Add Some Zen to your Workplace or Home with Tips From Avon Lyons of Violetta

Add Some Zen to your Workplace or Home with Tips From Avon Lyons of Violetta

Plants.  We all love them, right?  I mean, look at all the benefits - they’re said to absorb harmful chemicals, regulate humidity, reduce stress, and create oxygen...the very thing we need to live.   I mean, heck, there’s a reason Thoreau wrote a book basically glorifying the benefits to being immersed in nature. When things get a little crazy, adding in a little greenery to a stress-inducing space can be immediately calming and therapeutic.  And that’s exactly what Ben did when he felt the need to add some zen to his office. He tapped our friend Avon Lyons of Violetta and she transformed a drab and dreary office into a space where we all now elect to have our meetings (i’m sure he’s stoked about this).  We’ll tell you more about that later...but for now let’s talk about Avon. Avon is our go-to plant guru within Strategic Hospitality. She has a real knack for making a space feel homey...simply by adding that touch of nature.  You can find her arrangements in Henrietta Red, Attaboy, Merchants, Folk, Cafe Roze, and countless others.  She has that rarely found talent of pinpointing the right feel of a space and really enhancing it...her work is truly stunning.  

If there was ever a need for some zen and a boost in creativity, it’s now.  It’s July. Fourth of July was mid-week and leaving work for a holiday is always way more stressful than it should be.  There’s a lot to get done, a lot of people are out of town, and honestly the days seem to really drag on and on. Cue the plants. I thought we should follow in Ben’s footsteps and reach out to Avon to hear her advice on the benefits of bringing some of that outdoor life, indoors.  What range of wellness benefits do plants actually offer?  What types of plants will work for me?  Is the hardware store really the best place to source these plants or is there some boutique i’m missing the word on?  Avon dished the dirt.

According to Avon, house plants really do have a wide range of benefits...and actually they’re pretty epic.   “Plants in indoor spaces have a range of health benefits that include removing toxins from the air and providing extra oxygen to the environment,” says Avon.  “Psychologically, they can provide a calming presence that can lower blood pressure and increase creativity.”

Okay, great, I’m on board.  

“Personally, I think humans are most balanced when they integrate the natural world into their everyday life.  I find I do my best thinking when I am walking the trail at Radnor Lake or around the Greenway next to my house at dusk.  There is just something about plants and nature that brings you out of your head in a way that can be very restorative and inspiring.

Increased Creativity | Restorative | Inspiring | Calming

“I think many office and professional environments can benefit from the presence of plants.  They can create a softness in an otherwise rigid environment, as people let their gaze settle upon them, or even as they tend to them and watch their growth,” Avon told me.

These are all benefits I’d like to feel while on the 19th floor of my glass-encased office in downtown Nashville.  But how do I know which plants will work best for me and my space?

According to Avon, and what may be clear to everyone except me, light is of the utmost importance.  Does your office have a windowsill that gets a lot of light? If so, try lining that with plants that fend well in full, direct sunlight - like succulents, herbs and tropical plants.  For lower-light plants in a more interior setting, Avon suggest sansevierias, pothos or zz plants.

In Ben’s office there is a long windowsill that’s flooded with  light. He wanted some plants to help with air quality, so Avon opted for some medium to high-light loving plants.  He ended up with a beautiful array of broader, leafier greenery along with some smaller succulents.

Photos taken by Kevin Sichoumphonh

What plants work best in low light?

  • ZZ Plant
  • Sanservierias

  • Pothos

Medium light?

  • African Violet
  • Begonia

  • Orchid

High light?

  • Succulents

  • Herbs

  • Tropical Plants

Indestructible plants (the ones I like best!)

  • Air Plant
  • Peace Lily

  • Philodendron

So, now that we have a better idea of what plants work best where...where the heck do we buy them?  

I am self-admittant plant amateur.  I have two plants - one from IKEA that i’m pretty sure doesn’t belong in Tennessee (she looks like a palm tree of sorts) and a Philodendron that was gifted to me by my best friend.  It’s part of her mom’s plant that originally came from her great grandmother’s house and it’s been in her family for literally generations. Needless to say it’s pretty important and, thank goodness for me, philodendrons are nearly impossible to kill. I don’t live in Memphis or Chicago so IKEA  is out of the question and I’m not in large supply of friends with heirloom plants. My first instinct for plant purchases would probably be to head to Home Depot for all of my planting desires, but as it turns out, my options are WAY more vast.

“The plant world is not so different from the food world in regards to shopping for your products,” says Avon.  “The plants you see at big box chains like Walmart and Home Depot are industrially raised for sale. When you shop at family or locally-owned garden centers, it becomes clear that the product is better quality and the choices more varied. The employees of these small-scale garden centers are a wealth of knowledge and can be so helpful when making your selections, that it's worth the extra cost.”  

Want to turn your home or office into lush utopia?  Here are some of Avon’s favorite spots:

Want Avon to take the wheel?  Visit her website or check out her Instagram here @violetta_nashville.  

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