Workshop on Green Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is considered by some to be just another over-consumptive holiday; another opportunity for retailers to push loads of chocolate, cards, flowers, and balloons onto consumers, that all too soon end up in the landfill.

There’s no need to boycott the day of love. Let the hopeless romantic in you shine! Concerning the number of waste produced on Valentine’s Day, Green Valentine’s is currently being introduced as an option for a more eco-friendly Valentine’s Day. The mission is to keep the hype of the celebration high but with less waste produced afterward.

Green is the new Red. Go green This Valentine’s Day with TAOS, so that you can spread the love and leave the guilt behind. Watch our workshop on “Green Valentine’s Day” with our speaker Dr. Anshumali. She is a Prosthodontist by profession and a passionate gardener, living a low-waste vegan lifestyle. In this workshop, she will be sharing with us some great ideas for celebrating a Green Valentine’s Day. You can find her on Instagram by the name “consicous_vegan”

Anshumali and her tips to celebrate a green Valentine’s:

“Hello, everyone. Welcome to another workshop by TAOS. Today we have with us Dr. Anshumali. Let me introduce you a little to our audience. She is a prosthodontist who lives a low-waste vegan lifestyle. Today, we will talk about green Valentine’s Day, and Anshu will guide us in that direction. Let’s get started without any further delay,” said Zehra. 

“Valentine’s Day is a very special occasion for many. However, in the course of celebrating it, a lot of waste material is produced, such as plastics, which ultimately find their way to landfills. The idea of Green Valentine’s is to reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfill. There are several ways to implement the same. I’ll discuss the same now. 

  • Buy locally grown flowers, either grow on your own or from local vendors. A better option is to give someone a flowering plant or seeds. 
  • You can also gift any other plant because people are actively into gardening nowadays. Such include succulents, Snake plants, and Zi-Zi plants, which are easy to grow and need less care.
  • There’s a plant called Hoya, which comes in a perfect heart shape and is very famous during Valentine’s. It comes as a single leaf but grows over time.  It is also known as Valentine’s plant or heart-shaped Hoya. 
  • There’s also another Succulent called String of Hearts, where there will be much small heart shape leaves. 

“This heart-shaped Hoya is an indoor or outdoor plant?”

“It doesn’t need much sunlight, which is why it can grow indoors. However, you must ensure considerable light is provided to it from time to time, or else it won’t survive,” informed Anshu.

  • “Similarly, there are heart-shaped philodendrons like Neon and Graziele available to us. These two plants are also good choices for Valentine’s. 

“These are also easy to care for plants?”

“Yes, you can keep them hanging, where they can trail down. They are very good hardy plants.”

“Okay,” said Zehra.

  • “Then, we have Anthuriums, the leaves of which look like plastic; there is a bud coming out of it which also has a plastic appearance. They also have the same heart-shaped leaves.
  • Another one is Syngonium, which can be considered. 

So, flowering plants are a better option than store-bought flowers,” said Anshu.

“What is the water requirement of Philodendrons?”

“The best way to understand your plant’s water requirement is to look at the top layer of the soil. It varies according to the surroundings. If the topsoil is dry, you can water it. A general range is about twice a week, to be precise,” said Anshu.

“Okay, please continue,” said Zehra.

“There are various other gifting ideas as well, which you can make on your own for your loved ones. If you are into cooking, you can make homemade cookies, cakes, chocolates, etc., instead of buying them from outside. It will, in fact, be more special. Additionally, you can use reusable containers for the same, which will make the process more sustainable. You can also create a fruit platter, and there are so many available. If you want to celebrate Green Valentine’s, you should buy seasonal fruits. That is one good idea as a gift,” said Anshu.

“Yeah, it would even help the health and well-being of your loved one. So, the next question is, “What gardening essentials can we gift to someone who’s already into gardening?”

“You can gift a watering can; decorated would be even better. You can give them a set of instruments for gardening; they are available online. You can gift scissors for pruning purposes of the plant,” said Anshu.

“Okay. You can continue with gifting ideas.”

“There are many customized items, such as photo frames, handmade vases, cards, mason jars, candle holders, etc.  You can also make homemade personalized candles where you can add the required fragrance as well. There are many kits available for candle making online, and we do not need much to make a candle as well. I made a candle using my night cream. You just have to melt the wax by boiling it, then add essential oils, pour the liquid, and put the wick in it, and it’s ready. So, it is rather easy. I have even made candles using terracotta containers. I made a photo frame using four twigs, some thread, and a photo. There’s no risk of making it, either. Here you can see a lamp that can be made using just glass, a little battery candle, and a jute cover. We just have to cover the glass with Jute and put the candle inside. That’s all. You can also decorate your plants by wrapping them with jute, and it would act as a pretty gift. You can also use brown papers from Amazon, or a piece of pretty cloth, etc., as wrappers. You can even press the browns if they get crumpled; just lower the temperature of your iron. You can see I have a leaf here, which is a pipal leaf. This structure is called a skeleton. So, firstly, you just have to pluck the leaf while it’s still green and put it in water for 14 to 20 days. You need to change the water, or it will smell bad. After that, you just need to brush over the green part, applying less pressure, or else it will break. You can color it and even write a note on it and then gift it to your loved one,” said Anshu.

