Painful Plants: Five Houseplants That Can Cause Injury

It’s not something that you hear about on the news all that often, but your houseplants might be a serious source of injury and illness for you, your family and your pets. Though most of us aren’t going around trying to ingest the flowers and plants growing in our gardens and homes, a curious cat or a child that leaves your sight for a minute can seriously injure themselves by touching, picking or eating a plant. While most of these plants won’t lead to death, knowing the potential dangers that might be lurking in your home is a great preventative step to avoiding a trip to the hospital or vet.

Chrysanthemum

These beautiful flowers with a very long name can be a great addition to your home’s garden or a vase at a dinner table. They’re also a great way to keep vermin such as rabbits from digging in your garden, and have insecticidal properties too. However, chrysanthemums can be potentially dangerous to children and curious pets wandering around in search of something to play with or munch on. The flowers, which are toxic, can cause irritation to the skin and lead to condition known as dermatitis if left untreated. Though not terribly injuring, chrysanthemums can lead to a need for allergy medication and cause severe inflammation of the skin.

Hydrangea

Hydrangea are incredibly alluring to children. To the young boy or girl with an active imagination, the puffy, colorful, bush-like plant can look appear quite similar to cotton candy. Hydrangeas, however, are anything but edible. Those who ingest the flowers of the plant can suffer from itching, sweating, weakness and vomiting. In severe cases, the plant can lead to even more severe conditions such as coma and blood circulation problems, and someone who ingests the plant may not experience the symptoms for several hours causing confusion to a less-than-knowledgeable parent. For pets, ingestion can lead to an unfortunate death. Though there is an antidote, preventing any negative side effects in the first place is obviously much easier and less nerve wracking for a concerned parent.

Aloe Vera

Though we usually associate this plant with its healing properties, and thus think it’s relatively safe to keep in our home, Aloe Vera can be a hidden danger in your home. Though the clear gel inside can be beneficial and soothing to burns are painful injuries, touching or ingestion of the outer skin and inner layers of the plant can lead to irritation of both the skin and intestines if swallowed. Thus, be careful when thinking this sometimes-beneficial plant can’t cause any harm to your child or pet!

Mistletoe

That’s right, the plant we typically associate with excuses for embarrassing kisses around the Christmas and Winter holidays can pose a significant harm to humans. Though usually hung far out of the reach of pets and small children, the berries of mistletoe are actually poisonous when ingested. Again, though most of the time the plant is far from prying and curious pets or children who might want to eat the berries, parents and pet owners should be careful when decorating their home not to leave the plant unattended and in reach of those vulnerable to its allure.

Daffodils

The Narcissus family of plants, which iare more commonly known to most as daffodils, are some of the most dangerous plants you might have in your garden or vase at home. Though they have a beautiful, cheery appearance and are often seen as the early signs of spring, their innocent appearance belies more serious potential dangers. Ingestion of their bulbs can cause vomiting, diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, and even tremors. In some cases, ingestion of the bulbs can lead to a fatality if untreated. While a great addition to your garden, ensuring the safety of your children and pets is crucial when choosing to plant daffodils in your yard.

Meredith “Shelly” Troberman is a co-founder and lawyer at Carroll Troberman Law, an Austin, Texas based law office that represents clients in cases of criminal defense, injury and DWI cases. Though she’s never gone to court against a hydrangea, Troberman is serious about preventing all injury — big or small, and cares for the safety and well-being of everyone whether you’ve been in an accident with a drunk driver, or simply have a child who loves to explore and try the taste of the leaves of a houseplant.






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How To Make The Best Of Your Small City Garden

Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could all live in the countryside and have beautiful gardens, wooded areas, ponds and somewhere for the children to disappear off to? How about pouring a glass of cold wine and sitting with a bowl of olives on your patio looking out at the rolling hills?  Ok, this is my dream, and actually I’m sat here with a cold cup of tea looking out at a postage stamp of a garden with rolling roofs as a view.  Your city garden doesn’t have to be duff. It is possible for us city dwellers to have a really smart space that is both functional and leafy. If, like me, you’re uninspired and have no idea how to make your patio fit for a party, or your pots productive, then read on to get glean some tips.

Work out your space

It may seem tiny but you could be surprised by how large the area is once it is cleared of clutter and the general garden detritus that we collect. Get out and clear up so that you can take some proper measurements to make a plan.

