Here at Inspired Habitat, we’re all about a fresh new look on a whole-life approach to living green. We’re more about looking forward to what we can do to change the world of the future rather than looking back at what’s been done to the planet in the past. We’re all about being real, not radical. And we’re always learning, changing, and moving forward with an eye on tomorrow. With Earth Day approaching, we figured it was time to talk recycling again. Continue reading
Spring is in the air, and along with it come images of springtime gardens, fresh produce, and the scent of fresh herbs. There is something incredibly satisfying about growing your own fresh herbs; it’s easy, and can be done indoors or out. There is no space so small that you can’t grow a few fresh herbs for culinary use. All you need is a sunny spot, and you’re ready to go. If space is really tight, you can even grow herbs in a reclaimed wine bottle. Want your herbs the easy way? Try growing fresh organic herbs right in their own bag.
- Start by arranging your outdoor space to suit your needs. Are you doing lots of afternoon cookouts by the grill, or are you offering more sit-down dinners al fresco? Consider how you’ll use your space, then start looking for stylish, sustainable outdoor furniture that fits your lifestyle.
- Don’t forget to light up the night. Once the sun goes down, you’ll need to throw some light on the area. Try a combination of solar lanterns and candlelight for a truly stunning look that’s also sustainable. No electrical outlet required!
- Treat your outdoor spaces like a room. Go ahead, add an outdoor area rug, toss on some cushions or pillows, and provide your guests with comfy throws for when the nights get a little chilly. Add a vase with flowers and break out the table linens if you like.
- Use what you’ve got. You don’t need a huge space to make outdoor entertaining work for you. If space is tight, try serving finger foods that don’t require sitting at a table to eat. Or serve the meal inside and enjoy after dinner cocktails on the balcony.
Treat your outdoor space the same way you treat the inside of your home—it’s another room in your home, it just lacks a ceiling. Decorate it to reflect your personal style, and make it a place you and your guests can use and enjoy every day. Nothing beats being outdoors with good friends and good food when the weather’s fine. Especially in early spring, when we’re ready to throw off winter’s chill and enjoy the sun and fresh air.
Linen may be one of the oldest textiles in the world, dating back to at least 8,000 BC. The threads are spun from the stems of the flax plant, a naturally bug and disease resistant crop that is also grown for its seeds. The fabric woven from these threads has a unique finish, is stronger than cotton, and can last for years with proper care. Linen is the classic fabric for tablecloths, napkins, and even bedding.
Bugs are a fact of nature, and a good fact at that. They’re a vital part of the food chain, and over 75 percent of our food crops are pollinated thanks to the help of bugs. Bees are disappearing at alarming rates; impacted by everything from habitat loss to pesticide use. Butterfly populations are on the decline for similar reasons. Green gardens are vital to the health and survival of beneficial bugs. When it comes to bees, there’s more than just the honeybee to think about.
First off, don’t fear the bees. The common myth is that they’re out to sting you. The truth is, bees flitting around your garden are mostly solitary creatures. If there’s no hive to defend, they’d rather avoid you. If you want to attract more bees to your garden, leave some wild habitats for them. Loose, bare soil, brush piles, and dead trees all make attractive bee sites. Keep those bee habitats well away from seating and play areas, and avoid use of pesticides and herbicides. Plant lots of native plants to help support local pollinators. Try planting mixes of different flowering plants, like a fragrant flower garden, or flowers meant to attract butterflies.
Make sure your garden includes water that’s bee friendly—a shallow dish with rocks that are only partially submerged works well. Why not just use a pond or birdbath? Bees are like flying tanks—they’re not particularly good at landing on water. If you prefer a bath or pond feature, make sure there are bee-friendly landing zones near the water.
Want some bee facts?
- Not all bees make honey. In fact, less than 5 percent of bee species produce honey in measurable quantities.
- Not all bees sting. Many species don’t have stingers, which are really modified egg-laying apparatus. Which means, if it’s got a stinger, it’s a female bee.
- Not all bees live in hives. Honey bees live in the classic, well-structured hive. Many bee species, however, are more solitary, or form loose social structures.
- Bees don’t see red. They do see greens, blues and yellows (as well as orange shades), but the real secret to their vision is that they see ultraviolet light.