooked by potential nibbling prey because they grow low to the ground and blend right in with the stones and rocks around them. Right up until they need to reproduce that is, and then they burst into bloom for a few risky days in order to attract the all-important pollinators.
An Indoor Desert
Forget an indoor jungle, this week has inspired us to go big on an indoor desert look for our in-home greenery (minus the sand!). if you’re feeling similarly inspired, you’ll be pleased to know that we stock a fab range of cacti and succulents here at TLB, all housed in our gorgeous ceramics. Super stylish, easy-care indoor houseplants at your fingertips. For a full-on desert feel take a look at this oh so spiky cacti bundle. We just love all the different shapes and textures going on here, what a fab way to add some desert vibes to your home. If it’s some succulents you’re feeling drawn to, these cute little green beauties work beautifully in a bundle. We just love the very chic marble trio succulent house and the simple yet stylish succulent plant gang. But whatever you choose from this range you can sit back and relax, knowing you’ve injected some super stylish, easy care desert vibes into your home.
Remarkable Human Worlds
The final instalment of the fantastic Green Planet series explored the extraordinary relationship between humans and plants, looking at the many ways humans and plants have lived alongside each other and adapted to each other for as long as we’ve been on the planet.
Humans and the Fig Tree
One particular human/plant relationship that particularly piqued our interest was the one between human folk and the fig tree. As you’ll know if you’ve read our recent blogs about the wonderful Weeping Fig and the legendary Fiddle Leaf Fig, we are big fans of plants in the fig family here at TLB. They are just fabulous for bringing the outdoors in, with their big and bold botanical credentials.
However, the Khasi people of north east India have learnt to put the fabulous properties of the fig tree to use in truly remarkable ways. By using the strength, flexibility and quick growing power of the fig tree, they can use the roots to form stairs and living bridges which allows them to thrive in an otherwise very challenging environment. A truly wonderful example of a mutually beneficial relationship between plants and humans.
In the less challenging environment of our homes, we don’t need a fig tree for our survival, but they certainly do add an undeniable botanical charm to your indoor jungle.
There is a huge number of plants in the fig tree family but our favourites in the world of indoor fig trees are the Weeping Fig and the Fiddle Leaf Fig. Both will add a big, botanical statement to your interiors as a feature plant or as part of a bundle.
Both of these gorgeous fig trees come in two sizes and a choice of ceramics or a belly basket. Without being biased, we think you can’t go wrong with any of the options but there’s sure to be a choice to perfectly complement your personal style.
Seeds of Hope for the Yucca Plant
Another familiar plant featured in this episode was the Yucca.
We learnt from the show that the Yucca plant is actually an endangered plant because there are so few left in the wild. But that there is hope for this tropical, spiky beauty in the form of Kew’s seed bank where they store billions of seeds from endangered and in some cases extinct plants from all over the world, meaning there is hope that these plants can one day be restored.
Thankfully, when grown as a houseplant, the Yucca is not endangered and here at TLB we have this tropical beauty available in a choice of three sizes. This striking plant is a fab, easy-care addition to any indoor jungle.
Well, Team TLB have thoroughly enjoyed The Green Planet and we’re feeling a little sad that it’s all over. We’ve certainly got a new perspective and appreciation for our green beauties now that we know more about their behaviours and relationships in the wild. We hope you’ve enjoyed the series as much as us and have enjoyed the added inspiration it’s provided for bringing the outdoors in with some fab indoor greenery. Until next time plant people.
Lots of love
Team TLB xx