How do you want to use it?

You need to decide what is you actually want from your outdoor space. We went against small city garden advice and decided to have a grassy area. We felt that it would be nicer for the children but it may suit you to have zero maintenance and go for a patio. Maybe you want to grow as much as possible or maybe you need to block a nasty view. Prioritise what your requirements are.

Style

You may already have fixed ideas about the style of your garden, but if you have no clue, then buy some gardening magazines or get some books out from the library. Make yourself a folder and snip out cuttings when you see something you like that you think may be transferable to your space. You will probably work out quite quickly what type of garden you’re drawn to, whether it’s formal and structured, or flowing like a cottage garden. Both these types and others can be incorporated into a small space.

Ambiance

Some people think of certain garden adornments as tacky but there are ways to create an atmosphere in your space with resorting to naff items. Some small lanterns or a discreet water feature can add soothing lights and sounds and make a brilliant outdoor space for entertaining or simply relaxing.

Think Pots

Pots are the small garden owner’s friend. There are countless styles, shapes, colours and sizes and numerous outlets to purchase them in. Almost anything can be grown in a container: small trees, fruit shrubs, perhaps roses or exotic plants. They can line the edges, cluster on steps or be hung from walls and fences. Box shapes are often an effective way to maximise space while adding structure to your urban design. The possibilities are endless and you don’t need to be a horticulturalist or have an urban design job to make your space fabulous. Everyone can have a go. In fact, I’m going to get a hot cup of tea and sit in my garden with a magazine and get some ideas to improve my own.

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Sam Wright is a urban journalist and dweller of small spaces with pots of advice.

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Wake Up And Smell The Flowers – Why Gardeners Are The Happiest Workers

There is this hallowed idea among the general working population that some of us are happy. Do you know any of these people? I know a few but I also know a few more that aren’t  Maybe in your social circle job satisfaction is the norm but there are an awful lot of people for whom this is not the case. They may have had ideas and dreams as a child or teen but somehow life didn’t pan out that way. We’ve all heard the cliché that money doesn’t bring happiness. According to a City and Guilds study, gardeners are the happiest workers and the least happy are, wait for it… bankers! What is it that makes us happy and contented in our work and why is it so important? We spend such a large part of our week at work. Even when we’re not there, we’re often thinking about it or preparing to go back, so it makes sense that our feelings towards our work will affect our general well being. Apparently, to be truly happy and contented at work, we need to feel recognised, appreciated and supported. We need to feel as if we’re doing something worthwhile while being able to use our skills every day, as well as receiving training and having the opportunity to learn. Gardeners, it would seem, are getting all of this in spades. Ahem. Read on to see how they manage to tick all these boxes.

Exercise

It’s good for us! We all know that really. Many of us spend the day sitting at a desk and call at the gym after work, or go out for a run. Well, I have heard of such people anyway, but gardening is pretty much hard core exercise all day long. Bending, squatting, digging, weeding, hoeing and raking makes a pretty good workout for the whole body and most gardeners will be fit and toned, presumably adding to their general contentment as well as filling them with endorphins.

Breathe

An added bonus of all of this lovely, happy exercise is that it is executed outside in the fresh air. Plenty of sunshine, vitamin D, and lots of lovely oxygen in the lungs contribute to a healthy lifestyle. The downside is being required to work in bad weather but fresh air is mood boosting even if it is a rainy day.

Creation

People tend to feel real pride in creating things and gardeners are constantly surrounded by the fruits of their labour. Planting a seed and watching it grow into a plant is one of life’s simple pleasures and in gardening this will often be happening on a grand scale. Being surrounded by beauty that has been cultivated and created by ourselves is extremely pleasing, leading to that all elusive job satisfaction.

Nurture = Love

Creating a wonderful garden is an act of love. It requires the gardener to nurture and care for their plants and raise their babies into healthy adults. This is the same for relationships and well, if it can be done in the garden…

Dirt is good for you

As well as the digging part being good for you, there is actually something in the mud that improves mood and reduces anxiety. A particular bacterium has been shown to be present in the soil that can have all sorts of health benefits as well as increasing serotonin. With all of these pointers for happiness and well-being, I, for one, am going to log off now and get out in my garden.

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Sam Wright is happily growing and working as a journalist for HorticultureJobs.

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