We teach movement at Pilates in Holland: movement to enrich your body and your whole life. But there are so many things besides movement that are good for our souls. For me, one of them is plants. I found a haven at Gezellig on River, just north of 8th St. It’s like walking into a portion of the farmer’s market year-round.
Gezellig comes from a Dutch word that means warm, cozy, welcoming, friendly, and fun. Opened in June 2018 by Melissa and Tony VanderArk, they choose every product they sell—from plants and jewelry to gifts and artisan goods—with the hope that they will make your life a bit more gezellig. It’s where I bought my friend, Rosemary, and where you can get your own house plant thanks to the gift card Melissa has donated for our November Thanksgiveaways.
Melissa has always gardened (she was the unpaid help in her mom’s perennial garden growing up!) and loved it. She has sold antiques on the side for 20 years and has always incorporated flowers and plants with her sales and in her personal life, so offering them at Gezellig wasn’t a leap. But it also just so happens that people are really interested in plants.
And that interest has real, measurable benefits for humans. Plants clean our air and have a positive impact on our mental well-being. NASA research shows that houseplants can remove up to 87 percent of air toxins in 24 hours. Researchers found that rooms with plants have less dust and mold than rooms without any foliage. They act as natural filters to catch allergens and other airborne particles. Plants in your bedroom can also help you sleep better, especially ones that continue to give off oxygen at night, like orchids, succulents, snake plants, and bromeliads. Put plants in your office too, especially those with broad leaves; they will help regulate humidity, and, seeing greenery and nature helps us feel more relaxed and calm. Plants can also boost your productivity, concentration, and creativity. These are just some of the reasons we love our plants in the Pilates in Holland studio.
Melissa has noticed that many therapists with downtown Holland offices will come into the store just to relax, and it’s a lovely thing. It’s joyful. People need things that sustain them, and living things do just that. Gezellig has them in spades, especially some you may never have seen before. Melissa loves finding new, interesting varieties of plants, the hard to find ones. Stop at Gezellig now and find a new friend for your house.
And here’s a fun video on how to choose and take care of your new houseplants.