“Making a home your own…even if it isn’t” Vol. 2 : PLANTS

The usual suspects - all growing from cuttings swiped on walks // Image by Bonny Beattie for Studio Home

Indoor Plants

One of my favourite NZ artists and creative minds; Anna Church recently defined an “Interior Enviromentalist” in a piece on her blog.

“Interior Environmentalists love introducing nature into their homes through pot plants, cut flowers, art or textiles” 

– Anna Church : artist/stylist/person who lives in a home

 

The description rang as true to me as my star sign profile (I’m a Cancer through and through man!) and gave me a blazing green light to UP my pot plant quota. Not something everyone in the household was thrilled about….

Plants will improve any space. Fact.
They add texture, they add oxygen (See! Even health benefits!) they are affordable, always changing and inject substance to any room. When cared for they can outlive pets and fill you with satisfaction with every successful flowering or new shoot.
Modern homes are filled with manmade, flat surfaces, sharp corners and so so so often; a monochromatic colour palette. Consider plants to be a living artwork that can subtly break this up and even compliment it, offering you shape and form plus a soft hit of colour (yes, it will likely be green.)

You want to know the ultimate glee of purchasing indoor plants?
They can move house with you ….yussssssss.

Flashback to our set up in a modern but compact home of 83 sqm. Plants seemed to extend the little living space into the courtyard // Photo by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Flashback to our set up in a modern but compact home of 83 sqm. Plants seemed to extend the little living space into the courtyard // Photo by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Green corners of an everyday house // Image by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Green corners of an everyday house // Image by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

The home of photographer and magazine editor; Greta Kenyon was dripping in beautiful, lush greens that she had mostly propagated herself. Never forget you can HANG! // Image by Greta Kenyon for Studio Home

The home of photographer and magazine editor; Greta Kenyon was dripping in beautiful, lush greens that she had mostly propagated herself. Never forget you can HANG! // Image by Greta Kenyon for Studio Home

Tips:

  •  Like art, consider scale. Collect big and little plants to scatter around your home and remember – they grow!
  •  Positioning. It’s time to get Google working for you again. Research each plant and find out its needs in terms of sunlight. Plants that need full sun – actually do need full sun and simply won’t meet your expectations in the dark corner of your bedroom!
  •  The beauty of plants…..is that they need pots yay! I love collecting special handmade ones by local artists (explore the work of down under artisans;  Renee Boyd , Paige Jarman , Leaf and Thread, It’s a Public Holiday, Tkawei and I have a special eye on the Mr Kitly Self Watering Pots!)
    But nothing beats my fall back favourite of the classic, affordable terracotta pot and tray that seems to get improve with age. These come in every size from most garden centres and home improvement stores.
  • Plants can be friendly on the bank account too, as many can be grown from cuttings. Most of my succulents are the result of swiping small branches while walking the streets of suburban Auckland! Pop these in a glass of water, wait for some roots to sprout then plant in pot (I’d recommend using succulent friendly potting mix). Bunnings has been a real gold mine for small exotic finds (and cheap!) as well as larger, more established plants that instantly change a room.
  • Consider the “height” you place your plants. This can really add impact and interest! Pot plant stands are readily available now in all shapes and forms, allowing you to add more interest and visibility to your new green friends. (Seems like a good time to remind you about the NZ made Studio Home x Trestle Union pot stand collection from 2015 soon to wrap up forever!)
    If your plant is trailing it could look great positioned high on a shelf or mantel so its tendrils hang down or even in a hanging pot. Trade Aid has nice, natural macrame pot hangers if you aren’t so inclined to make one yourself…(like me)
  • When handling potting mix always wear gloves and be careful not to breath in spores! You’ve been warned.
  • Group them! A family of plants looks lush, beautiful and abundant.
  • For kiwis…Trade Me is a strange mecca for interesting indoor plant finds! I purchased a 2 m high, healthy Dracaena Marginata for half the price it would have cost from a nursery. You just need to check in regularly if you have something in mind.
  • Educate yourself. As a new, amateur “outdoor” gardener my recent purchase of the Yates Garden Guide  has provided a lot of new “indoor” knowledge as well.
    Shopkeeper and stylist; Gem Adams wrote a brilliant guide to houseplants that is entirely relevant to us in NZ or you could look at collecting a beautiful reference book like “Indoor Green” or “Plant Style” for some Australian led inspiration. What’s more, a large portion of my own collection of gardening and indoor plant books were scouraged from second hand stores. Trust me when I say – this perceived “trend” in plants inside is NOT the first time they have been embraced, and glossy reference books from the 70’s and 80’s will reallllly show you how it can be done!
    Enlighten yourself!
  • Be inspired to get creative with the type and placement of your plants by tapping into Instagram accounts like Urban Jungle Bloggers, the House Plant Club and The Jungalow.  You could also explore hashtags like #interiorenvironmentalist  or #indoorplants.
  • The best advice I received in my early pot plant growing career, was to “treat my plants like they were my babies”.
    This new state of mind switched me into mothering mode and my green crew flourished as I began water (and “feed”) them regularly and be proactive in their well being. Who knew?
Little green friends in Wundaire planters // Image by Bonny Beattie for Studio Home

