Do you just dread going to work as it means sitting in an office all day? Do you miss your garden at work? There are some ways to bring the garden to the office and stay sane.
For most of us we have to go out of the house to work in an office or other indoors location so we can pay the bills. If that is you, you likely will miss having easy access to your garden.
Well, guess what?
There are a few ways that you can bring the garden to the office.
A fresh salad
Why not bring a healthy fresh salad for lunch from home instead of buying the overpriced salads at your cafeteria or neighbourhood sandwich shop? You save money, eat healthier and lessen the impact on the environment by not buying prepackaged food.
You can easily grow lettuce in your garden or in pots on your balcony or even a sunny indoor windowsill if you have no outdoor space. They don’t need much sunlight or heat and are cut and come again crops that will be productive for several weeks if not months.
You can also grow tomatoes relatively easily as long as you have a sunny spot on a deck, balcony, patio or your garden. Or perhaps you prefer bell peppers or cucumbers. They also do well in the same type of environment as tomatoes.
The best way is to plant up a salad container garden such as this one. Add a tomato plant or cucumber plant or pepper plant, some lettuce plants and even a few green onions (mainly for miso soup but could also be used in a salad) and you have a one-stop source just outside your kitchen door like mine is.
Herbs can also be grown and used to make a dressing with some oil and vinegar.
Or you can mix it up and grow other greens to add such as kale, mustard greens and cabbage.
All you then need to do is pick a salad bowl full of fresh, homegrown vegetables, clean it, put it in a reusable container and add a small container of dressing and you are all set.
Your colleagues will be jealous when you unpack your lunch!
One easy way to bring your garden to your office is with photos of your garden (or someone else’s if your garden is not yet photogenic enough).
They can simply be printouts on regular size paper. Or you can print out standard 4×6 or 5×7 photos and frame them to place on your desk and shelves, especially if you don’t have any wall space such as in a cubicle.
Another idea is to use an online printing service to create a wall calendar or desk calendar with a dozen of your favourite garden photos. Then you have a different image each month!
Or you can go big and have a printing service print out poster-size photos that you can then hang on the wall.
Or even better go really big and arrange to have a vinyl mural cover a whole blank wall if everyone in the office agrees. You can even have a contest to pick the best photo.
Check if you are allowed to post photos first and the method that is acceptable. You may need non-marring hangers. Avoid very heavy frames unless you can secure them in the wall with proper anchors.
You can add photos of your garden to your desktop of your computer and/or a slideshow for your screensaver. Change them up depending on the season: tulips and cherry blossoms in spring, roses and hydrangeas in summer, tree foliage in fall, snow-covered garden in winter.
Keep in mind some companies have strict security policies that might not let you bring in photo files from home. So you may want to check with your IT (Information Technology) department if there are any restrictions.
If you are blessed with an office that gets decent natural light, you can add plants to green up the space.
These can be houseplants that will help clean the air such as
- Areca palm
- Ficus umbelata
- Drachens angustifolia
- Streliteia nicola
- Peace lily
- Viper’s bowstring hemp
Or you might get away with outdoor plants that don’t need direct sunlight.
You might not be able to grow roses or tomatoes in pots in your office, but a container of lettuces or other greens such as spinach would work well.
Other low light non-edible plants are:
If you office receives no natural light, you have a bit more of a challenge to overcome. Try houseplants that require very little light such as:
- Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)
- Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
- Golden Pathos (Epipremnum aureum)
- Snake Plant (Sansevieria…)
- Aechmea Bromeliads
Or worst case you might have to go the artificial route and source the more realistic looking artificial plants. These however can be expensive and some people are dead set against any artificial plants.
For common areas, you may want to talk to your employer to see if you can have a living wall installed. These can easily grow salad greens and herbs. And these contribute to air quality and help regulate humidity.
A lunch and learn
Here is a great way to share your gardening efforts and successes with your work colleagues. Check to see if there would be an interest in having a lunch and learn.
What is a lunch and learn?
Usually this takes place during lunch hour, where everyone brings their lunch and listens to a short presentation about a particular topic.
- That topic could be your garden with photos and you simply talking about what you have in the garden and your garden experiences.
- Or it could be a vacation lunch and learn where you instead show photos of gardens that you visited on a recent trip.
- Or you could demonstrate how to do some aspect of gardening. I’ve done one on seeding.
Once you have done one, maybe other workers will step up and do one themselves and thus it could become a weekly or monthly event.
Of course check with your supervisor or other management if this is feasible. You will need to arrange for a room (where food is allowed to be eaten in) and a laptop hooked up to an video data projector. In any company that values the health and well-being of their employees, this kind of social activity is usually welcomed so long as it doesn’t impact people’s work. But everyone needs a lunch break to eat, hence why it is a lunch and learn!
A garden office
Are you a work-at-home entrepreneur? Are you able to work some or all days from home for your corporate job?
If you are really lucky you can actually bring the office to the garden rather than trying to bring the garden to the office.
All it takes is an area that is comfortable and some portable office equipment:
- desk or lap
- comfortable chair or lounger
- (optional) power source – make sure it is GFCI protected or conforms to your region’s electrical code for outdoor electrical circuits
- (optional) covered area – if you still want to work in the garden even when it rains, you will need some sort of cover; some homeowners go to the extreme here and build a standalone shed/office in their garden.
Just make sure to actually do some office work and not be tempted to do weeding or something else!
So not all is lost if you are stuck in an office all day, away from your garden. You can bring the garden to the office in many ways. I’m interested in hearing any other ideas you have that you have either tried or thought of, so leave a comment below.
All the best and happy gardening in the office!
Tranquil Garden, Victoria, BC
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