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Plants and pets: know the facts to keep dogs and cats healthy

No plant says Christmas quite like the poinsettia. But nary a holiday season goes by without poinsettias being negatively associated with pet health.

Yet the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says poinsettias “may be the most misrepresented plant when it comes to toxicity. Since 1919 poinsettias have been called lethal if ingested by pets. However, many animal studies have shown that it is just not true.”

Relatively few plant and flower species are dangerous to pets, and the effects can range widely.

As the ASPCA notes, poinsettias and other holiday plants are not good for pets to ingest, potentially irritating the mouth and stomach and sometimes causing vomiting, but generally are “over-rated in toxicity.”

The same can’t be said about lilies and cats. Eating just a couple of leaves or licking a few pollen grains off their fur can quickly cause kidney failure, according to CBS News.

“A cat that’s eaten part of a lily will vomit soon afterwards, but this may gradually lessen after two to four hours. Within 12 to 24 hours, the cat may start to urinate frequently. Urination may then stop if kidney failure occurs. If untreated, a cat will die within four to seven days after eating a lily.”

This is the case for any true lily — belonging to the plant genus Lilium — including Easter lily, tiger lily, rubrum lily, Japanese show lily and certain species of daylily.

In contrast, the calla lily, peace lily, lily of the valley and Peruvian lily (alstroemeria) are not true lilies and won’t cause kidney failure in cats although they have other toxic principles, according to the Pet Poison Helpline.

If you love plants and pets, then it’s a good idea to consider which ones are the best fit for your home. Here are several resources:

The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center offers an exhaustive, sortable list of plants that are toxic or non-toxic to dogs and cats. The list focuses on plants “that have been reported as having systemic effects on animals and/or intense effects on the gastrointestinal tract,” according to the ASPCA, which cautions that the list is not meant to be all-inclusive.

If you think your animal is ill or may have ingested a poisonous substance, the ASPCA suggests contacting your veterinarian or its 24-hour emergency poison hotline at 1-888-426-4435.

The Humane Society offers an informative — and highly alliterative — list of “plants potentially poisonous to pets.”

The Pet Poison Helpline offers its Top 10 Plants Poisonous to Pets.

Of course, as the Pet Poison Helpline notes:

“While there are thousands of species of plants and flowers, only a small percentage of plants are truly dangerous and poisonous to your pet.”

Terrariums back on the job — and perfect for the office

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Entire TV shows these days are dedicated to tiny houses, so perhaps it should come as little surprise that mini-gardens are popular again.

Royer’s recently reintroduced terrariums to its product lineup. They are individually crafted in our dish garden department in Lebanon and come in rope; dome (small, medium and large); and greenhouse versions.

“You look in them, and you just feel good,” said Cheryl Brill, Royer’s vice president of retail operations, comparing the look of the light-green reindeer moss covering the soil to that of a forest floor.

She described terrariums as a “little tranquil spot.”

“They draw you in,” she said, “and I think that’s part of the appeal. And they typically have a lot of texture.”

Growing plants in transparent containers dates to Greece at least 2,500 years ago, according to University of Missouri Extension. The practice in the United States is traced to New England.

“The invention of the terrarium as we know it is credited to Dr. N.B. Ward, a 19th-century London physician. … While studying a sphinx moth emerging from a chrysalis he had buried in moist earth in a closed bottle, he was amazed to see a seedling fern and some grass growing inside. He watched them grow for four years, during which time not one drop of water was added nor was the cover removed.”

Closed terrariums are best at keeping humidity inside (followed by open terrariums and dish gardens), so they only have to be watered once per week. Terrariums and plants are great for offices as they are known to improve air quality, boost productivity and reduce stress.

 

Introducing your rewards program: Petal Perks

Research shows the emotional and behavioral benefits associated with flowers and plants. Having them around your home or office is a great way to keep your spirits bright as daylight dwindles.

Petal Perks card

You’ll get another lift from our new customer rewards program: Petal Perks.

We included Petal Perks cards in our fall catalog. If you didn’t receive one, you can pick one up at any of our stores.

With Petal Perks, customers earn one point for each penny they spend and 300 points for each order they place: every 15,000 points earns a $5 discount on a future purchase.

Petal Perks applies to all purchases, whether made in store, online or on the phone. What’s more, points don’t expire as long as you make at least two purchases annually.

Here you’ll find complete details about Petal Perks.

So with winter fast approaching, be sure to keep plenty of flowers and plants around. They’ll help you perk up, and you can get the most out of Petal Perks.

15 houseplants that will improve your indoor air quality

Spider plant
Spider plant

For all of its exploration of the galaxy, the space program has accrued many benefits right here on earth. Thanks to NASA, we know that houseplants can purify the air in our homes and workplaces.

NASA originally focused on finding ways to purify the air in orbiting space stations. A 1973 space mission identified 107 volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that were emitted by the synthetic materials inside the spacecraft. It was clear that tightly sealed buildings, whether orbiting in space or on the ground, could cause health problems.

Sick building syndrome

Back on earth, spurred by the energy crisis of the 1970s, the building industry focused on making old and new structures more energy efficient. Without intending to, they also paved the way for trapping pollutants – or what is often called “sick building syndrome.”

Three of the pollutants found in spacecraft – benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene – also are present in homes and offices, emitted by everything from building materials to furnishings to office equipment. Air-tight buildings conserve energy and reduce heating and cooling costs, but they also trap these pollutants.

NASA found that certain houseplants, because they are good at absorbing gases, could remove indoor pollutants. Researchers suggested using one potted plant per 100 square feet of home or office space to improve indoor air quality. One study found that philodendron, spider plant and golden pothos removed 80 percent of the formaldehyde that was introduced into a sealed chamber.

If you want to improve the air quality of your space, you might consider bringing home some of these commonly recommended plants:

1. Heartleaf philodendron
2. Elephant ear philodendron
3. Cornstalk dracaena
4. English ivy
5. Spider plant
6. Janet Craig dracaena
7.Warneckii dracaena
8.Weeping fig
9. Golden pothos
10. Peace lily
11. Selloum philodendron
12. Chinese evergreen
13. Bamboo or reed palm
14. Snake plant
15. Red-edged dracaena

Sources: sunsethillsfoliage.com, coopext.colostate.edu

 

Flowers help stem the morning blahs: Harvard study

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Maybe it’s the long winter or the still-cold mornings, or just too much work and not enough sleep. There are any number of reasons why it can be tough to get at ’em in the morning.

When it comes to a pick-me-up, caffeine isn’t for all tastes. But everyone can start their days with flowers — and with good reason.

People are happier and more energetic after looking at flowers first thing in the morning, according to a behavioral study conducted by researchers at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital.

“The morning blahs, it turns out, is a real phenomenon, with positive moods — happiness, friendliness and warmth, for example — manifesting much later in the day,” said lead researcher Dr. Nancy Etcoff. “Interestingly, when we placed a small bouquet of flowers into their morning routines, people perked up.”

The final study results demonstrated that flowers affect people emotionally at home, causing them to feel less anxious and more compassionate. They even reported a boost of energy that lasted all day.

“What I find interesting is that by starting the day in a more positive mood, you are likely to transfer those happier feelings to others — it’s what is called mood contagion,” Etcoff said. “And, the kitchen is the place where families tend to gather in the morning — imagine how big a difference a better morning mood can make.”

To learn more about this study and ways to incorporate flowers into your kitchen, click here.