Wellbeing With Plants | Thomas Denning

Wellbeing With Plants | Thomas Denning

By Alana Langan

Please tell us a little bit about yourself...

My name is Thomas Denning, I am a horticulturalist working out of a nursery in inner city Melbourne. My work is quite varied dealing with indoor plants, maintenance and garden construction.



What do you love most about indoor plants?

I really love the routine that plants help create in your life after you take one home. They force you to take a bit of step back and put time into caring for them and considering what is going to help them thrive.



How do indoor plants enhance your wellbeing?

Everyone can benefit in some way from owning indoor plants. Even having the visual of greenery from plants indoors helps improve wellbeing. There is something incredibly calming and grounding being surrounded by a mini indoor jungle. I always feel instantly relaxed when I walk through the door to my apartment.



In what other ways do plants nurture you?

I’m lucky that I get to be surrounded by plants at work and home. Just getting the opportunity to work with plants day in day out is nurturing in itself and seeing them flourish is always incredibly rewarding.



What's your favourite plant?

That is a very hard question to answer, I tend to be drawn more to plants with weird growth habits and forms more than anything else. Using different shapes and foliage indoors or in a landscape setting always helps create a more interesting visual. The variety in Acacia species is amazing and you can’t go past a Rhipsalis to help brighten up an indoor setting.



What do you find most difficult about plant care?

There are many things that can be a bit challenging about caring for plants. Factors like light, soil, nutrients, environment and pest control all need to be considered when choosing the right plant indoors or out. So making sure I spend the time doing a bit of research to investigate helps avoid any casualties. My apartment is also west facing and gets quite hot during the warmer months, so the watering schedule can be quite intimidating/time consuming during that time.



Has taking care of plants taught you anything insightful?

More than anything else plants have taught me to never stop learning and improving my own knowledge. There is still so much the natural environment and its inhabitants can teach us, it’s well worth investing our time to hear what they have to say.



What's another wellbeing practice you swear by?

I think it’s really important to recognise when you need to slow down a bit and take a moment for yourself. We all get caught up in our everyday lives and it can become hard to invest that time doing whatever brings us a sense of happiness. So making sure I focus on that a bit more has become part of my routine.



Photos by Thomas

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Wellbeing With Plants | Ryan Hanrahan

Wellbeing With Plants | Ryan Hanrahan

By Jacqui Vidal

Please tell us a little bit about yourself...

My name is Ryan Hanrahan and I own and creative direct Addition Studio. We launched in 2010 and have been creating furniture, lighting and objects since then. Many of our designs are based on the act of ritual.



What do you love most about indoor plants?
 
I love it when they are big. I am constantly obsessed with finding, and growing the largest plants possible that I can take in doors.



How do indoor plants enhance your wellbeing?
 
I mean visually they look amazing. I think a minimal amount of objects in a space and then combined with a few key plants is all you need. Keeping a minimal, simple and green visual landscape enhances wellness, however the benefit I find in a deeper sense is the daily contact of caring for and looking at a plant in detail.



In what other ways do plants nurture you?

We had a veggie garden at our house last year, which I loved. Living up in Byron Bay now, its so easy to grow food. We had every ingredient you could want for salads, and it had a really close proximity to our kitchen, so every night I would pick a heap of greens to go with our meal. It was so easy and so healthy, and would re grow by the next night. Since we moved to our new place I haven’t had this and I have really missed it, though we just bought our first house, and that's the first thing on my list of things to do.



What's your favourite plant?


My favourite plant at the moment is the Umbrella Tree (Schefflera actinophylla). They’re native to Australia and fairly common outside. I don’t love them that much outside, however when inside and placed in a well lit place with a high light for them to climb towards, they are super cool.

 

What do you find most difficult about plant care?

