I lived in Manhattan for more than three years. There was very little green downtown, and it made me miserable to be away from any green.

Growing up in the suburbs of Rockland County, with a sprawling yard, and towering trees, it was hard to suddenly see the black of asphalt and the burnt umber of brick for as far as the eye could see, with the only green being the few trees that aggressively moved the sidewalks of Chinatown, or the man-made turfs of Columbus Park and Sara D. Roosevelt parks. Because of this, I almost moved on, comfortably leaving Manhattan and all of its grays and worn-down colors behind.

Then I moved to Astoria, and for the first time I fell in love with the gardens and growth possibility of New York City. From the front gardens of the local homes, to the window boxes and plethora of florists, I drew inspiration to grow my own plants.

Benefits of having plants in the home

  1. They purify air – The rugs, mattresses, couches, artwork, electronics, and even guests we bring into the home have the potential to bring along with them some harmful chemicals. Then, especially with city living, whether or not you open your windows, an apartment can become a closed-up ball of nastiness. Plants help remove a hefty amount of the nasty chemicals that get into the home every day.
  2. They act as non-electric humidifiers – What’s better than adding moisture to the air you breathe than doing so without the use of electronics and machines? Plants are a great way to add moisture to the air, therefore helping with dry skin, dry coughs and sore throats, and colds!
  3. They improve productivity and concentration – I don’t know if this is a general plant-in-the-home fact, but as someone who has worked from home for years, I have noticed a significant different in my ability to get work done in a space with plants to one without.
  4. They enhance mood and overall healing – What is one of the first things you bring to someone in a hospital, or when they are ill? Flowers! Doctors and medical professionals seem to agree that the pleasant site of flower and plants helps reduce anxiety and negative feelings, and therefore improves one’s ability to recover from a trauma. Plus, in my personal experience, doing the actual garden is a great way to combat anxiety and depression.
  5. You’ll save money on buying herbs – This is probably my favorite part of gardening indoors. How many times do you look up a recipe that calls for a sprig of rosemary, or a teaspoon of fresh basil, but you have to buy them nearly in bulk at your supermarket? Every time, I wind up having to toss the majority of the herbs that I purchase. Today, if a recipe calls for a half of a cup of scallions, I have that on my windowsill. A tablespoon of parsley? Got that, too!

If you are looking to grow from a seed, I have had great experience with Hudson Valley Seed LibraryIf you would rather not wait for your seeds to bloom and produce consumables, chances are your local supermarket or grocery has plants such as thyme, basil, and mint.

I hope that this inspires some to take up gardening for your family, your firefighter, and yourself. It’s such a great addition to any home, whether it’s indoors or out!