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Thesis Project on Indoor Gardening.... Please Comment

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Thesis Project on Indoor Gardening.... Please Comment

Postby ming_15 » Dec 02, 2008 3:31 pm

Hello Everyone,

It's me again :D

So I've finally figured where to apply community gardening or just gardening.
I've decided to move away from the ground and even from the outdoors.
My concept is to apply these gardens in the office environment and more specifically added to the cubicle walls.

I know many people dislike cubicle walls and I know there are existing cubicle planters that goes on top of the wall.
I propose here is the actual wall composed of plants and using plants as a wall.
I imagine that the plants would start possibly at desk level or maybe a foot above the desk level.
Depending of the worker is they like a taller wall or not.... so if they want a taller wall they might choose plants that are taller and shorter wall with shorter plants

There would 3 levels of care needed as some people likes plants more than others. These levels are:
- Full - which is the worker will have to care for the plants fully
- Semi - which is the worker will have to care for the plants but not as insane as full
- Almost none - which is the worker will only have to water the plant maybe once a month.
If the worker really do not wish to have any plants at all they would have the choice of having just a wall.

What I am doing here is giving the benefits of plants to the workers in an office building.
These benefits include:
- fresh air
- stress relieving
- improves humidity
- decoration

I also have envisioned that there will be few combination of plants to choose from.
- leafy plants (including grass ferns)
- flower plants (unsure yet because of allergic reaction for some people)
- cactus plants or ones that don't require water as much (not sure what category they are)
- if possible veggies/fruits?? (not sure if it would work well)
- a mixture
- and of course an empty one for workers that really like plants

I know there are people that have allergic reaction to certain plants and I will find that out as soon as possible.

I think that's is all for now....

All comments are welcome

*EDIT* Also insects infestation could be a problem?? any ideas how do deal with this?? Possibly using venus fly traps, pitchers or other carnivorous plants?
I've also seem somewhere that marigold help repel bugs.... how do they do in an indoor environment?

*EDIT2* And odor as well.... some people I surveyed before have claimed that plants have an odor... any suggestions?
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Re: Thesis Project on Indoor Gardening.... Please Comment

Postby butterfly » Dec 02, 2008 9:57 pm

I have indoor plants for years but never noticed any odor

Unless a flowering plant some have strong fragrance while blooming like NARCISSUS

Once wa enouh with those

May office buildings have plants growing for many years but don't think the actual offices do

I think your idea would be a good one if all workers were ok with it and you had th right plants otherwise there will alway be some who will not like it

But I like all your reasons for going for it
Cheers Butterfly




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Having both - is a blessing."--Donna Hedges
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Re: Thesis Project on Indoor Gardening.... Please Comment

Postby ming_15 » Dec 02, 2008 11:19 pm

butterfly wrote:I have indoor plants for years but never noticed any odor

Unless a flowering plant some have strong fragrance while blooming like NARCISSUS

Once wa enouh with those

May office buildings have plants growing for many years but don't think the actual offices do

I think your idea would be a good one if all workers were ok with it and you had th right plants otherwise there will alway be some who will not like it

But I like all your reasons for going for it


Thanks for your comments...

And yes my idea is to reconnect people with nature.... especially for people with busy lives who barely have contact with nature...

Plant selection is still something to deal with.... further investigation will have to be done.

By the way.... what kinds of plants do you grow?
And do you work in an office?
If so, do you have any plants at office?

Thanks
Ming
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Re: Thesis Project on Indoor Gardening.... Please Comment

Postby Eeyore » Dec 03, 2008 11:14 am

I think your on to something Ming. This is quite an innovative idea. Plant selection would be crucial and dependent on light sources.
One draw back I can see is reduced productivity for the employer! :lol: I know I'd have a problem with that many plants around.
The other draw backs would include increased humidity depending on the plant species used which could result in mould and water issues in the building infrastructure and as you mentioned, insects.
The "odour" your other respondents mentioned may be the earth smell. Gardeners recognize and appreciate that scent but many non gardeners don't. You would alos have to be wary of using highly fragrant plants as these can cause headaches and allergic reactions in some people.

Do a google search for "Green Walls". I think you'll find plenty of examples of what you are considering.
Lyn
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“Those who say it can't be done are usually interrupted by others doing it.” ` James Arthur Baldwin"
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Re: Thesis Project on Indoor Gardening.... Please Comment

Postby bluebird » Dec 03, 2008 12:39 pm

Green Walls are a great addition to any office that has the right conditions to provide a healthy environment in which the plants can thrive. Plants grown indoors have very specific requirements and from my past 20+ years in the interior landscaping business it has been my first hand experience that there are very few individuals working in an office that have the knowledge, skill, time or desire to take on the extra (unpaid?) duties of caring for plants along with their regular office duties. Poorly cared for plants that are sick, dying and infested with insects are a very depressing sight and creates the opposite effect of a positive state of being.

But, yes, plants grown indoors can add many benefits to the indoor environment...including the ones you've mentioned. It has been proven that offices that include live healthy plants create a better working atmosphere that offices that do not.

The problems of attempting a green wall as cubical space brings to my mind so many problems that I can't begin to list them....but why not consider a green wall "oasis" area where the workers could go to refresh and energize themselves...perhaps in a cafeteria or lounge area. One large green wall that has been designed and installed by professionals and cared for by professionals who offer guaranteed regular plant care will create a problem free enjoyable experience for all concerned.

A professional interiorscape company will already know which plants can be successfully grown indoors and which ones should be avoided for all the reasons you mention. (Yes some plants actually do have unique odours that some people find unpleasant..ie: Dracaena fragrans. I've had to haul them out of peoples offices in some cases, although I think they smell quite nice...sort of rich leafy smell. No, I would not suggest growing Marigolds indoors...they require light levels that would be difficult to achieve in an indoor environment, and they have a huge stink factor-lol)

In one large open office with many cubicles we once created many mini-oasis spots where the workers could abandon their cubicle and go and sit beside a bit of nature for a short break. It created an interesting effect when one looked across the sea of cubicles and saw all these palm tree gardens poking up here and there.

