entertainingFood & Drinkoutdoorweeders digest

weeder’s digest: feng shui

by Grace Bonney


Def: home, domicile, or dwelling

Ex: Dang du…your CRIB is phat YO! (Your house is very pleasing to the eye; Contemporary flare, yet structurally sound. May I have a look around my good man?)

[From Urban Dictionary]

Good afternoon class, and welcome to today’s seminar: Harnessing Mystical Energies in the Home. I’m your host – I mean teacher, Sarah Ryhanen. Today we will examine the presence and effect of flora indoors. Everyone have their crystals out and ready? Ch’i meters on? Good! Here we go…

Rooted in early Chinese thought, Feng Shui is the practice of arranging one’s living environment to maximize the flow of energy, or Ch’i. The practice of Feng Shui stresses the importance of harmony as it is found in the natural world. It is thought that when one disregards the flow of nature, one creates misfortune and harm. It follows that a balance of forces, as taught by the Tao and the principals of “Yin” and “Yang”, results in a healthy and happy home. Simply put – there are things that bring bad energy into a home; and they include: clutter, dead plants and flowers, sharp corners, fingernail clippings on the kitchen table and unreturned Netflix. Let it be known that I cannot speak to the proper, professional practice of Feng Shui. But I can give my personal Shui testimony …

Two days ago I am busy shuffling clutter from one end of my apartment to the other as I often do. Clutter is fun, I’ve always said. People who keep neat houses are boring! I want to be surrounded by my junk! Huddle it close and let it comfort me until there’s a new episode of Gossip Girl. Let it spill off the mantel into bowls dripping with broken jewelry, postage stamps and used matches! There may be age-old half baguettes and shriveled citrus fruits littering my kitchen, but there’s also a lot of love! And mice…

Yesterday I arrive home from the city flinging various pieces of my outfit to the floor and mumbling to the dog as I grab a bag of cookies, broadcasting a trail of crumbs behind me. I get to my room and stop. It occurs to me that I find no sanctuary in my home. The energy is all off! There is no “being” here…just “doing.” That being a big problem. And so I set out to pimp my crib with some more chi. Clear surfaces, confine clutter. Distribute plants appropriately. Live plants help to balance negative energy in your home. They combat “poison arrows” (sharp angles and corners) where chi tends to pool and fester. I put a blooming geranium in a strange corner. Voila! Me chi floweth freely! I move on to our bedroom to de-clutter my bedside table and throw a jasmine plant in an awkward gap. The fragrance of jasmine is lovely and peaceful. Rest inducing. I’m on a roll… I’m starting to see daisy chains around everything. Eric’s room presents a slew of poison arrows. Jade! Hosta! (Jade plants are said to help to promote wealth and prosperity. Many guru’s recommend a Jade – a hearty, low maintenance plant – on your desk where you mange finances.) A 4-inch deep closet serves as a cluttered bookcase – I stack the books neatly, smart titles in front, and jam some plants in there. Hot damn! This morning I examine a cutting in water of a magnificent silver-leafed begonia from a friend. The tiniest roots seem to be forming, and things are on the up and up.

Incidentally, when I wrote two weeks ago about the plant Purple Heart, I meant to offer cuttings to anyone who wanted them. I’ll be around the shop on Saturday, if your in the area, please come in and grab one. It really is an easy plant to grow. You’ll be on the way to Shui darling.


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  • Love it! My favorite cuttings are magnolia leaves and nandina with its fire red leaves. Fortunately, I have oodles of that in my front yard!

  • I’ve been on a plant-buying rampage lately. They are very more-ish, aren’t they? I still make room for cut flowers, but I actually notice a difference in the air quality with the plants (the air tends to get very dried out in winter)!

  • Another great post. I definitely need to add some plants around my house. Only I don’t have much natural light. Any plant suggestions for for the light-deprived such as myself?

