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Exploring Womanhood > Heart of the Home > Gardening > Houseplants

Create an Indoor Theme Garden
by Lisa Cote

Create an Indoor Fantasy Garden - Choose a Theme and Dig In!

The weather outside may be frightful, but why not made your home delightful inside with an indoor fantasy garden? There's sure to be a garden theme to fit your fancy and suit your living space: all it takes is some forethought and imagination. Just keep in mind these keys to planning and building your indoor oasis: 1. More is better-lush and extravagant is the goal, and what distinguishes the "indoor garden" from a common collection of houseplants; 2. Meet your chosen plants' requirements by placing them in the proper locations, attending to their watering and feeding needs; 3. Use some dramatic or unexpected elements to add excitement to your garden. Here are some ideas for indoor garden themes:

Jungle Escape
If you have enough room and enough direct sunlight, you can grow large tropical houseplants that bloom, such as passionflower, hibiscus, and bird-of-paradise. Sultry-scented jasmine is also perfect for a bright bedroom, and a grouping of African violets looks fabulous on the kitchen table, and will thrive in the humid environment. The bathroom is also a perfect place for moisture-loving tropicals. Try to choose a variety of lush-looking plants with brightly colored flowers or foliage and interesting leaf shapes or textures. For a densely layered effect, use slower-growing, shade tolerant plants to place under the canopy of larger, light-craving ones.

Desert Dream
Cacti and succulents are easy and rewarding plants and are ideal if you have a Southwestern decor, or if you can't spend much time caring for plants. Include some larger specimens such as mature jades and aloes, towering cactus plants. Group smaller plants in wide clay containers, or bunch individual pots together on tables and shelves for impact. Air plants, which require no soil and only limited moisture, are great for warm, dry indoor climates, and are often sold attached to pieces of bark or other supports that can be hung on the wall or grouped on shelves.

British Botanical
Fond of English Gardens? Plant some daffodils, tulips and hyacinths in pots or bulb vases in autumn. Make sure the bulbs are "prepared" for forcing, or "winter" unprepared bulbs in a cold area for several weeks before exposing them to light and warmth. By winter you'll have a splash of spring color and fragrance to decorate a cool foyer. Deck your living room with ferns, ivies, parlor palms, and fairy roses; plant indoor window boxes with impatiens, etc. A large glass terrarium sets off this theme beautifully, and is easy to care for since it rarely needs watering (misting is often adequate to maintain the proper moisture level).

Herbal Haven
If herbs are your favorite plants, turn your house or apartment into a herbal haven by bringing your annual summer herbs inside or starting a batch indoors from seeds or cuttings. Basil, oregano, lemon balm, and chives are easy to start and will thrive in a sunny windowsill. Also plant garlic bulbs, seed onions, edible flowers (like nasturtiums and violets) and baby lettuces for impromptu salads. Scented geraniums are now widely available from specialty catalogs, and are easy to bring inside for the winter, as are regular flowering geraniums; or consider buying mature rosemary or myrtle plants in summer to use as year-round indoor topiaries.

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Bring the Outdoors In
Outside garden statuary, gargoyles, orbs, weathered clay pots, lattice, wicker and wrought iron furniture, stone benches etc. make great indoor decor choices too, and will fit in perfectly with your interior garden theme. Also consider using interesting stones, pebbles, dried flowers, seed pods, mosses and other natural materials as accents-shells, beach glass, and driftwood work well in the bathroom or spa. While you're arranging your indoor garden, don't forget about vertical spaces: baskets and containers that hang flat against the wall can be planted with climbers such as sweetheart plant, English ivy, or arrowhead plant. These plants will climb up your wall or cascade down it to create a tapestry of foliage. Finally, don't forget the element of water. Maybe you can't have a pond inside, but you can have wall or tabletop fountains. You can also create temporary or permanent hydroponic gardens for many houseplants, using liquid plant food for nourishment and charcoal to keep the water fresh.

Experiment!
Don't limit yourself to the themes and ideas presented here-go ahead and try growing anything indoors. If it doesn't work, you can always start over or try something different. Take a bold approach, and with a little time and a lot of creativity and enthusiasm you can enjoy gardening year-round, no matter where you live.

About the Author:
Lisa E. Cote is a professional writer based in the Seattle, Washington area. She specializes in writing Web content, ezine articles, and how-to pieces.

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