House plants – B and I have far too many! I think the last time I counted, we had about 20, just in our living room, but we just keep buying more and more. Adding a bit of greenery can really transform a space, it just makes it feel so fresh and alive. For me it’s all about the potted ‘living’ plants; whilst fresh flowers are great, I do just think there’s something really sad about watching them wilt and slowly die – and I guess what I love most about plants is nurturing them and watching them grow. Each one has its own kind of personality and requirements, and I find it so rewarding when I finally work out how best to tend them. Our Oxalis for example can suffer a little neglect and bounce back pretty quickly, it’s the same with Penny, the Chinese Money plant (yes… some of them have names), but if you forget about one of the ferns for too long it’ll throw a tantrum and drop all it’s leaves – they really make you work for it!
Now I’ve always loved collecting things, be it Pokemon Cards or RSPB pin-badges, if I find something I like, that comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, I just want them all! I think my earliest example of this was when I got my first fish tank, and every other weekend I would convince my dad to take me down to the aquatic centre to choose a new and exciting type of fish to add to my collection – to the point that the lady in the shop said I couldn’t fit anymore in my tank. And since my discovery of my love for plants, I’ve just not been able to rein myself in.
Growing up we didn’t really have potted plants in the house; if it had been up to Mum we would have had them in every room, but to my Dad they were just ‘dust collectors’. She’d treat herself to an Easter Cacti and within a couple of weeks it’d disappear and he’d just plead ignorance. And so my obsession with botany didn’t actually begin until I was a little older and had graduated from University. I had finally moved out of rented accommodation and into a beautiful little four bed flat in Peckham, the first place since moving out of my parents’ that had actually felt like home – everyone was house proud, they kept it clean. Home furnishings were chosen because they were nice, not because they were the cheapest option – it felt like I had a grown-up home at last. What subconsciously drew me towards plants was that inner love for the outdoors; whilst I love London it can be quite drab and oppressive at times, and even though it has more parks than any other European city, nothing can make up for having limited/non-existant outdoor space – and so like many others, I’ve started bringing the outdoors in.
B & I came across this book whilst looking for Christmas gifts last year, and loved it so much we had to have one for ourselves. House of Plants is a practical guide for how to care for your indoor plants, introducing you to a range of plants that are relatively low maintenance, easy to find and perfect for the standard dingy urban flat. Written by Caro Langton & Rose Ray, designers, stylists and cofounders of Ro Co, both based in North London, the Photography is by Erika Rax and the illustrations by Alicia Galer. It makes the best gift for anyone who’s a lover of all things green or sucker for a nice layout. The design and photography’s beautiful, and there’s a wonderful tone of writing throughout, you can really sense Caro & Rose’s genuine love for plants. Not only do they teach you how to look after the plants you have, but they also encourage you to choose plants that work back with your lifestyle. It even has a chapter on propagation, showing you how best to reproduce your favourite palms, cacti and succulents, to then share them with others – anyway, its an amazing book and I honestly recommend it. Whether your an enthusiast or a beginner, you’ll end up wanting to get more, I personally can’t wait to find myself a Monkeys Tail Cactus. If anyone knows of any others I should add to my collection please let me know?
Ta for reading, A