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Singing Gardener: Remembrance Day 2018

Plus, a houseplant that may help you get a good night’s sleep

Ladybird poppy always generates a lot of comment. Brilliant-scarlet flowers with central black blobs provide a wonderful splash of colour during early summer. Ladybird is a sow-and-forget poppy that self-seeds annually if it likes your garden.

Hey! Hello my fellow Canadians. By the time this issue of Grainews arrives in your mailbox, Remembrance Day 2018 will be close at hand. I’ve always appreciated a spot set aside in the garden for growing poppies, especially Ladybird Flanders poppy. Even during midsummer, poppies remind me of Canadian doctor, surgeon and teacher John McCrae who is best known for his memorial poem “In Flanders Fields.” McCrae was born on November 30, 1872, in Guelph, Ontario.

Many among regular readers who join me in Grainews probably know by now that I can be a sort of wandering kind of writer. A little of this and that; more about something else and occasionally a whole lot dedicated to a single subject.

On today’s agenda, yours truly has some good things to say about a houseplant that’s pictured on this page, plus a recipe for a homemade moisturizing nasal spray concocted by a medical doctor way back in the 1960s.

A cabaret song from years long past came to mind. Some of the words say: “O the doors swing in and the doors swing out, where some pass through and others pass out.” Well I’m swinging into action and my words of welcome are passed out to all with the tip of my Tilley hat.

The ode of Remembrance

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

The above is an extract from: “For the Fallen,” by Laurence Binyon. It was first published in The Times of London on September 21, 1914 just a few weeks following the start of the First World War on July 28 that year. His war poem is among the most famous and widely read in the English language. Binyon was too old to enlist as a soldier in the Great War, but volunteered in hospitals helping wounded French soldiers. He wrote “For the Fallen” in Cornwall shortly after the Battle of the Marne.

Sansevieria trifasciata “Laurentii”

Thinking about buying a houseplant? There are numerous reasons why we all need at least one or perhaps several of the following for the home. Three commonly known names are “Snake Plant” and “Mother-in-Law’s Tongue.” Its third everyday name is “Bedroom Plant” but in my opinion such monikers simply do not do justice to this durable and remarkable easy-to-care-for indoor foliage plant. Let me interject here for a moment and point out the following. You can own a Snake Plant for decades and never know that it can produce flowers — but then one day, seemingly out of the blue, you discover — whoopee — that it has produced a flower stalk. Snake Plant makes an excellent any-time-of-the-year gift — yes even as a Christmas present. So I’m suggesting that maybe florist shops and plant vendors might consider stocking up on a supply of Sansevieria trifasciata “Laurentii” Snake Plants. Also, remember to renew your Grainews subscription or give a Grainews subscription as a gift over the forthcoming holiday season. You’ll be kindly thought of each time the recipient receives their copy. Call Grainews subscription department toll free at 1-800-665-0502.

Having trouble sleeping at night?

Ah sweet slumber! The following alone is reason No. 1 for keeping a Snake Plant in your bedroom. Why in the bedroom, you ask? The answer: Because this plant converts CO2 into oxygen at night and improves air quality overall. Just three of them throughout the house can do wonders. Snake Plant is one of at least a dozen air-improving plants recommended by NASA space scientists. Their Clean Air study showed that Snake Plants are one of the few plants that convert carbon dioxide into oxygen at night, making them perfect to place in your bedroom. Most other plants absorb oxygen at night, which is why they are not recommended to be kept in your sleeping area. If there’s one sentence to keep in mind, here it is. A Snake Plant boosts oxygen for better sleep! Its benefits go even further. Do you sneeze a lot or have eyes that feel dry or watery? Snake Plant has antioxidants that help provide protection from eye irritants, respiratory problems and headaches by removing over 85 per cent of harmful toxins that may be present in the air we breathe from various environmental and household sources.

Ted holds a diehard houseplant that provides health benefits for long life, vitality and comfy sleep and tells Grainews readers why Sansevieria, a.k.a. Snake Plant, a.k.a. Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, and a.k.a. Bedroom Plant is a must-have plant in the bedroom. photo: Ted Meseyton

Is Snake Plant only useful at night? Not at all! Studies have shown that having them in industrial and office environments can greatly improve the quality of the air, thus helping staff function better throughout the day. Matter of fact, the Paharpur Business Centre of New Delhi was declared the healthiest building in that city, after investigation determined it was due to having an abundance of Snake Plants all over the building. Snake Plant has also shown to reduce energy consumption by cutting ventilation needs due to its great ability at improving the quality of air in any work or living space. Microscopic pores on the plant’s leaves called the stomata are unlike most other plants and only open at night. The pores exchange gases to prevent water from escaping via evaporation and in return oxygen is released at night. Majority of most other plants only exchange gases during the day. Maybe this is one reason why Snake Plants are considered to be good-luck plants. Think of it as striking it rich with improved indoor air quality especially in the bedroom.

How to care for snake plants

They’re virtually indestructible even in low light, although avoid being heavy handed with the watering. Snake Plants seem to thrive even in homes with hot, dry air. The more you ignore them, the better they do at putting up with almost anything. Give each Snake Plant a drink of some chlorine-evaporated water once the top five cm (two inches) of soil are dry. Feed every two to four weeks with an all-purpose half-strength liquid plant fertilizer especially during active growing periods of spring and summer. Enjoy the bold, sassy architectural appearance of a Snake Plant but do keep in mind it doesn’t like temperatures below 10 C.

Moisturizing nasal spray misting solution

Can you tell when a cold is just starting? The following home remedy was devised by a medical doctor who says we may be able to banish some colds from taking hold or getting a real start by nasal misting with his moisturizing spray recipe. He says it also banishes dry crusts in the nose.

Ingredients and Method

  • 1 tbsp. glycerin
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. 70% rubbing alcohol
    (Both items are available at drug marts and pharmacies)
  • 1 tsp. table salt
  • 2 c. distilled water

If using chlorinated tap water let it sit first overnight in an uncovered glass container. Mix ingredients together thoroughly until salt is dissolved. Pour some into a clean misting bottle or atomizer. To use: mist some into each nostril several times a day as needed. In real bad cases spray the inside of your nose thoroughly every hour or two. Keep warm, drink liquids and get a good night’s sleep. This practice alone may stop some colds in their tracks.

Trust confirming statements

There was a long drought this year so citizens from several communities decided to pray for rain. On the day of prayer all the people gathered, but only one boy came with an umbrella. That’s faith.

When Dad throws his baby in the air, she laughs because she knows he will catch her. That’s trust.

Each night we go to bed without any assurance of being alive the next morning, but still we set the alarm clock to wake us up. That’s hope. Enjoy life now. It has an expiry date.

We plan things for tomorrow and beyond in spite of troubles, jobs, finance issues and scattered uncertainty about the future. That’s confidence.

We see the world suffering, but still we get married and have children. That’s love.

On an elderly man’s shirt is written this sentence. “I am not 80 years old! I am sweet 16 with 64 years of life experience.” That’s attitude.

About the author


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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