  • I definitely need a jade plant for my desk because my finances could use all they help they can get!!! Fun post to read!
    Victoria from EdinDesigns @ DesignTies

  • here isn Austin, TX it is a weeeeed. i can’t stand ‘purple heart’ which we grew up calling it and its green variety ‘wandering Jew’ (being Jewish i can say this :-)). now i wont even go into its tenacity and ability to adapt as a possible reason for the name [read: racial stereotype] but as a Jew i like to credit it with wonderful abilities to survive and i can not seem to rid my garden of it!
    i love what you have done with it and am rethinking my dislike for ‘purple heart’ aka ‘wandering Jew’.

  • houseplants are what gets me through the Pittsburgh winters. who needs pets or roommates when you have 39 plants? It’s a good thing I didn’t have any BEFORE I met my husband!

  • aaaah! Just been decluttering before my mother in law’s visit (read throwing it all into my office until I can barely shut the door, then shutting the door). Reading this I feel slightly like I’ve been found out :) The desk I manage the finances at could definitely do with some kind of plant, if only to distract from the un feng shui-d mess. I’ll get right on it as soon as she’s gone…

  • New plants are such a good way to bridge the current gap between winter and spring! I would love a new angel wing begonia!

  • the best, most entertaining post I have read!
    You have gotten me interested in plants (and that is no easy feat – very plant I have owned is no longer…)
    Well done!

  • I have a 25 year old spider plant..given to me by my son for mother’s day! Still in the same little container..also a nonproducing orange tree I bought in the Tampa Airport as a seedling..it is big and thorny..who would guess that orange trees have thorns! Happy to find tulips in Safeway..they are fabulous as they open and get blousey..try to deal with clutter but I love to create “sets” on all my surfaces..

  • Girl! You’re Funny! I can’t dwell with out plants. And my plants can not dwell without names. They all have names and they are all my friends. We have chats from time to time. Mostly things like “Hey! look at the mess you made on the floor!” But they clean my air so I can’t complain now can I.

  • Thank you. I have read many feng shui books, finally found one that made sense. Your comment about flowing chi reminded me to check again. Must do every so often. Again, Thanks

  • i was just thinking about my new appt. today and how i need more plants. totally on the same note and i need more chi shui in my home too. thanks for writing fun articles to read. they are great and i always look forward to them.

  • Thanks! I am loving this column too :) I live in a basement apartment with only ONE WINDOW (very depressing) and would love to have some low maintenance plants.. I too would be grateful for some low light suggestions..

  • funny and intersting. i’m inspired and will jumpstart the weekend by spreading some chi around this house too. could use it. there’s certainly a lot of “doing” getting in the way of “being” here as well (we just moved in a few weeks ago).

  • Lady, you kill me. You need a blog all to yourself. Don’t worry, d*s, I’d still read you, too! More more more!!!

  • I loved this article!! So cute and interesting. If I ever get a house, I will scatter plants in every corner!!

  • I am absolutely loving all the posts this week. So much inspiration. I immediately MOVED my jade plant to my studio desk…whew.

  • These posts are always so great. I love plants, and I think it was a great addition to the site. I always look forward to reading these funny/witty and interesting/engaging pieces.

  • Oh for a green thumb! I kill everything, and I mean everything. I finally gave up and got a silk plant(gasp!), put it too close to the toaster and melted it. Optimistic as I am, I keep buying live plants, and when they are just about dead, I throw them in Bernies plant graveyard and ta da they come back to life..thankfully I live in Florida.

  • As always, I love the Weeder’s Digest post, and couldn’t agree more that the presence of houseplants makes a huge difference in one’s home. Alas, all of mine are in one spot since I have so much clutter everywhere else that the houseplants have been confined to two very corner-y tables.
    That said, they make my house a home. A cousin visiting from far away recently asked me if I was getting ready to open a plant nursery…
    My favorites: the ever prolific spider plant, a variety of succulents (esp. donkey tail sedum), and the split leaf philodendron.
    Someone mentioned the Angel wing begonia… I gave my mom one for Christmas. Ordered it from Logee’s. It is gorgeous. I think I want one myself now.

  • low light plants:
    snake plants…someone told me once you can grown them in the closet.
    -peace lillies
    -cast iron plant
    -chinese evergreen
    -silver lace fern

  • I’m late with this, but thank you for the list of low light plants! My window sills are so full that I had to bring plants to the office (got weird looks from my all-male coworkers). Now I can fill up the dark spots as well!