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Mother Nature

Did You Know — 10 Bonsai Facts

Did you know…

1 – That the origin of Bonsai, while often attributed to the Japanese, is actually Chinese in derivation? Many experts agree that bonsai, know as Pensai in China, was practiced by scholars, monks and the noble classes of China as far back as 600 A.D.

2 – That the word “Bonsai”, which is pronounced “Bone- Sigh”, is made up of the two Japanese characters: “Bon” meaning tray and “sai” meaning plant, which when literally translated means: tray plant? Of course, the cultivation of bonsai trees has advanced much since its humble start as plants in trays.

3 – That an earthquake is responsible for shifting the “epicenter” of bonsai cultivation in Japan? In 1923 an 8.3 magnitude earthquake devastated the entire Kanto region of Japan. Destroying vast portions of the two largest cities: Tokyo and Yokohama; along with a majority of the commercial bonsai businesses. As a result, the bonsai business community, in an effort to save their livelihoods, collectively purchased a tract of land outside of Tokyo, in the Omiya region, where their businesses once again flourished.

4 – That in 1976 the people of Japan, in honor of the USA Bicentennial Celebration, presented to America 53 priceless bonsai trees and 6 remarkable viewing stones? These gifts were to become the foundation of our national collection.

5 – That the bark of a tree has three very important and practical functions? It is waterproof, so it prevents leaking from the phloem; It also houses small structures, called lenticels, that allow the tree to breathe; and the bark’s third function is to protect the phloem from all kinds of impacts, abrasions and attacks from pests; including: insects and fungi.

6 – That wounds on bonsai trees do not heal in the same manner as the wounds of humans and/or animals? That is to say, trees are not able to repair damaged tissue; instead they continue to manufacture a new layer of cells with each years growth, until the wounds is entirely covered over.

7 – That if you look at a cross-section of a tree trunk you will see rings and each of these rings indicates a full years worth of life and growth? Scientists can tell by the thickness or thinness of a ring in which year more rain and more subsequent growth took place.

8 – That mature trees, both bonsai and those on the front lawn, develop what is known as a ‘collar’ around the base of the largest branches? This swelling takes years to develop and is caused by the up and down, forward and backward, motion of the largest and heaviest branches as they are pushed to and fro by the whims of Mother Nature.

9 – That autumn is the most favorable season of the year to prune a majority of deciduous bonsai? There are at least two good reason for this: first, the fact that all of the leaves have dropped off of your bonsai is a good sign that it has entered dormancy and, therefore, will not ‘bleed’ or lose sap when it is pruned (although it is still advisable to apply ‘cut-paste’ or ‘wound sealant’ to all sizable cuts); and second, now that the bonsai is bare you can see and reach undesirable and/or dead branches that had been covered and made unnoticeable and/or inaccessible by the trees seasonal foliage.

10 – That bonsai trees, as well as, other trees and plants, are capable of absorbing synthetic nutrients through their foliage – oftentimes more readily then through their roots? When foliar feeding, be sure to carefully follow all of the manufacturers’ instructions and never foliar feed in direct sunlight, as leaves can burn quickly.

Decorating Your Home With Pine Furniture

When the time comes to change the way your home looks and feels on the inside you should consider decorating your home with pine furniture. Changing the paint on the walls, the color of your carpets, even your drapes can make a difference, but when you add the refreshing look of pine to your home, you can really create a whole new look.

Most people tend to overlook the beauty of pine furniture, considering it to be nothing more than rustic or country style furniture that does not belong in a modern home. Those who feel this way are missing out on furniture that is more naturally unique than any other real wood furniture on the market. Each individual piece will be replete with its very own pattern of knots and marks that only Mother Nature can create. .

As one of the softer woods, pine has never been taken seriously as a wood to be used in serious furniture. However, recent public interest in this relatively inexpensive type of wood has thrust pine furniture into the limelight as more of the upper tier furniture stores are starting to carry anything from a few pieces to complete collections.

Pine furniture can be left natural and finished with a layer of wax if you want to create a light airy look in your kitchen or your dining room. The natural white color of the pine will make the whole room look and feel much bigger than it really is and far more inviting.

If you want to add a touch of luxury to your living room or bedroom, you can stain the pine a warm, dark color. Match this with rich colors like deep reds, purples and create an intimate environment that you will want to spend lots of time relaxing in, far away from the hustle and bustle of the day.

You can use decorate a child’s bedroom with pine furniture and paint it in bright vibrant colors with stencils when the child is young and then paint right over it as they grow up and want their room to be as grown up as they are. There is no end to the ways you can decorate your home with this beautiful furniture. You never know you might just start a new trend in your neighborhood and have all of your neighbors coming to you for decorating advice as they decide to make the switch to pine.

Creating A Favorable Work Environment

Sure we all have our periods of good productivity at work, and times of less productive output. Regardless of your position in the office, it is possible to increase your effectiveness while at work by creating the proper environment. Its true, creating a favorable environment around your desk can lead to a better mindset, well being, and overall production at work.

Decades ago, companies like Hewlett Packard found that the use of color therapy would promote higher production levels as well as fewer health risks and decreased sick days in their employees. Along with removing the “drab” from their workplace, they increased the health of their work force. They had their lounges, foyers, and cubicles painted a soft plum shade and placed soft off-white office furniture throughout the entire building; thereby, increasing employee performance and their edge in the workplace.

Similar tests conducted today show that employees confined to office spaces for eight to twelve hours a day have fewer sick days, increased problem solving skills, and better idea generation when fresh flowers or plants are present. That’s right, Mother Nature still knows best. It appears we are at our brightest and best in the presence of nature. Maybe it’s the fresh air plants generate stimulating our brains or maybe just the colors. Whatever it is, flowers and plants give workers an edge in productivity.

Scientific studies have been conducted at Texas A&M University showing that skills in problem solving and creativity were increased with the addition of plants and flowers. The study used both men and women and was conducted over an eight month period. The results transcended gender and age and showed increased innovative thinking, greater solutions formulated, and a really great benefit: Higher motivation toward achievement.

A study conducted at the University of New Jersey sited that, “When gifts of equal monetary value were given, people had a more favorable response to the gift of flowers.” The folks just felt good all over days after receiving floral gifts. There’s another benefit; the affects of receiving flowers lasts for days.

It seems simple really, but as in all things, the simplest things are sometimes the hardest to grasp. Put a vase of flowers on your assistant’s desk and reap the benefits of new attitudes, ideas, and productivity. It isn’t just a way to get more work out of your employees, it is a way to say, “Thanks for a job well done.” It is a way to say, “Welcome to all who enter your doors.” Or, maybe it just says, “We are connected to our environment.” What ever the message, it will be a positive one.

Motivation and inspiration is something everyone struggles with at work; CEO to the mail room. Flowers have been shown to provide a more favorable work environment. Why not give flowers a try if they work?