Don’t feel too glum if you don’t have a garden – you can bring nature indoors, no matter how little space you have.
Take inspiration from Mirthe, a 22-year-old student from Antwerp, Belgium.
Mirthe lives with her mum and is stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic. She was in need of some greenery, but only had her own bedroom to play with.
She didn’t let limited space stop her.
Mirthe filled her bedroom with 60 plants, stacked in every corner and on every surface to create a mini jungle sanctuary.
The student is now spending her time in lockdown working on her art, studying animal care, relaxing, and looking after her plant-filled space – with the company of her two cats, Aiko and Kamill.
Mirthe has been building up her collection of plants since last year, when she became ‘obsessed’ with rare plants.
‘A friend of mine was already a crazy plant lady,’ Mirthe tells Metro.co.uk. ‘I got it from her. I was obsessed with her rarer plants.
‘That is how I started to bring the gems into my home – and because there were so many on my wishlist, I already have 50 varieties.’
She reckons she’s spent hundreds on plants so far, and can’t wait to get back to the garden centre to buy more.
Caring for so many plant babies takes up a significant chunk of Mirthe’s time.
‘Every morning when I get up, I spray my plants, water them, check how the cuttings are doing,’ she explains. ‘Once every two weeks I give them all a shower.
‘I quickly lose an hour, but I don’t mind because I love to take care of my plants.’
The majority of Mirthe’s plants are toxic for cats to ingest, so she’s had to be careful to train Aiko and Kamill to steer clear.
Thankfully, neither of them show much interest in nibbling on the leaves.
‘Aiko never showed any interest in my plants, so I wasn’t really afraid that he would knock one over,’ Mirthe says. ‘But to be on the safe side, I had placed my plants on elevations at the beginning or in places that he could not immediately reach, because 90% of my plants are poisonous to cats.
‘When we got Kamill, he played with the leaves of my plants. But I managed to train him out of that.
‘Every time he touched my plants, I took him out of my room with the door closed.
‘If he lay well and did not scratch on the door, he was allowed back in. Touching plants meant he was back out. Now Kamill stays off the plants.’
Aiko and Kamill are helping to keep Mirthe’s spirits up amid lockdown.
Mirthe tells us: ‘Aiko is a very good faithful cat. He can really speak with his eyes. I love it when he does that.
‘And Kamill literally sticks to me. He follows me everywhere, but really everywhere. When I’m gone for two seconds too long, he jumps after me.
‘I love my boys – they give me so much love.’
And of course, the plants help her mental health, too. Being surrounded by nature is a huge help when you’re stuck indoors.
Mirthe says: ‘A room without plants is boring, right? It gives me peace.
‘The plants make me happy, every time they grow I am happy. And I love the variety of plants. Plants can be so gorgeous.
‘Now that we mainly have to stay indoors, I am glad that I have something to do.
‘I just regret that I could not go to a garden centre before lockdown. Fortunately they are back open now, but I’d rather wait until most of the people are gone. In these times I don’t like walking around in a very busy garden centre.’
The student is sharing photos of her plant-filled room on Instagram to inspire others to add some greenery to their space, no matter how little room they have.
To those keen to start gardening, Mirthe is keen to reassure us that it’s okay to make mistakes – she’s killed a few plants but says she’s learned from each experience.
She offers this advice for keeping your plants thriving in lockdown and beyond: ‘A great tip if you don’t have green fingers: Make sure your plant is always in a plastic inner pot or a decorative pot with drainage, so that the excess water can always be removed. This prevents you from overwatering your plant.
‘If you prefer them in a decorative pot without drainage, I recommend laying stones on the bottom. This absorbs the excess water.
‘Spraying your plants daily or giving a regular shower prevents bugs.’
Are you spending lockdown in an unusual space? Get in touch to share your story by emailing [email protected]
Share pics of your plant babies (or your cats, they’re welcome too) in the comments section below.
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