It’s one thing to play about with indoor gardening when you know the real thing will be outside your back door in a couple months. It’s quite another to deal with the year-round, day-in, day-out sterility of the office cubicle. Yesterday, Victory Garden, the PBS stalwart that’s been around long before any of the HGTV crap we like to complain about here, had a short segment on how to green-up a standard office workspace. I took note, because, unlike some of our luckier readers and Ranters, I actually have to report to such a gulag (an office with a door, thank god) five days a week for at least eight hours a day.
Many plants seem to do quite well in office spaces. I wonder if it’s all the fluorescents; certainly the cultivars in my home plant room seem to be thriving under them. The Victory Garden segment was about a makeover of a typical—well, worse than typical—cubicle, all white resin, or plastic or whatever they make these modules out of. The plants chosen were sansevieria (mother-in-law’s tongue), schefflera (umbrella plant), bromeliads, ficus elastica (rubber plant), and some other smaller cultivars, including phalaenopsis orchids. Then they added photographs and lined the cube with some fake turf, which looked pretty good, though it wouldn’t be my choice. They also demonstrated some nifty watering devices to handle the plants during vacations and other absences.
In my view, the best plant for an office space should be somewhat large—really, any inside plant needs to be imposing to make an impact. (I realize smaller flowering plants like African violets and cyclamen end up looking prissy, though I still like them.) The large sansevieria and schefflera in the segment were effective. Even philodendron can be fun; I have a couple that actually attach and crawl up the walls of my office until impeded.
One way to pull it all together—and they did this very nicely on the show—is to include photographs or paintings of plant subjects. They had close-ups of veined leaves. I have mixed media paintings of trees. You have to look at it this way: many of us spend a hell of lot of time in these self-selected prisons. Filling a cube with plants might be one of the cheaper and easier ways to make it livable and healthy. I’ve been gardening in my workspace for eight years now. How about you?
The image above is from the Sensevieria Films website. Nothing much to do with plants per se, but they seem a cool indie group.