If you take a look around the campus in search of a garden to enjoy this spring, the closest place you may find is the university’s pond. While the pond is a world of its own, filled with creatures as well as trees and shrubbery, it does not offer the same joy that comes with owning your own plot of land.
Unfortunately, most students living on campus do not have a bit of earth where they are able to plant flowers or enjoy the beauty that comes from gardening. As the sun’s warm rays begin to emerge this spring, it can be disappointing to notice that the outside of student apartments and houses still bear winter’s bleak appearance.
For Millersville sophomore Jessica Stephenson, who currently lives in Hobbs Hall, the landscaping is almost nonexistent around the exterior of her building and others like it.
“Outside of Hull, it is really bare and there are no flowers anywhere,” she says, “this year it is especially bare because of the new construction,” she adds.
While landscaping around the dorm buildings is probably the last priority on Millersville’s to do list, it wouldn’t hurt if the campus was home to more flowers and plants aside from those located by the pond. Unfortunately, for students living in dorms, like Stephenson, it can be difficult to bring a garden setting inside because the only areas that offer sunlight are the windowsills, and in dorms like Hobbs, the opening and closing of the shades mean wear and tear on the plant.
Fortunately, there are many house plants that do not require a lot of sunlight that can dwell in darker areas of a room. Found on Gardenguides.com is a list of plants that can be grown in dim light, including the Chinese evergreen, the snake plant, the Boston fern, parlor palms, and the rubber plant.
Another way to invite Mother Nature onto your desktop is by maintaining a moss terrarium. Terrariums have become very popular in recent years and are a great way to showcase a green world while indoors. The materials you will need are very simple, and Lifehacker.com offers some great tips for making one.
Moss can be purchased online on websites like MossAcres.com, or it can be taken from nature itself. It is most often found on the outside of houses, on trees or on the forest floor. Moss can be removed from an area by very carefully cutting the tendrils away with a butter or putty knife. It is easiest to take a layer of whatever the moss is clinging to, such as tree bark or soil to avoid damaging the tendrils.
After locating the desired moss, find or purchase an open glass container or one with a lid for a more decorative look. Line the bottom with two inches of river stones for filtration, an inch of charcoal to keep the moss fresh, and finally a layer of potting soil for the top. When the moss has found its place on top, recreate a tranquil scene by including elements that nature has already provided such as sticks, pinecones, or stones.
Caring for moss is very easy because moss can live for one or two months without water. Just check the soil every so often to determine whether or not it needs a drink, and use a water spray bottle to dampen it if it feels dry. All that moss requires to live is shade and moisture, therefore this plant is one of the most suitable for a college dorm.
If you are living in an apartment or house on campus, try to use the porch or doorway to create a garden setting. Planting flowers in pots is the best way to showcase your flowers if there is little space available. Pots come in in all different sizes and materials such as clay, wood, or plastic. If you want a more unique look, consider planting flowers in a burlap sack or a canvas bag and hanging it on your front door. Plants adapt to almost any container, so old boots or a rusted watering can make for an interesting vintage home for a plant.
Some of the most popular outdoor flowers that are easy to take care of include petunias, geraniums, impatiens and marigolds. These flowers are inexpensive and bloom very easily with little care other than needing to be watered.
Studies show that plants make us happier, so whether you live in a dorm or an apartment, add some green into your life and come back to nature.