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How Bad Are Open Office Plans? Really Bad. Here’s How to Fix Them

We can thank the Sixties for a lot of things: some of the world’s best music, the American space program, and the rise of political activism. But we also have to hold the 1960s responsible for the open office floor plan the majority of working Americans are subjected to in 2018. Like a lot of things, strong economic growth after World War II caused office designers to offer companies a low cost way to increase the efficiency of their floor plans so they could add people without renting space or buying buildings. In 1968, American office furniture company designer Robert Probst came up with the cubicle, which provided workers privacy while allowing them a view of the open office if they stood up.… Read More

Good Earth Plants Salutes San Diego’s “Art Alive 2014”

Jim Mumford's "Art Alive" floral design interprets the painting "Sunday Afternoon" by Hughie Lee-Smith.
Spring in San Diego is an amazing time of year: perfect weather, plants and flowers in bloom, and longer days to enjoy it all. Spring also brings an event Good Earth Plants has supported for the past 15 years: San Diego’s Art Alive. This annual fundraiser for the San Diego Museum of Art brings together floral and plant designers and art for three day celebration April 11-13, 2014. Floral designers and those in related industries (like us at Good Earth Plants) create a interpretation of a piece of art using plants and flowers as their living medium. This year, I chose the painting “Sunday Afternoon” by Hughie Lee-Smith.… Read More

America’s Founding Farmers Planted a Nation

Mt. Vernon Gardens, George Washington
When Presidents Day rolls around, I always think about what it must have been like to have lived in the late 1700s. Seeing painted portraits of Washington and Jefferson with their long hair and ruffled shirts makes me believe they were way ahead of their time. We learned what we needed to know in sixth grade so that we could write a report on Jefferson. There was the bad rumor about Washington’s dental issues. But what else do we know about these brilliant men? This we DO know: our Founding Fathers were dedicated cultivators of the earth. They planted gardens, had animated discussions on the correct recipe for compost and thought about the future of the earth they would leave behind.… Read More

Up on the Green Roof

If you had told me 20 years ago, (long before I’d even heard of a green roof) that I would be hanging out with architects and tossing around words like parapets and ballast, I would have called you crazy. Me? Jim the Plant Guy? Arguing the benefits of drain conduits to drain off excess water under a living roof? What the heck? It’s amazing for me to look around now and see who I feel fortunate enough to call a “colleague.” From architects to engineers to waterproofing specialists. A very different mix of professionals since my days as a florist. I have learned so much about roofing and walls, mostly because I like to put plants on them.… Read More

Our Biophilia Connection to Nature

Nature with waterfall
At some time in life, we all become interested in something new and different. Maybe we take up making sushi or read a book on building a treehouse and get inspired to make one. For me I am intrigued by the word biophilia. I got interested in it years ago and whenever I see an article about it I think…hey! I was thinking about that years ago! Your next question might be: what is biophilia? And why does it haunt Jim Mumford? Here’s my best shot at a definition. Biophilia is basically an appreciation of life, nature, science and the living world.… Read More

Monkey Faced Orchids

We had so many readers interested in the Monkey-Faced orchid picture we posted, I thought I would pass along some quick information about them and about orchids in general. Besides being just about the cutest, funniest flora we’ve found, Monkey-Faced Orchids, or Grinning Monkey orchids live in the south-eastern Ecuadorian and Peruvian cloud forests at around 1000-2000 meters. Their scientific name is Dracula Simia-Dracula referring to the strange characteristic of the two long sepals, reminiscent of a certain Transylvanian count. Up in the cloud forests, these orchids can flower at any time-it’s not season specific and its’ scent resembles a very ripe orange. … Read More

Imagination and The Possible

Arthur C. Clarke, futurist
One of my daily joys is reading our local newspaper, UT San Diego. On May 13, 2013, there was an intriguing front page article by Gary Robbins about science fiction and imagination, as seen by four authors. Robbins wrote about the late Arthur C. Clarke who authored  “2001: A Space Odyssey” in 1968. And while we might look at some of the ideas in the book and movie as shocking, it sure shook up readers to think that someday we’ll be communicating with extra-terrestrials. Who could imagine? How do these super-smart guys come up with these ideas? And how do we use our imagination to see what is POSSIBLE, rather than IMPOSSIBLE?… Read More

Underground Living

Hobbit, Underground homes
Once upon a time, humans lived in caves. Over the years, futuristic science fiction books and movies quite often depict humans living underground. But underground living is not just the past and the future. In the form of a green roof, it’s here now. Think of the Teletubbies and Hobbits, clearly residing underground, which apparently is nothing new because Hobbits have lived underground for eons. Everyone knows that. Cool houses, too with windows that frame a green grassy knoll and carved earthen archways. This is by far the one of the coolest ideas I have seen. I may just make one for myself!… Read More

Our New Aquaponics System

When I saw the display of yellow daffodils at the grocery store the other day, I knew that winter was almost over and it was time for daylight savings and warmer days. That tells me that Spring is right around the corner. This spring, we are on an exciting journey to introduce new products to the Good Earth Plant and GreenScaped Buildings family.  Our new aquaponics project is starting small but we are hoping to be up to full-scale production soon. I met with Bill Toone, who runs a non-profit called ECOLIFE and was blown away by what he’s doing. Bill started his non-profit making rural stoves for those in Central Mexico whose health was suffering because of indoor cooking fires.… Read More