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Viridi

There Is a Video Game Where You Just Take Care of Succulents

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Viridi

In Viridi, there are no attackers and no countdown clock. Instead, in a game that seems diametrically opposed to the anxiety inherent in most video games, the point is to tend to pretty desert plants.

Viridi’s premise is simple: Help your succulents thrive. You pick from a handful of starter plants, choose a pot, and click around to water your seedlings, taking care to make sure each plant is properly sated. A snail slowly circles the top edge of the pot. Your plants grow, albeit slowly. The unobtrusive, gentle music wouldn’t be out of place in a massage parlor or yoga studio. 

At first, it can be hard to resist the urge to click willy-nilly, waiting for something new to happen. But like real plants, the succulents can be overwatered, and clicking on the wrong place can delete your fledgling shoots. It’s an exercise in patience, more soothing than stimulating.

The experience is meditative. You can run the game in the background throughout the day, listening to the subdued soundtrack and periodically checking in on your baby Aloes and Pachyphytums. This is not the sort of video game you play for a few minutes at your desk, rack up points, and go back to work. It’s an unusually calming digital experience. Now you can take a meditation break even if you can’t leave your desk. 

The game is free for desktop users (you have to download Steam first). If so inclined, you can purchase a greater variety of seeds to plant for a few cents each. Mobile versions for iOS and Android are scheduled to roll out sometime in the next year. 

[h/t: Co.Design]

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5 Smart Gardening Devices to Turn Your Thumb Green
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Just because you are a little absentminded about your houseplants doesn’t mean you can’t be a gardener. In the 21st century, there are plenty of smart tech solutions to care for your plants. Here are five technological tools to keep your plants alive, no matter how terrible a plant parent you are:

1. HELLOPLANT; $26

A blue sensor is placed in a pot of purple flowers next to a phone with the HelloPlant app open.
HelloPlant

Helloplant, a new Kickstarter project, is a sensor that you insert into the soil of your pot to keep tabs on your houseplant. The associated smartphone app will ping you if the Wi-Fi-connected sensor detects that your plant is drying out, and it can tell you where the plant is getting light. The recommendations are customized based on what kind of plant you label it as in the app. Best of all, it’s cheaper than other smart gardening solutions, coming in at just under $26 per sensor.

Find it: Kickstarter

2. PARROT POT; $90

Parrot’s smart pots use embedded sensors to monitor and tend to your plants whether you’re home or not. They are self-watering, preventing you from under-watering or over-watering your delicate houseplants. You can go on vacation for up to a month and the Parrot Pot will take care of your precious basil plant for you. The four sensors measure light, temperature, moisture, and fertilizer levels and send the information to your phone so that you can analyze how your plant is doing. It’s the perfect assistant for someone who wants to develop a green thumb but isn’t quite sure how to start.

Find it: Amazon

3. GROWTH

Three plants in white GROWTH planters are placed on the floor.
Studio Ayaskan

With GROWTH, you never have to worry about your plants outgrowing their pots. The origami-like containers can expand so your growing plant has more room as it gets bigger. Created by the London-based design shop Studio Ayaskan, the white pots will give your apartment a minimal, modern vibe. The pots are not widely available yet, sadly. The studio recommends you subscribe to its newsletter to get an alert when they go on sale.

4. PLANTLINK SENSOR; $70

A white sensor is hidden within the leaves of a potted plant.
PlantLink

PlantLink is another smart sensor that you can insert into your potting soil to detect the moisture level of your plant’s environment. Based on the type of plant, the device will text, email, or send a push alert to your smartphone to tell you when it needs to be watered. PlantLink also makes a smart valve that you hook up to your sprinklers to automatically water your plants. It has its own solar panel and can be programmed to water your plants based on changes in the weather.

Find it: Amazon

5. THE NANOFARM; $350

Three Nanofarm boxes filled with herbs sit next to each other on a wooden table.
Replantable

If you’re serious about your indoor gardening operation, consider Replantable's Nanofarm, a Kickstarter-backed tabletop produce system that requires zero oversight. You set it up once and wait for your food to grow. It works using Replantable’s Plant Pads, all-in-one seed and nutrient sheets that come in a number of different herb and salad-green varieties. For the Nanofarm, you just fill the tray inside with water, put in a Plant Pad, and close the door until your basil or butter lettuce is ready to harvest.

Find it: Replantable

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Art
This Artist Makes Portraits of Insects From the Plants They Eat
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The plant art of Montreal-based artist Raku Inoue goes way beyond flower arrangements. Inoue, who created the clothing brand Reikan Apparel, fashions intricate portraits of insects out of the plants that make up their habitats, as Laughing Squid spotted.

The series, "Natura Insects," includes butterflies made of flower petals, leaves intricately woven into moth wings, and black widows with rosemary legs. The results are delicate, innocent-looking bugs that no person could bear to squash. Inoue carefully arranges the pretty plant sculptures, then photographs them against a white background, resulting in an unexpected take on the traditional insect display cases seen in natural history museums.

If you like flower-based art, Inoue recently debuted a series in which his flower-petal figures blend into adorable illustrations of kids.

[h/t Laughing Squid]

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