Little green friends in Wundaire planters // Image by Bonny Beattie for Studio Home

Front door action // Image by Julia Atkinson by Studio Home

Front door action // Image by Julia Atkinson by Studio Home

Sometimes a leave my cuttings in water for much longer than they would prefer...but they look so GOOD! This is my attempt to grow plum tree seedlings I plucked out WITH their roots, in fresh water only on the kitchen table. // Image by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Sometimes I leave my cuttings in water for much longer than they would prefer…but they look so GOOD! This is my attempt to grow plum tree seedlings I plucked out WITH their roots, in fresh water only on the kitchen table. // Image by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

This person has thrived in the indirect light of the kitchen wall. While we haven't worked up to painting or retiling in the kitchen - plants and bold additions like this, help me look past the previous owners decorating style and feel more at home. // Image Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

This person has thrived in the indirect light of the kitchen wall. While we haven’t worked up to painting or retiling in the kitchen – plants and bold additions like this, help me look past the previous owners decorating style and feel more at home. // Image Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

No how many times these guys get close to death...I seem to come to my sense, armed with Seasol at the last minute! // Image by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

These guys have moved islands in the back of my car, and would consider themselves “long suffering” but they ALWAYS perk up to Seasol and enough light // Image by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

What about a kokedama? This one is by Pickled Whimsy where you can find your own starter packs to make your own! // Image by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

What about a kokedama? This one is by Pickled Whimsy where you can find your own starter packs to make your own! // Image by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Bathroom bandits (the cacti moved out as obviously warm and humid didn't suit it) but the Dracaena Marginata cutting has thrived! // Image by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Bathroom bandits (the cacti moved out as obviously warm and humid didn’t suit it) but the Dracaena Marginata cutting has thrived! // Image by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

The Cacti was then "operated on" due to disease and has been planted as various cuttings (some successful, some not) // Image by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

The Cacti was then “operated on” due to disease and has been planted as various cuttings (some successful, some not) // Image by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Trestle Union x Studio Home TEAM.WORK Plant Stands // collection wrapping up so don't miss out! // Image by Evie McKay for Studio Home

Trestle Union x Studio Home TEAM.WORK Plant Stands // collection wrapping up so don’t miss out! // Image by Evie McKay for Studio Home

The "Cast Iron Plant" .. literally immortal and can exist without sunlight OR water it seems! // Image by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

The “Cast Iron Plant” (purchased from Bunnings) .. is literally immortal and can exist without sunlight OR water it seems! // Image by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

 

And finally, a little disclaimer for all you parents out there who will be viewing my precarious placement of “floor based” plants and screaming at the impracticality!
I don’t have to arm my house against the onslaught of children just yet BUT basically all the ideas remain the same….just put them out of reach for those destructive, plant murdering years!

Ju xo
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