Do Houseplants Reduce Stress?

Are you stressed? You should grow houseplants! Just ask all the experts. Try an online search and you’ll come up with almost two million sites claiming that growing plants reduces stress. Even the National Institute of Health has jumped on the bandwagon with a study “proving” that houseplants reduce both physical and psychological stress, at least in young men.

Unlike the articles that tout huge benefits in air quality from including plants (especially spider plants) in your home (NASA said it so it must be true—but see my post here), there may actually be some basis for the stress-reduction theories. Or not.


Good Vibrations

Stachys byzantina - Lambs Ears @DBG LAH 004
Is that why they’re called Lamb’s Ears?

Can plants hear? At first glance, this seems like a silly question. Plants don’t have ears, so of course they can’t hear. But wait—do organisms need ears to hear? What is hearing, anyway?

Given that sound consists of a series of vibrations that are propagated through air, water, or another substance, then hearing must be the ability to sense those vibrations. And while our ears are very good at sensing vibrations, there are other options.


“Bird Brain” is a Compliment!

Steller's Jay_BlkForest_20100424_LAH_3443Crows can make tools, or unzip your backpack to extract your lunch. Macaws have been known to open complicated latches their cages in order to escape their captors, demonstrating insight into complex problem solving. Jays can remember where they stashed each and every one of thousands of nuts. And I knew an African Gray Parrot that, in an effort to keep its owners home (and therefore receive more attention), mimicked the telephone’s ring every time anyone started to leave the house. In fact, many birds are exceptionally intelligent. But how do they fit those smarts into their tiny brains?


15 Birdy Things to Do When You Can’t Go Birding

Today I was going to write a post about the birding excursion I had planned for the weekend. I expected to show colorful ducks, tricky-to-ID waders, and perhaps some cute little songbirds I saw skulking in the nearby bushes. However…

2015-10-29 20.26.14I sprained my ankle last week. I wish I had a good story to relate, but I simply thought the ground was where it wasn’t. (Happily, I landed between the two thorn bushes!) As you can see, the bump was pretty impressive but the x-rays proved nothing was broken; now it’s simply a matter of time and patience. I’m sitting around with my foot elevated, popping anti-inflamatories and catching up on Facebook. I have to get better soon—our kids and grandkids are coming for Thanksgiving!