“What color do you use for it?”

“I use acrylic colors to paint it.”

“Can we use dye?”

“Yes, sure. It can be used.”

“Let’s start with DIYs now,” said Zehra.

“Sure. We’ll start with the mason jar. We’ll need a mason jar, some strings, and lace. If you don’t have lace, you can just use a piece of cloth. So, at first, we’ll wrap it or glue it at the mouth of the jar as fancifully as we can. I’ll also take a piece of decorated clay cutout and stick it around the jar. You can use any glue for that. Hot glue is the best, however. You can use battery candles in it or convert it into a permanent one; just pour wax inside. That’s all,” said Anshu.

“It looks really pretty,” said Zehra. 

“Next, for the twig photo frame, you just need four twigs, hot glue, jute strings, and a photo. You need to use hot glue on the sticks and then tie them with the jute strings in a frame structure, and then attach your photo,” said Anshu.

“Would you suggest any alternative to the jute rope?”

“Yeah, you can use colorful yarn; that would make it look more pretty. As an alternative to twigs, you can use barbeque twigs for the purpose,” said Anshu. 

“It gives a nice vintage look, and it doesn’t even need to be in perfect shape. Amazing,” said Zehra. 

“I will make another candle now. For this, you need a glass, small pebbles, like are used in aquariums, for decorative purposes, and some twigs. Fill the jar with twigs, or you can also use flowers for the same, or even green leaves. Then, pour down some water into the glass. You can use floating candles on them as well. That’s all. It is ready!” said Anshu.

“Next, for plant wrappings, you need a burlap, or you can use a piece of cloth as well. Burlap is very easily available in local stores. You can cut it in whatever shape you want. Then wrap it around your plant’s pot using a little thread or yarn. To decorate it further, you can use laces on the cloth, and it’s ready.”

“You can make a candle from your bottle as well, such as ketchup ones which we can make into a candle holder. So, all you need is an empty glass bottle; you can use leaves in it or small flowers. Then you just put the leaves inside the bottle, add water to it then.”

“Do we need to put dry leaves here?”

“You can as well put fresh leaves here also.”

“The water is to keep them fresh?”

“No, it just makes them look prettier.”

“If you’re using the long candles, their bottom is thick. So, you have to measure the size and then fit it in accordingly. So, that’s all; you can use it then. You can also use plant cuttings here; they will also look good. Flowers are always one of the best things to gift. You can press them, dry them, etc., to keep them for a long time. To dry them, you just have to hang them in a dry place, but not a very sunny place, or else the shade will get lighter. Once they are dry, the petals can break, so you can spray perfume to make them stay for a longer time. Pressing is another good idea; you just need to regulate the moisture,” said Anshu.

“I’ll show you how to make a gift wrap. I’m using browns from Amazon. You can use any paper or kitchen napkins alternatively. They make really pretty wrappers. So, fix all the sides; no need for tape or glue for it. After that, just wrap it with jute or yarn. You can further decorate it with flowers, leaves, cinnamon sticks, etc., and it’s ready.”

“Great. You were also talking about hibiscus tea. Please elaborate,” said Zehra.

“Yeah, for that, all you need is flowers from your plant. You have to remove all other parts except for the petals, which you will then tear apart. Then just add them to boiling water, and add lemon to it. You will find that the petal will change their color, and the water will change to a reddish color. You can pour that into a cup and then add lemonade. That will further change the color to a lighter pink. It would make a good Valentine’s Day drink,” said Anshu.

“What are its advantages?”

“It is healthy for your body. It is good for your hair and skin. The leaves and flowers are also used for making hair masks.”

“How does it taste like?”

“It tastes much like the roselle tea. You can also add sugar to it. Many people aren’t into wines and soft drinks. They can have other alternatives like fresh watermelon juice or black grapes or other fruit juices. You can decorate the drink by adding dry fruits on top, etc. I have this heart shapes grapes; to make them, you just have to cut them parallelly and then strike them in a small stick,” said Anshu.

“Okay, that is indeed lovely and refreshing as well.”

“I can show a fruit bouquet next. For that, we need some barbeque skewers. We just need to stick fruits on it and then put them in a container. For cosmetic reasons, you can fill the glass container with leaves. Then, just wrap some burlap on the sides, and it will look pretty. You can even use this as a centerpiece also. Lastly, I’ll show a table tray setup. You can use any tray you have or something for drinking, such as the drinks we have made; you can add the candles we have made or the other DIYs, etc.,” said Anshu. 

“These ideas were indeed lovely. You have used the equipment in so very different ways, and it has been a great learning experience for all of us. Thank you so much for joining us today.”