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September 2021 Newsletter

Updated: Sep 27, 2022

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2 Sept 2012 TPZN
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Welcome to any new readers and welcome back to our August readers.

This wee letter at the start of each newsletter gives you a little bit about The Project Zen's Journey as we build a caring community and a successful business. I am Sarina, the founder of The Project Zen.

Since last month I have gained a few admin skills in Face Book and LinkedIn and we now have a LinkedIn page up and running. I realise that some of us are FB users and others of us prefer LinkedIn. If your choice of platform is something else, drop me a line and I will endeavour to get a page up and running there too. ☺

At the moment there is a quiz running – so if you think you know about plants or would like to learn more, take a look, test your friends and share the pages – as the more fun we can have together the better.

I am currently putting together a short survey to find out what people like you and I might want and expect to see on a session about Houseplants. It will be ready shortly ☺. The results will help me put together the pilot course I have planned for November 2021. If you are interested in completing the survey please drop me a line. I will also be circulating it on both FB and LinkedIn.

I had some really nice feedback about the first newsletter: Thank you – it is very much appreciated. I hope you enjoy this one too.

Again if you have any requests for health, plant or other linked topics let me know.

Should We Stop Buying Peat for our Gardens?

I suppose the first thing we should ask is: What is peat?

Peat is a build-up of partially decomposed plant matter in prolonged wet conditions. It takes a very long time to form, around 1mm per year. On a ruler that looks tiny. That’s right, 1mm – that is like the size of a pinhead. The peatlands in Scotland have taken 1000s of years to form. Peat bogs is another name for these areas. The peat bogs in Scotland can be up to ten metres deep in places.

Peatlands are important to the planet for a few reasons. They take in a massive amount of carbon and can store it for centuries. About half of the organic carbon in Europe’s soils is stored in bogs and fens, but climate change and direct human practice are now threatening the conditions needed to keep this carbon locked away. When not dug up for burning or garden centre products, they can store more carbon than the woodlands and forests. In order to do this effectively, the peatlands must be wet. If they dry out or are damaged, they do the opposite.

They put carbon back out into the atmosphere. That is not what we want, especially as that will just add to the problems of climate change. We all see the news on a daily basis and know that we don't need more problems.

The Peatlands are also a home for wildlife, including many rare species of protected plants and animal.

They help as a natural defence against flooding, because they can hold an incredible amount of water.

Here in Scotland peat bogs make up over 20% of the country’s land area. At the moment people are spending time repairing, rebuilding and revitalising these areas because of their vital importance. There are currently several peat rebuilding projects going on in Scotland and around Europe.

So now you need to decide: do we need to stop choosing products that contain peat for our gardens, as starters for a fire and anything else I have not thought of?

Did you know that there is an international bog day?

It is on the 4th Sunday of July, and it was started in Scotland. ☻

Furry Friends and Hazardous Houseplants

Many of us have pets and even more of us have plants. How many of us know which of our houseplants can cause our furry friends discomfort, sickness or worse? It is likely that we have never thought about it. Even if you do not have a pet, your friends or family may and you could pass this article on if you think they would be interested.

Here are just 5 popular houseplants that should be out of reach of your pets, as well as the symptoms that can be caused. There are quite a few more. If you would like more I am happy to take requests for a further article on this.

The first one is the Cyclamen. This plant contains a toxic substance called cyclamine. The highest concentration is in the root. They can cause serious stomach problems, vomiting and worse.

The Kalanchoe is another favourite for humans, but not good for our pets. It contains several things that cause irritation to the stomach, that are toxic to the heart and can seriously affect heart function.

Although the European Ivy is often grown outside, it also makes a lovely houseplant. It has a few different names such as the common or English ivy, Hedera helix, sweetheart ivy and glacier ivy. It is more likely to be eaten by rabbits and dogs and is poisonous: causing vomiting, pain in the abdomen area, diarrhoea and drooling.

The Spathiphyllum, or Peace Lily, contains calcium oxalate crystals. This can cause irritation and burning in the mouth and throat, excessive drooling, vomiting and problems with swallowing.

Our last one for this edition is the Chrysanthemum, which makes a bonny looking houseplant, with many types and colours available. These contain a substance called pyrethrin. If eaten by our furry friends, it can give them stomach upset, drooling, vomiting, and diarrhoea. It may give your pet depression and loss of coordination also if they eat excessive amounts.

This is not a doom and gloom article, it is about saving our sweeties and selves from suffering. Plants are great things and there are so many to choose from that we can easily sort out ones that will not harm our pets, or if we have them already to put those out of reach.

What is the Magic Elixir? Oats get my Votes!

☻One serving a day of rolled oats is half a cup or 50g – and for that your body will likely thank you for the magic it does within. If you can manage more - like 75g, even better.

☺What magic?

☻Well, it reduces your risk of coronary heart disease, sometimes referred to as CHD.

☺Why should you care about that?

☻It is a major cause of death in the United Kingdom and the number 1 killer in the world. So a serious problem, not just for a country’s health care, but also for the individuals concerned.

Oats can help with managing or preventing other health conditions as well – you may know someone who suffers from one of these and who could benefit by adding some oats to their diet:

• High Blood cholesterol

• Diabetes

• High blood pressure

There is a lot of science from around the world to back up the benefits of eating oats on a daily basis, and not just in winter when it is dark and cold.

It is a whole grain food and one of the richest dietary sources of the soluble fibre beta-glucan.

☺What does beta-glucan do?

☻It can help lower blood cholesterol and can improve heart health. It works positively for your gut’ microbiome.

Oats also contain several anti-oxidants.

☺What do anti-oxidants do?

☻Anti-oxidants help to protect your body’s cells from damage and disease, such as cancer, which are caused by other molecules called ‘free radicals’:every part of us contains cells.

Sometimes, because of the feeling of being full longer, you might even lose weight, because you are snacking less.

So what’s not to like?

OK, some people dislike porridge even topped with lots of yummies. That’s ok - you can eat oats in a heap of different things. For example, oat bran biscuits, soups and stews, burgers, cake and bread.

If you need more ideas or recipes, drop me an e-mail or start a conversation on our FB page.

This is the end of our second newsletter I hope you enjoyed it. Anyone who tried the quiz question, the answer was: A cloche can help protect plants from cold and frost.

I look forward to hearing from you if you have any feedback or comments you would like to share.

Be safe and happy


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