But, yes you are on the right track...what you need to do now is to read up on some actual physical requirements to grow plants indoors and what is involved to create a living wall of plants.

Here's a helpful link of a very qualified company that I had the pleasure to meet at a trade fair for our industry. You should be able to get some great info from them. Good luck with your thesis!

http://www.greenspaceroofing.com/livingwalls/aboutlivingwalls.html
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Re: Thesis Project on Indoor Gardening.... Please Comment

Postby ming_15 » Dec 03, 2008 1:33 pm

Eeyore wrote:I think your on to something Ming. This is quite an innovative idea. Plant selection would be crucial and dependent on light sources.
One draw back I can see is reduced productivity for the employer! :lol: I know I'd have a problem with that many plants around.
The other draw backs would include increased humidity depending on the plant species used which could result in mould and water issues in the building infrastructure and as you mentioned, insects.
The "odour" your other respondents mentioned may be the earth smell. Gardeners recognize and appreciate that scent but many non gardeners don't. You would alos have to be wary of using highly fragrant plants as these can cause headaches and allergic reactions in some people.

Do a google search for "Green Walls". I think you'll find plenty of examples of what you are considering.


Yes, I planned to go out today to a gardening store and ask about plants that are good for indoor as well as plants that most people would be allergic to.
That's why flowers and other sporing plants might not be a very good idea to place in the office.

I was discussing with an office worker last night and have found quite a few issues already. Pin-ups, post its, leaning on the wall, water access, and responsibility of the plants.

Would you say it's a go or a no?

Ming
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Re: Thesis Project on Indoor Gardening.... Please Comment

Postby Eeyore » Dec 03, 2008 1:42 pm

I would say it's a possibility but agree with BB, It should be managed by professionals rather than office staff. It's also not suitable for all environments so that needs to be taken into consideration too.
Lyn
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Re: Thesis Project on Indoor Gardening.... Please Comment

Postby ming_15 » Dec 03, 2008 1:54 pm

bluebird wrote:Green Walls are a great addition to any office that has the right conditions to provide a healthy environment in which the plants can thrive....

.......You should be able to get some great info from them. Good luck with your thesis!

http://www.greenspaceroofing.com/livingwalls/aboutlivingwalls.html


Well, I'm trying to design it as low level care for the workers. So that would mean just watering when needed and they would be informed when the water level is too low. I'd say refilling the water would be 3 minutes or so, but that depends on the water access, which is another problem.
As for the duty, I thought it as better looking and living plants = more bonus and dead plants = no bonus, but that was just a joke :lol:

The oasis idea seems pretty good, but the cubicle space I am talking about could be personalized so everyone would have a different one. However, I'm not sure if there are lounges or kitchens in every office. The point is that I'm trying to make people care for the plants, and yes I know it's hard to change people's behavior and likes and dislikes. I will keep the shared space oasis in mind.

As you said earlier that you have interior landscaping experience, could you give me some pointers as to what kinds of plants are good and what plants to avoid?
I did find a site that showed plants that remove pollutants http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/CoopExt/4DMG/Plants/clean.htm and one that shows required light level http://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheets/HGIC1450.htm

Could you explain a little about the mini-oasis spots? How did that work out in the end?

Thank you for the very useful information!

Ming
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Re: Thesis Project on Indoor Gardening.... Please Comment

Postby evepet » Dec 03, 2008 1:56 pm

I'm a plant lover so would enjoy this concept and be more than willing to donate some personal time to looking after my share of the living wall project. But I'm also an ex-personnel exec so I'd like to point out a couple of considerations.

Obviously this couldn't be implemented without management's agreement. Management would have to responsible for the original design and implementation, as it would involve structural and building/construction work. It would also have to be predetermined who would be responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the living wall, and whether this was to be considered part of that employee's normal job functions, or during 'personal time' ie. outside of regular office hours. Others above have suggested it would be best to place the ongoing care/maintance of the plants with a professional outside source, and I agree. It would be prudent to also have them in on the planning stages to ensure that things like lighting sources, air flow, watering sources, etc. were being adequately considered.

The reason it probably wouldn't work to place the ongoing maintenance of the project with the employees is because in any group of employees, some will love plants and be better equipped to care for them than others. Some won't be interested, or want to be bothered with it at all. This could lead to some conflict between employees, if one employee really is proud of efforts and spends personal time ensuring it's lush and thriving, while their neighbor is letting their plants get sick and crappy looking. Employees have been known to get in disagreements about much less.

Also remember that drafts coming from airconditionning and heating vents and entranceways could harm plants. This would have to be part of the original planning of where to put the walls, and the type of plants selected. Best left in the hands of somebody who knows plants well, like an outside professional.
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Re: Thesis Project on Indoor Gardening.... Please Comment

Postby ming_15 » Dec 03, 2008 1:58 pm

Eeyore wrote:I would say it's a possibility but agree with BB, It should be managed by professionals rather than office staff. It's also not suitable for all environments so that needs to be taken into consideration too.


I understand where this point is coming from, but what I'm saying is then wouldn't it just become what some offices have already, which are plants that are just there and some person comes and care for it once a while, except mine would be at a larger scale. In the end office workers would not really care for why the plants are there. But yes, people would not be caring much for the plants as I have heard that once a company gave out plants to everyone and not single one of those plants survived.

I could try to make the interaction more fun or interesting so people would like to engage with the plants some how.... but still thinking

Thanks for the input!

Ming
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