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Is stress getting you down? Here’s some ways to unwind

Are today’s fast-paced lifestyles and pressures on the job leaving a lot of folks feeling anxious, nervous, worried, lacking energy and perhaps even difficulty at falling asleep? Listening to radio news, watching it on TV and reading the news in print are further daily reminders we live in a stress-filled, perplexed world and trying times. Stress is a reality, but we can do something about it.

As always, a welcoming tip o’ my hat to all joining me on the Singing Gardener page and thanks for tuning in to this edition of ‘Ted’s Print Talk’ in Grainews.

Ways to relax and unwind

Would you bet your bottom dollar that gardening and a connection with houseplants can help ease stress? The phrase “bet your bottom dollar” has been floating around for over 150 years and can mean a number of things such as risking your last bit of coin in your change purse which you normally might not want to risk losing. More directly it means: Of course; Indeed I would; Sure thing!

A daily exercise plan, walking, adequate rest and health-promoting, nutritious food are critical. People have used their hands to help one another for thousands of years. One of my personal favourites is a good reflexology treatment on the bare feet. If you know of a qualified reflexologist in your area, consider booking a session for yourself to improve circulation, normalize glands and organs and relax tension.

I’m also a proponent of Therapeutic Touch. Not a lot of lay people know how to apply it, but some nurses have been trained in the practice of TT. Using their hands without any physical touching, they help assist a patient in restoring improved health by rebalancing body energy. Neither the practitioner nor the client is required to believe in Therapeutic Touch in order to achieve benefits.

Plants are a de-stressing tool

December has arrived and Christmas Day is not far off. It’s that time of year when a lot of plants of various sundry are given and received. Why do so many humans get more stressed than ever this month? Overspending and bringing in the new year “too high on the hog” may be high on the list of reasons why.

Can touching a houseplant…

… help a person feel less stressed? Sure it sounds strange, but go ahead and try it on any houseplant with smooth leaves for a couple of minutes, then decide whether it initiates a feeling of calmness and well-being. Stand near or sit by the plant, close your eyes and slowly count to 120. Remember any plant with smooth leaves works best. Using one or both hands, place thumb and fingers on top of a leaf, or top and bottom simultaneously and gently, but slowly run them back and forth.

As you know, started amaryllis plants or amaryllis bulbs and Christmas cactus plants are hot-ticket items during this gift-giving season. If you’ve had challenges growing indoor plants, one that’s pretty well foolproof and survives with minimal attention is Sansevieria. I’ve seen them this fall at florist shops and some store locations that have a garden centre. It’s sad to reveal and rather unkind that this attractive houseplant is commonly called Mother-in-Law’s Tongue with the alternate name of Snake Plant.

Sansevieria originates from an attractive family of houseplants whose background includes many popular cultivars possessing gorgeous coloured leaves that are thick, stiff, sometimes slightly twisted, textured and fleshy. The leaves possess great character and reach upwards to a couple of feet (60 cm) and more.

Most of us have a spot in the house or office that gets very little natural light. Just a single Sansevieria plant can brighten such a location and give it a feel of energy. It requires very little water, especially during winter. Your cue is when the pot becomes quite dry, or if leaves show signs of drooping. Use distilled, rain or melted snow at room temperature. Water along the sides of the plant and keep water out of the centre of the leaf clump. You can wipe Sansevieria leaves with a damp cloth when they get dusty. Here’s what works well for me and results in shiny leaves. I wipe tops and bottoms of my plants that have stiff leaves, including the rubber tree plant with pure skim milk.

Ted says: Try your luck in my tomato seed draws

Well, as you know, I don’t just sing about tomatoes. I grow ’em too. Lucky me, or perhaps I should say: Lucky 16 gardeners because yours truly had the good fortune to get Ganti, Ferris Wheel, Flin Flon and Italian Heirloom tomato seeds and I’m giving ’em away in a draw during February 2015.

I’ll select 16 entries from those received and each of the 16 winners will receive one packet (my choice) of heritage tomato seeds in the mail. Depending on the tomato variety you win, fruits can weigh anywhere from one pound (454 grams) to considerably larger. Winners’ names will appear in a March 2015 Grainews issue. Nothing ventured, nothing gained is the old expression! Mail your complete name and mailing address to:

Tomato Seed Draws

Ted Meseyton

The Singing Gardener

Grainews

PO Box 9800

Winnipeg, Man. R3C 3K7.

Warm milk at bedtime

… is almost a sure cure for a good night’s sleep. I recall from childhood days when Mother warmed plain milk back then, or with a touch of honey stirred in. This tried-and-true remedy has been passed down for generations by moms and grandmothers across the land. Amino acids in milk are the not-so-secret ingredient that help us relax and unwind. Tryptophan in milk, (also found in turkey meat and recommended to those with psoriasis) is the bonus nutrient that guides us on the road to slumber land.

2015 is close at hand

In the coming new year, may all of its days,

Bring good things to you and good things to me,

Then let them remain ’til it’s new year again,

With a heart full of love, let it be.

Happy New Year, family and friends near,

Happy New Year, peace and good cheer,

A happy, happy New Year to all Grainews readers.

Amaryllis bulbs are now readily available at many florist shops and garden centres. A pair of green thumbs is not required for success either. Follow easy directions and the result is spectacular colour. Some florists also sell started amaryllis in pots.

Amaryllis bulbs are now readily available at many florist shops and garden centres. A pair of green thumbs is not required for success either. Follow easy directions and the result is spectacular colour. Some florists also sell started amaryllis in pots.
photo: Ted Meseyton

You don't have to be from Flin Flon to have a hankering to grow Flin Flon tomato seeds. Ted tells how to enter his draws for a chance to win a packet of Flin Flon tomato seeds, or else a tomato seed packet of either Ferris Wheel, or Ganti or Italian Heirloom. Sixteen tomato seed packets in all -- 16 future winners.

You don’t have to be from Flin Flon to have a hankering to grow Flin Flon tomato seeds. Ted tells how to enter his draws for a chance to win a packet of Flin Flon tomato seeds, or else a tomato seed packet of either Ferris Wheel, or Ganti or Italian Heirloom. Sixteen tomato seed packets in all — 16 future winners.
photo: Ted Meseyton

About the author

Columnist

Ted Meseyton

This is Ted Meseyton the Singing Gardener and Grow-It Poet from Portage la Prairie, Man. I salute all gardeners and farmers who help make our world a little safer and more ecologically balanced, and who toil to provide health-giving produce to others who cannot produce their own. It takes all sorts to make a world. One half of the world doesn’t know how the other half lives. The best physicians are Dr. Diet, Dr. Quiet and Dr. Merryman.

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