The Power of Plants
Humans have evolved alongside Nature for millions of years. We’ve been shaped by Nature’s harshness, awed by its beauty, nourished by its bounties, and inspired by its quiet wisdom.
Today, however, most people are more disconnected from Nature than ever. The average American spends 93% of the day indoors[*]. Many of us barely see plants in our day-to-day lives; cities trade Nature’s wild geometry for efficient urban blocks, and offices often lack an outdoor view.
Modern life offers things our ancestors couldn’t have imagined. We enjoy safety, stability, world travel, air conditioning -- more amenities than ever before. But in the midst of the modern world’s rigid structure, it’s easy to lose touch with your roots.
At Dry Farm Wines, we think connecting to Nature can lend a sense of depth to life that we often miss.
Shinrin-yoku and the benefits of Nature
In the 1980s, Japan was in the midst of a mental health crisis. With depression, anxiety, and suicide on the rise, the government put its top scientists to work in search of a solution.
They came back with a simple, yet elegant fix: shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing.”
The government began urging its citizens to enjoy the thousands of miles of pristine forest that made up Japan’s countryside. Psychiatrists began prescribing time in Nature to ease stress and depression. Nature vacations grew in popularity, and shinrin-yoku gradually became a staple of Japanese culture[*].
Shinrin-yoku inspired worldwide study on the benefits of Nature. Over the last 40 years, researchers have discovered what we already intuitively know: Nature is restorative in a profound way.
Walking briefly in Nature twice a week reduces depression, fatigue, anxiety, and heart rate, and increases measures of relaxation[*].
Moving to areas with more greenery sustainably increases mental health long-term[*].
Children with ADHD focus better after a 20-minute walk in a natural environment, versus a 20-minute walk in an urban environment[*].
Living near Nature decreases cortisol (your stress hormone) and reduces self-rated stress levels[*].
Spending time in Nature increases your body’s antioxidant levels, relieves depression and anxiety, promotes overall wellbeing, and improves mental recovery from stress[*].
We love experiencing the natural world every day. These are 3 ways we incorporate Nature into our lives.
We set aside some time during weekends to take a walk in Nature. If possible, we find a deeply forested area away from civilization. We like to turn off our phones, leave the cameras at home, and enjoy a quiet walk through the woods.
The goal of shinrin-yoku is not exercise, or hiking, or camping. It’s simply being in Nature. Shinrin-yoku is smelling fresh pine needles, listening to the rustle of wind through branches, watching the lazy drift of falling leaves, and feeling the ever present growth of the forest’s many plants. It’s an invitation to get back in touch with your senses and connect to the quiet beauty of the natural world.
We enjoy spending at least an hour every week practicing shinrin-yoku. We come out of the forest with a sense of relaxed purpose and a refreshed appreciation for Nature’s design.
Cultivate a Garden
At Dry Farm Wines, we love gardening and spending time on small family Natural Farms around the world.
Gardening gets us in touch with Nature’s rhythm. You can learn to work patiently with the seasons and attune yourself to the abundant life just outside your home. There are few things as rewarding as nurturing a seed or a bulb and watching it grow into a full plant.
Gardening may seem intimidating, but it can actually be quite simple. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a Plant Hardiness Zone Map that shows you your growing zone and helps you figure out which plants do well where you live. Once you know your zone, simply Google “plants that grow in zone X” for a list of plants that will thrive in your garden. You can also go to a local garden center and ask for help finding beginner plants. Within a few months, your garden will be full of color and vibrancy. You can even grow herbs and vegetables to elevate your cooking; they’ll be far fresher than anything you can buy in a supermarket.
Create an Indoor Jungle
When we don’t have space for a garden or our schedule is too busy to spend time outside, we love to bring Nature indoors with us. Houseplants create a little jungle in the comfort of our home.
Several studies have found that looking at indoor plants promotes relaxation and decreases blood pressure, heart rate, and other symptoms of stress[*][*]. Plants also purify the air in your home, removing common indoor pollutants from furniture, textiles, and construction materials[*][*][*].
Caring for houseplants is a joyful hobby that requires little time and effort. Plants bring life to your home and create a sense of depth and relaxation. If you’re new to houseplants, these three species are particularly easy to keep alive:
Rubber plant (ficus elastica)
Rubber plants are native to India and Southeast Asia. They’re members of the fig family and have large, glossy leaves that come in a variety of colors and patterns. Ficus elastica ‘Tricolor’ is an especially beautiful varietal, with leaves that look like they’ve been painted in watercolor.
Rubber plants tolerate a variety of light conditions and are forgiving when it comes to watering, which makes them perfect as a first houseplant. Rubber plants also grow quickly, especially in bright, indirect light. Water your rubber plant once every 7-10 days.
Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
Pothos, also called Devil’s Ivy, is a sprawling, vine-like climbing plant native to Polynesia.
Pothos grows unusually quickly, with new leaves sprouting almost every day, and it can survive in practically any environment. If you put your pothos plant near a wall or give it a stake to wrap around, it will climb and spread. You can also put it in a hanging basket attached to the ceiling, creating a canopy of greenery in any room.
Pothos will grow faster in bright, indirect light. Water your pothos once every 7-10 days.
ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)
The ZZ plant, also called the Zanzibar Gem, is a resilient plant native to South Africa. It has bright, glossy leaves that are typically a deep green color (although you can get a varietal of ZZ plant called ‘Raven’ that has nearly jet-black leaves).
If you want your ZZ plant to grow quickly, keep it in moderate to bright indirect light and water it every 7-14 days. That said, ZZ plants require little to no light and can survive without watering for several weeks. A ZZ plant will do well virtually anywhere in your home and is a perfect choice if you travel on a regular basis.
Incorporate Nature into your daily life
Whether you go for walks in the woods, cultivate a garden, or care for houseplants, find a way to bring Nature into your day-to-day routine. Nature is a reminder of where we came from and an expression of the extraordinary depth the world has to offer. Make the time to tap into Nature’s wisdom; you’ll come away with a renewed appreciation for life.