Tomorrow is “Fascination of Plants Day“, a day to remember those times as a child when you traced or rubbed-over leaves, went hunting for berries, chased your friends with sticky goosegrass, or puffed at dandelion clocks. Tomorrow is your chance to rekindle the childhood wonder of Nature and take a closer look at the plants that are springing to life all around us. Compare the progress of the buds on a branch, examine a newborn leaf, find an unexpected colour in a flower you took for granted… spend a little quality time with a plant and we guarantee you’ll come away feeling good.
Plants “power to charm, allure, captivate or be intensely interesting” is what defines them as “fascinating”. Amazing discoveries related to the study of plants come to light every week. A South Pacific plant called Kava has been proven to drastically reduce anxiety; a new project in California is developing glowing plants that could replace street lights and save tonnes of energy; scientists of NUI Galway have developed genetic techniques to improve sunflower crops and oil yields.
Plants are an endless source of surprises. And Mummie Plants are a case in point.
We encountered our first Mummie Plant by accident. Here was this plant that always seemed to look better than the last time we saw it. And yet we knew the owner was no greenfingers. So what was the secret? The fascination grew with every visit… until we couldn’t stifle the question any longer: What was this breed of plant and where could we get one?
The secret was, this was no ordinary plant. It was a Mummie Plant, a real plant that had been “mummified”: dismantled, naturally-preserved, then put back together again. A sort of bionic plant whose special powers were to adapt perfectly to life indoors and be effortlessly good-looking without needing any light, water, fertilisers, pesticides… no human intervention, full stop. What is even more fascinating is the story and science behind how Mummie Plants came into being.
The Science of Mummie Plants
Scientist Maurits Hildering was ‘tidying up’ his company lab’s plant one lunchtime when he had his Eureka moment. Even though the guys had only one small plant to look after it sometimes still ended up neglected. Though the plant brightened up the place tending it seemed a bit of a chore. In terms of watering, it was usually a case of drought or flood. Wilting, off-colour leaves could be left to droop sadly for days on end. And the habit of drawing the blinds on the sun probably didn’t help. Taking pity on the plant this particular day Maurits had his epiphany: What if he could use his scientific know-how to engineer an indoor plant that would never need looking after?
The seed for Mummie Plants was sown.
Following months of research and trials Maurits hit upon a way to remove the leaves of certain species at their peak and naturally lock-in their goodness. The scientific process is complex but the basic preservation procedure consists of harvesting fresh leaves without harming the live tree and leaving them to soak in a glycerine solution until all the water in their cells is replaced. The process happens in a temperature-controlled atmosphere and the timing varies depending on the leaf size and structure. Once complete, the preserved leaves retain their natural characteristics and appearance for years.
The biggest challenge for Maurits was to formulate the perfect glycerine solution, that would be natural and eco-friendly yet still guarantee long-term preservation of the leaves. His greatest accomplishment was to create the plant he originally envisaged without compromising its 100% natural status. The range of Mummie Plants that we create today are a perfect combination of natural ingredients, with no synthetics or harmful chemicals involved in the process (in fact, you could eat the preserved leaves without any risk to your health! Though we can’t guarantee your taste buds would be happy…).
Now you’ll understand why we are especially enthusiastic about Fascination of Plants Day! We hope it proves contagious. Have a fascinating weekend.