Who Let the Dogs In?

Studies. We seem to have a love/hate relationship with studies. From paleo diet studies to sunscreen ratings, on TV and the Internet we are bombarded with studies. Still, one study caught our eye: “Studies show how pets lower stress hormones, and some show that workplaces that allow pets see higher morale and productivity.”

doggieSound familiar? It’s very similar to what they say about having plants in the workplace! “Plants help purify the air and have a calming effect on workers making them more productive and less likely to make mistakes.” Combining plants with pets in the office is an intriguing cocktail.

In today’s hi-tech entrepreneurial office environment, more and more business owners are bringing their dogs to work and allowing employees to do the same. In fact, about 5 years ago a Greensboro, N.C. office allowed people to bring their dogs to work during a self-reported test on stress levels. While the dog owners mellowed out and breezed through their day, the stress levels of the non-pet workers increased. The study was published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management.

Before we let the dogs in, office managers beware! Some plants are toxic to pets.

Plants Toxic to Pets

The list of toxic plants is long (see below for a complete list), but these are popular office plants in South Florida.

Azalea—causes vomiting, diarrhea and excessive drooling. Possible death.
Lilies—the Peace and Calla lilies may cause minor drooling, but the Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese Show lilies are highly toxic to cats.
Dieffenbachia—causes intense oral irritation, drooling, nausea, vomiting and difficulty swallowing if ingested.
Sago Palm—If ingested, the leaves and seeds can cause vomiting, bloody stools, damage to the stomach lining, sever liver failure and in some cases, death.

For a complete list of plants toxic to pets, visit the ASPCA.

Plants For A Better Life

The triangle within the borders of Palm Beach, westward to Naples and north to Tampa have experienced a very dry winter. Outdoor gardeners collectively have their fingers crossed that some rain will soon provide needed relief. At Plantique, we’ve paid special attention to keeping our outdoor potted and patio plants moist and healthy, while our indoor plantscapes are oblivious to the near-drought conditions.

waterscapeRegardless of the weather, we encourage the use of plants throughout each season in order to lift our spirits and improve our environment. Here in south Florida there are more than a few reasons to add more plants to the spaces where live and work. Here’s a few of our favorites…

Drought Tolerant Eco-Plants

For outdoor plantscapes, we look for a mindful mix of plants that are tolerant of our usual wet summers and dry winters. This time of year the Aloe, Bird of Paradise, Bismarck Palm, and Bromeliads are happily providing brilliant colors and greenery to outdoor and indoor spaces while cleaning and purifying the surrounding environment.

Green Walls

For green walls, we look to blended gardens of edibles or ornamentals with annuals, perennials, succulents, and tropicals. These cooling and air-cleaning walls of green cut down on air conditioning costs and can provide an endless supply of greens for restaurateurs, hospital and hotel kitchens, or for simple salad greens at home.

Water Features

Nothing is more relaxing than the sound of water in the garden. Garden fountains are beneficial for stress relief and relaxation in commercial building lobbies and entrances, office gardens, and patio spaces. Small fountains provide a natural humidifier for plants, drown out annoying sounds, and release negative ions to further purify the air in indoor spaces.

How to Help The Bees

As we head into the bee pollination season, usually October through mid-April, I’m reminded of an elderly lady in Martin County who called the wildlife authorities to have a bee colony removed that was hanging in her live oak next to the driveway. She complained that she was too afraid to walk to the curb for her mail. A local beekeeper was called to relocate the colony and life went back to normal.

pollinating beeThis year’s Zika virus aerial spraying in south Florida has taken a huge toll on the bee population killing tens of millions of plant pollinators. Florida beekeepers are working hard at splitting bee colonies, a technique used to make up for population losses. However, it takes time for a parent colony to recover its honey-making ability.

So how can we help?

  1. Plant now to ensure mature, blooming plants for the queen bees’ “coming out” party in the spring when they will need a healthy supply of nectar and pollen to start their colonies.
  2. Turn stone patios into bee-enticing gardens of green and flowering plant life and keep it going with a variety of plants that bloom in different seasons.
  3. In outdoor gardens, use less mulch. Solitary bees dig a nest in the ground to raise their young. When mulch is too deep, they can’t dig a nest; if too much mulch is added over a nest, the young can’t escape. Container plants solve this problem.
  4. Rent plants covered by a maintenance plan. When you buy and maintain your own plants, its tempting to use harsh chemicals and pesticides to preserve and protect your investment. When you rent plans from us, our service technicians carefully watch for and hand-treat any problems and maintain healthy feeding patterns that keeps a plant’s immune system strong.

Remember, the key to bee-happy this spring is to learn more about Plantique’s bee-friendly plant rental and maintenance programs, call us at (800) 749-0124.