Getting in Touch with Nature

Unibuddies Hsiao-Mei-Yeh and Rachel Clark discuss how their hobbies are helping improve their mental health and wellbeing and get in touch with nature 

Top 5 Student Friendly Houseplants

Various houseplants in pots on a shelf

First up is Rachel, who is studying Conservations Management of African Ecosystems, to tell you her top 5 Student Friendly Houseplants.

Houseplants are a great way to bring some nature and colour into your student flat, and there are a whole range of different houseplants to choose from - some as super easy, and some can need a little bit more attention.

Here's my top 5 student friendly houseplants that look great, and don't take much care at all - perfect for students.

1. Monstera deliciosa: Also known as the 'swiss cheese plant', the monstera is a super rewarding plant to have in your home. They can tolerate low light, and can go a long time without needing water. As they get bigger and their leaves become more mature, they will start to have the classic slits and wholes that give it its nickname.

2. Peace lily: These are super easy plants to keep, and will soon tell you when it needs a water by drooping its leaves down dramatically - but don't worry! If you see you're peace lily start to droop and look really sad, give it a quick drink and it will bounce back up in no time. You'll soon find out why peace lilies are thought of as one of the most dramatic houseplants!

3. ZZ plant: I truly believe this plant would survive the apocalypse! The ZZ plant is beautiful statement plant that rarely ever needs water. You can just shove this plant in a shaded corner and forget about it, and it will not hold any grudges, it'll just keep growing!

4. Philodendrons: Philodendrons are a group of plants which contain many varieties, and are easy to look after. You can get trailing ones, or climbing ones, they can be striped leaves, they can be green, pink, white - the list goes on! Another easy plant that doesn't particularly need much in the way of looking after, but will still love you no matter what.

5. Pothos: and finally, pothos. Again, there are many species that come under the blanket term of 'pothos', so you can definitely get creative! These are another plant that you can have trailing or climbing depending on your preference. They are typically fast growing and will let you know when they're thirsty by curling their leaves at the edges - a quick drink when they start to curl and they'll be good to go again.

...and there you have it! Soon you'll notice what a difference having a little houseplant in your room can make. They can even improve your mental health, and caring for them is a relaxing and rewarding hobby.

Bird-watching at Kelvingrove Park

A blue tit bird sits on the branch of a tree in Kelvingrove Park

For Hsiao-Mei-Yeh, who is studying Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law, going in to Kelvingrove Park to do some birdwatchingis been a major bonus since arriving in Glasgow.
One of my favourite things to do in my spare time is to explore local wildlife. Due to the fact that Kelvingrove Park is right next to my accommodation, I have been bird-watching and have seen some interesting birds there since the day I arrived Glasgow.
Carrion crows, woodpigeons and gulls are some common residents that you can see everywhere at the park. For some smaller birds, I have seen tons of blue tits, great tits, long-tailed tits, several robins, some dunnocks, wrens and treecreepers around the park from the time I started bird-watching at Kelvingrove Park.
I personally usually look for the tits in the trees, find robins, dunnocks and wrens in lower bushes, and look at tree trunks for treecreepers. Sometimes I can find some coal tits, goldcrests, chiffchaffs, chaffinches and black birds in the park as well.
If you look carefully at the riverside, you may be able to find a dipper hopping on the stones or some goldfinches bathing in the water. When it comes to water birds, you can spot several mallards, moorhens and sometimes a wagtail at the pond in the park.
As for birds of prey, I have spotted a Peregrine falcon resting at the UofG tower from time to time. When the sun is out and temperature rising, I will keep an eye on the sky to look for buzzards, sparrowhawks and kestrels.
If you like these feathery friends like I do and don't know where to start birdwatching, I will recommend that you take a walk in Kelvingrove Park and hopefully you will be able to spot some of these adorable birds living in Glasgow.

First published: 2 December 2021

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