Monthly Archives: July 2016

Sleep Easy

Can plants help you to sleep?


For those who have difficulty sleeping (generally – not just with the mini heatwave that we experienced!), there could be natural help at hand.

Whilst most of us are reluctant to take medication for such things, sleep deprivation is a serious condition and if you often find yourself watching the clock as it ticks through the early hours of the morning, then you might want to give plants a go!

I’m not making this up – and I’ve not had too much sun! (I diligently wear my hat whilst working out in the blazing sun).

So – which plants could be beneficial to your nights’ sleep?

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Aloe Vera – One of the only plants to emit oxygen at night – which can help to induce calming sleep.  You don’t need to concoct a potion or cast spells- having the plant in the room in which you sleep is enough. You can boost the sleep inducing properties by drinking aloe vera gel.


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Mother in laws tongue – Sansevieria Trifasciata – this popular houseplant not only produces oxygen, but it also reduces carbon monoxide in the room – so again, it’s great for inducing calm sleep patterns. It’s rumoured to have a lowering effect on blood pressure too – which is beneficial to good sleep.


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Boston Fern – This bushy house fern not only looks beautiful (lush, green leaves) but is also rich in flavonoids which will help to regulate your nervous system and help you deal with stress.


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Weeping Fig –  sometimes referred to as Benjamin’s Fig. It removes high proportions of benzene, ammonia and other harmful impurities that may be emitted from low quality items, such as chipboard and linoleum. It will improve the overall air quality in your bedroom – and again, looks lovely. Keep the leaves looking super shiny with a damp cloth every couple of weeks (it looks like an artificial plant).


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Our final suggestion is the Areca Palm – another plant that removes the carbon dioxide, as well as other toxins from the air. It also realeases moisture into the air – making it easier to sleep, as your airways don’t get dried out, causing you to wake frequently.


So – if you, or someone that you know has difficulty sleeping on a regular basis, try heading off to your local garden centre and stock up with some healing plants. The garden centre staff will be able to advise you on care plans for your plants – as well as letting you know the best location for them to be.


Try it out – and let us know if you start to sleep better.

Snakes out and about


As the weather hots up (ever hopeful!) we see more and more reports of snakes being seen in UK Gardens. Whilst this is shocking for those who find them (some of them can move pretty fast!), the likelihood of them actually hurting you is remote.

We thought that it might be a good time to share some information about the 3 types of native snakes that we have in the UK to put your mind at rest.


Slow worms – aren’t actually snakes at all, they are a legless lizard. They are shiny in texture and coppery brown in colour. They love to hide in compost heaps and under slabs . If you have a cat, you’re unlikely to have slow worms in your garden, as cats hunt them.

They are generally 30-40cms in length and can live up to 20 years (if pesky cats don’t eat them first!) Slow worms hibernate – usually from October to March (depending on the weather) and the males can sometimes have blue spots along their backs.

Slow worms do not bite humans, but they love to eat slugs and snails – so if you have them in your garden, look after them – they are natural slug control!


Grass Snakes – the largest species of UK snake – these regularly grow over 1m in length. They love to bask in the sunshine and they like to take a dip in garden ponds too!

These do look like snakes – they’re a dark greeny/brown in colour with a lighter yellow “collar”. They also have black markings on their skins and they like to lay their eggs in rotting vegetation -so your compost heap is ideal.

Grass snakes are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act – so please don’t kill them or destroy their nest sites.

Grass snakes do not bite – they are not venomous. They feast on frogs and toads, and occasionally small birds or fish.

When grass snakes feel threatened by predators, they either play dead or emit a foul smelling substance from their anal gland – it’s best to leave them alone!


Adders – are the only venomous snake in the UK – but they don’t really like to live in gardens, they’re much more secretive than that. You may however, see one if you are out walking, especially in open woodland and sea cliffs.

Adders will bite when they feel threatened, but their bites are rarely fatal.

Adders feed on small mammals and lizards.

Adders are usually around 60-80cms long and have a very distinctive zig-zag pattern on their backs. They are grey (males) or light brown (females) in colour. Sometimes, they can be almost completely black, but the zig zag pattern is still visible.

If your dog is bitten by a snake (much more likely for a dog to disturb them in their natural habitat) then you should seek veterinary attention quickly as snake bites can be much more serious in dogs than humans.


If you see a snake in the garden, marvel at the lovely nature – don’t be afraid of them- if you’re not keen on them, just keep your distance.

The Grassman team can identify native snakes for you if you’re lucky enough to see one.