It all began last academic year with the arrival of Jeffrey and Jeremy the spider plants…and now my classroom is also home to a money plant named Jess, and 11 African Violets propagated from leaf cuttings by Year 5 earlier this year.
So, what is so great about plants?
I put this question to my class recently and their comments included telling me that plants: ‘give us food from crops’, ‘generate oxygen’, ‘filter water’ and ‘provide homes for little critters’. All of these things are true, of course, but perhaps we don’t fully appreciate how much our everyday lives depend on plants – from food to wood products, medicines to clothing, rubber to cosmetics and so on.
There are endless research papers, online articles and television programmes which suggest a whole host of benefits to people who spend time around plants. Some claim plants can boost productivity at work, improve memory and sharpen attention span, whilst others focus on how plants can complement interior design and create positive feng shui in a room.
Our new monarch, King Charles III, has been honest and outspoken in the past about his love of plants, admitting that he regularly talks to them and believes that they respond. Each time he plants a tree, he wishes it well by giving a branch a friendly shake. He is known to have a passion for gardening and is keenly involved in the development of the gardens at all his royal residences.
It is often said that we are ‘a nation of gardeners’ but even if you have no desire to get outside and start planting, you may enjoying nurturing house plants, and most of us turn to plants as gifts at some point in our lives – to say thank you, as a housewarming present, when offering sympathy, to celebrate an achievement or as a romantic gesture.
There are numerous reported benefits to our health and wellbeing from being a ‘plant parent’ but I believe these can be summarised by one overarching statement from a member of my current class:
“Plants make you happy when you are around them.”
Junior School Science Coordinator