Group Title: Olasee Davis articles
Title: Carefully chosen plants can improve office life
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 Material Information
Title: Carefully chosen plants can improve office life
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Davis, Olasee
Publication Date: May 24, 1996
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Bibliographic ID: CA01300919
Volume ID: VID00112
Source Institution: University of the Virgin Islands
Holding Location: University of the Virgin Islands
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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The Daily Nsews, May 24, 2001

Carefully chosen plants

can improve office life

Recently. I took a group of siu-
dents from the St. Croix Education-
al Complex on hike to a dry forest
ecosystem at Jack's and Isaac's
bays. Even though this dry wilder-
ness area usually looks like the
great Arizona and New Mexico
desert, during spring, the area is
filled with flower blossoms from
trees. shrubs, and vine plants.
I was so excited about the plants
blossoming on the east end of St.
Croix. I told Myrtle Pemberton. my
co-worker, she had missed out on
an adventure watching wild flowers
blossoming across this desert land.
Pemberton, who works In the
business office on the St. Croix
campus of UVI. wishes sometimes
that she were outside hiking, pick-
ing wild flowers.
Of course, there ar days at the
office when some of us wish we



had never gotten out of bed. But
you know. live plants can case your
frustration in the office.
There is something about green-
cry that calms the nerves. Ask Myr.
tie Pemberton. who is also known
as "Plant Woman." An office with-
out the greenness of fresh plants
can be a pretty depressing place to
walk into first thing in the morning.
An office's sweeping flat sur-
face offers the perfect backdrop for

v See PLANTS, acing page

plants. while they. mtum. help to
relieve the blankness of long walls.
corridors and partitions. plants can
give a warm and inviting look that
you don't get with furniture alone
Studies show that plants increase
productivity as well. Yet are is the
office whose space Is not at a pre-
mium. Furniure tops are needed for
workday paraphernalia while walk-
ways must be kept clear for safe
Too much of a good thing can
also be harmful. When plants are
too numerous and varied, they
become a distraction and perfor-
mance suffers.
So if you haven't much lime to
tend to plants. it is better to have
one you can keep looking nice than
a number of plants struggling to
survive. Just as an office is
designed to help t unm smoothly, so
too should the pla-scaping aim for
the practical.
Choosing greenery for an office
takes knowing how much light each
plant needs. On the average, a
brightly lt office has between 50 to
100 foot candles of light. This
amount is adequate light for almost
all indoor plants. You see, whatever
light indoor plants require in their
unaal outdoor environment, that is

the amount required indoors.
Light enables a plant to manu-
facture food in the leaves. There-
fore, higher light means more food
production, resulting in faster
An indoor plant cannot get too
much light. Sometimes a plant next
to a sunny window scorches, but
this is only because it is underwa-
Indoor plants like trees and fens
generally need the highest light.
while most palms and cane plants
tolerate least.
An office plant is considered
happy when it grows new leaves a
least as fast as it sheds its oldest
leaves. If a plant loses it leaves
faster than it grows new ones. t is
dying. Some plants can grow with
low light better than others and still
sufferno less in decorative quality.
One such example, which works
particularly well for dressing up the
tops of filing cabinets, is Scindap-
sus aureus, a new variety of the
ied and true trailing pothos, with
the added attraction of gold-varie-
ed leaves.
Where there is room for only a
few plants, sticking to a single vari-
ety and massing them together re-
aes the impression you have more

than is actually the case. Plants on
top of the filing cabinets, lined up
in a row and standing out in the
open can act as a divider.
A certain amount of consistency
and uniformity in plants imbues an
office with a sense of order and
conveys the impression that things
are under control. In looking down
a sea of desks in large open room,
for example I like to see each one
holding a single plan. all of which
are identical in type and placed in
the same comer on each desk.
Plants can visually shorten the
space in a long hall; a single hand-
some specimen can even stand in
for sculpture.
You should choose plants that
have neat growth habits or that can
be kept under control by pruning.
Plants left to grow out of control
will not make an office feel more
like the outdoors.
So Mytle. ll the decoration you
make in your office with plants can-
not come close to Jack and Isaac
Bays wild flowers. After all, that's
why wild flowers are called just
that- wild.
Olase Davis. who holds a mas
ter of science degree in range man-
aement and forestry ecology, is a
St. Croix ecologist. activist and

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