Wellbeing With Plants | Phillip Withers

Wellbeing With Plants | Phillip Withers

By Alana Langan

Wellbeing With Plants | Phillip Withers

Please tell us a little bit about yourself...

I'm a landscape designer and horticulturalist and the director of Phillip Withers Landscape Design (PWLD).  I've designed multiple award-winning gardens across Australia and have grown a portfolio of professional work along Australia’s east coast. I am very versatile and playful in my design. My trademark is to paint contemporary colour and form into my works with both architectural elements and a strong focus on divine and sensory plant selection. 

I also write garden design articles for well-known publications such as Garden Drum and work closely with various Australian-made brands to raise awareness on the importance of sustainability in landscape design.


What do you love most about indoor plants?

I love that they can turn places into an environment and create a feeling of biophilia. To be immersed in plants is like a having a crowd of people over for a party, it brings a certain energy and sense of joy.

How do indoor plants enhance your wellbeing?

As humans we have an innate tendency to seek a connection with nature, we try through our work to connect people to nature. Whether it be step outside into the garden and be surrounded or bring the plants in to the people.

In what other ways do plants nurture you?
Plants help us connect to a place. I believe that the best way to connect to your local area is to understand the plant life; there’s history in every location and if we all took a little bit of time to understand it, we can learn and better understand a place.

Plants are so interesting in their diversity. If we are planning out our spaces we can so easily look to involve useful plants that you can help to build into your life. It also becomes a true beloved past time to work with your indoor/outdoor garden, whether it be herbs on the window sill or fruit trees out on the balcony in pots. Build a ritual into your life and you’ll never regret it.

What's your favourite plant?
Its hard for me to pin down to one plant, one of my favourites in the shrub hub at the moment is zamia furfuracea (far left bottom).

What do you find most difficult about plant care?
I find that we all have busy lives so at times it's just about keeping up with a routine - it can be hard for all of us to not miss a week of watering or similar. Also, the changes of adapting to conditions such as long cold winters, it brings consideration to the way we care for plant life. We need to ensure we are continually on top of this to  be sure we don’t neglect our plants or be aware of changes just as quick as a plant is.

Has taking care of plants taught you anything insightful?
I think it's taught me that plants are much like people; if they don’t have air, water and good nutrition they will feel it. More than anything else we all want a good routine that changes with the seasons and we can feel happy throughout.

What's another wellbeing practice you swear by?
Surfing, getting out into nature and placing out a new garden and creating a picture is an amazing feeling. Getting out into nature in general creates a heightened sense of being. Top of the list for me is getting out into the ocean and getting a wave or taking Rue down the Yarra (or Yarra bend) to get our nature fix!