A couple days ago, I talked about the importance of playing with plants. As I mentioned, play researchers have found play boosts our spirits and deters sadness. So today I thought I’d offer three unique ways to play with plants. There are, of course, many ways to play with plants but I’ve noticed they mostly focus on children, as if play doesn’t apply to adults. So here are three ways to play with plants for adults. I know that kids are our pride and joys, but your well being matters too.
Plant Plants in Weird Planters
You’ve probably seen pictures of planters in old boots and such. That’s cute and what not but planting in footware kinda grosses me out. Having said that, there are so many other items you can grow plants in. (See the crazy head above.) I’ve been messing around with my own unique planters and I’ll write a future post in more detail about what I’ve been planting in. In the meantime here are a few ideas.
What about an old sewing machine with a basket inserted in the cabinet’s opening? It seems every charity store has the sewing table but not machine inside. Also, what about tomatoes in an old trunk? Goodness knows there are a ton of those that have little use nowadays. Especially the broken or curved ones. Or how about a water lily in an old crystal candy dish? The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.
A Fantasy Garden for Grown Ups
When a friend of mind was a boy, he had a little castle. He dragged it outside and gathered moss, sticks, rocks, and other little plants to landscape around his castle. He played battles and tournaments, even had a dragon. It’s no wonder he became a medieval historian and a gardening nut as an adult.
So how about, instead of a fairy garden that’s for kids, why not create a fantasy garden for yourself? Like a Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings garden? You could buy or build a lego castle and create a mini landscape around it. I even know where you can get a Tormund action figure (email me.) The upshot is if you have kids, they’ll want to play too.
Salty Chips Only With Yummy Leaves
You know how kale chips are all the rage? Or were a few years ago? I’ve made them several times myself. But really, the bottom line is I don’t want to eat kale that much. Potato chips are better, right? But what about drying and eating other plants? Besides root vegetables. What about artichoke heart or brussel sprout chips? You know how they naturally flake off anyway? Also, what about zuccini or carrot chips? Or spinach or butter lettuce? Leeks? It seems to me almost any green leaf that’s not bitter might work. And most leaves are less bitter than kale.
This spring, think about how you can have fun with plants. And if you already have ideas and methods, let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear about your experiences.
Photo by Nick Fewings
One of my favorite things to do is hang out on the couch and flip through picture books about Paris. If I can’t be there in person, at least I can be there in spirit. My fascination with the city is about art, romance, architecture, food, history, plants, and leisure. I loved Paris before I lived there and I love Paris now. Yes, it’s an imperfect city, and believe me, when you work there, it loses its luster quickly, but the luster never completely wore off for me. It’s still a dream, no matter how well I know it, and always will be. Here are the favorite books I turn to when I want to dream about the city of light.
Above Paris is such a fun book. It’s, simply put, all aerial shots of the city: a Google maps’ view published before that app existed. You view Paris as if a bird, seeing the intersections of housing blocks and waterways, hidden courtyards, and open green spaces. It’s interesting to see how the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower are positioned in the city. You also get an appreciation for the Hausmann architectural style with the grand avenues spiraling from the “places.” The two drawbacks to this book are there’s no index so if you’re looking for a particular landmark, it might be difficult, and the photography isn’t as vivid as it would be today. Still, the book is a treat.
Life on the Ground
Eugène Atget is one of Paris’s most famous photographers. He was born in the mid-1800s and died in 1927, working at first as an actor and later, a commercial photographer. He took over 5000 photographs of Paris, capturing both its beautiful monuments and working people. In his book, Unknown Paris, he shows us the nooks and crannies, a sleepy Seine, misty spires, sunny vestibules, curving mysterious streets. The book’s mood is one of lovely melancholy, photographs that yearn and hide secrets. Totally worth having on your bookshelf.
Let’s Talk Food
Journalist Lindsey Tramuta published a much-needed book about Paris. Why much needed? Because The New Paris spotlights the food and craft innovators. For instance, did you know that despite the café’s prominence in Paris, most of them serve the same not-so-great coffee? Tramuta educates readers on the history of various French traditions and how several entrepreneurs are bringing them into the 21st Century. We get a peek at the latest innovators in food, fashion, shopping, wine, sweets, etc., even gathering spaces. This is a must-have book if you’re interested in discovering who is reinventing modern French culture.
Similarly, I bought Tasting Paris because I wanted to learn how to make classic Parisian restaurant food. I always liked that I could get a delicious fresh meal at almost any reputable eatery there and wanted insider knowledge on how to create those dishes. With alluring photos, this book is like a greatest-hits of recipes: quiche, goat cheese salads, Turkish flatbreads, fish tagine, roasted chicken, even homemade hazelnut spread. It would make a lovely gift book for the Francophile in your life.
Chef Ina Garten created a contemporary classic with her recipe book Barefoot in Paris. Touted as “easy French food you can make at home,” this how-to book is full of highly traditional dishes simplified by Garten. They’re all sumptuous. Herbed-Baked Eggs and Bouillabaisse are highlights. I still use her herbed potatoes recipe (with a little garlic olive oil of my own). Now, I’m getting hungry.