We feature an inspiring extract from Leaf Supply, a gorgeous new book on house plants by Lauren Camilleri and Sophia Kaplan, and look at why plants can really make a home.
My memories of growing up in various homes around north west London always had a Swiss Cheese plant somewhere in the background. My parents had very 70s sensibilities (even though it was the 80s) and so a massive Monstera Deliciosa (to give it its Latin name) came with us wherever we lived. On a Sunday, I would sit cross-legged in front of it, cleaning its leaves with the inside of a banana skin and getting a nice sheen on it. I loved that plant and my parents also heavily associate those years with it. Our final move cracked the main stem of the plant and it never really recovered from it. However, I think my mother still has some off-shoots from it somewhere in my parental home.
Plants can become friends; living things that are more than just decoration. Some purify the air, all soothe our eyes with a welcome spot of indoor greenery, and there is something nurturing about a home with an abundance of indoor plants. I used to say that I had a black thumb though as, once I’d moved out of my parents’ home, every single plant I bought died on me. Some withered to next to nothing and seemed dead but then were rescued by either my mother-in-law or my sister and, lo, the plants perked right up and are glorious in their new homes. I was starting to take it personally until I read something within a beautiful book we were recently sent in the HappilyTania office. Emma McPherson is founder of The Plant Room, an Australian plant store in Manly, New South Wales, with a difference. Ms. McPherson’s philosophy of connection with plants is to be found throughout the shop. “I personally don’t believe in black thumbs; for me, everyone has the capacity to connect with their plants.”
Here’s what she has to say about her plants in the home journey:
My background is really diverse! I spent a lot of years in hospitality and event management, all the while studying things that really interested me, such as metaphysics, parapsychology and astrology. I fell into hospitality when I finished school, but I was always on the hunt for things that helped me understand who I was and what I’m doing here on this crazy planet. After studying everything energetic, I discovered Gestalt therapy which became my world and way of life. I finally left hospitality and became a therapist working with people with addiction.
And then I had a baby and everything changed. My husband and I made a decision to bring up our boy in a household where both parents lived their lives following their bliss and doing what they love every day. Work wasn’t work but a way of life that was enjoyable, inspiring and fun. For me, that was design so, once again, I went back to school and studied interior design.
I started my own business straight out of college working with residential and commercial clients. When I began, I was amazed at the lack of plants in people’s homes. I grew up with Boston ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata) hanging from the ceiling and Monsteras growing up the walls, so to live removed from nature felt very foreign to me and a little hard to comprehend.
The Plant Room was born from a deep desire to create spaces that are sustainable and conscious, filled with soul and the spirit of creation. I grew up in homes with handmade ceramics, timber and plants and, to me, these are the elements that made our house feel like a home. Pieces made from natural materials and created from the heart are filled with the soul of the maker, and I believe something magical happens when you fill your home with these objects. My store is filled with my favourite furniture makers and designers, and everything is made by the hands of someone doing what they love. The pieces hold the spirit of creation and it’s this energy and spirit that we then harness for our workshops, collaborations and events.
Extract from Leaf Supply by Lauren Camilleri and Sophia Kaplan (Smith Street Books, £25)