I hate the trays that are meant to go under plants. They’re always missing, and when you do buy them, they are expensive, or don’t match your pot, and if you don’t have them, then water goes on your floor. Yep I find them so annoying, however I have come up with a bit of a solution slash life hack. I buy the cheap plastic trays and sit them inside the pot at the base, before potting the plant, so they are not visible. I then add the dirt and the plant and then voila the plant has an invisible tray. I know this doesn’t give the soil the perfect drainage or aeration, nor does it perfectly catch all the overflow if you over water, but it does do all the afore mentioned to a pretty good degree. My plants are happy with it, and my OCD brain likes not having to deal with trays and water spillage. win/win



Has taking care of plants taught you anything insightful?

When you water a plant, and care for it, you tend to really become appreciative of it when it grows. You notice things in detail, like when a new shoot flourishes or when it flowers, and this makes you happy. I believe that just the daily act of seeing this gives a broader appreciation for nature and the world we live in.



What's another wellbeing practice you swear by?

Transcendental Meditation. I have been meditating for almost 10 years now, and it is the single main practice I do twice a day to keep my coffee and work habits in check. Besides that having a dog to love and look after. Animals are so good for your wellbeing ;-)


Photos by Katrina Parker 

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Wellbeing With Plants Interview | Artist and Designer Letitia Green

Wellbeing With Plants Interview | Artist and Designer Letitia Green

By Jacqui Vidal

Please tell us a little bit about yourself...

I am a Melbourne-based artist and designer and I specialise in fashion, textiles, interiors, product and image making. I love to collaborate with fellow designers and brands on their product and create art for interior spaces.


What do you love most about indoor plants?
 
I love the sense of liveliness they bring. The fact we need to look after them and make them happy makes me happy!

 

How do indoor plants enhance your wellbeing?


I believe when you are responsible for someones’ wellbeing it instantly enhances your own wellbeing. Watering and giving the right amount of love and light to a plant naturally enhances my wellbeing. I enjoy a space that allows the outdoors in, and the fact something is living and breathing in my space brings me comfort. I know they love music and noise and grow according to sound as well as light and water, it intrigues me.


 
In what other ways do plants nurture you?

Greenery, forestry, bushland and beach scrub all give me a feeling and sense of wellbeing. A Space that speaks of life and joy, and greenery, that thrives on sunlight and water much like us humans certainly does nurture me. I think of how plants and forests survive without us, and really how lucky we are to be able to have them in our surroundings.

 

What's your favourite plant?

I recently bought an elephant ear plant, specifically because of the name, as a former 19- 25 year old  I could watch elephants thriving in their natural habitat from my home in Mpumulanga at the Kruger National Park in South Africa. So Elephants are particularly special to me. This plant exudes confidence, grace and beauty. I also love Herbs, which I grow outdoors - yet all are very loved and special, no favourites here except perhaps rosemary, coriander, sage and parsley.


 
What do you find most difficult about plant care?
 
The hardest part is realising that in our home they get too much sunlight, whereas most indoor plants love a little shade. I move them around a lot. I care for them like they are family! I am not a routine person or worrier, more carefree and go with the flow, so my plants generally thrive because I do notice them when they are struggling and genuinely care for them.



Has taking care of plants taught you anything insightful?
 
Yes! I realise that my plants are to be nurtured by me, and I am very sentimental and love caring for things that making my plants happy can become consuming! (just like my goldfish). I think we are lucky to have indoor plants, and especially lucky to have beautifully designed homes for them like Ivy Muse create. I love the sense of life they can bring to a space, and I love the quote: “How lovely the silence of growing things”. 


 
What's another wellbeing practice you swear by?
 
Oh not many I do tend to burn the candle at both ends! BUT, I am learning to do wellbeing better at the moment with daily walks on the beach with my two whippets and listening to some world music is a great wellbeing tool. Designing, art and creating imagery (my work) is a very big tool for my wellbeing, plus being out in nature, sunshine, garden and children, are all great tools to feel grounded and connected. Connection is the biggest element to wellbeing in my opinion.


Portraits by Richard Shaw

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Plant Styling Project: RMH Lottery Home in Elsternwick

Plant Styling Project: RMH Lottery Home in Elsternwick

By Alana Langan

01   THE BRIEF
The brief for this expansive space (soon-to-be home for one lucky RMH Lottery winner!) was to add thoughtful touches of plant-life throughout, encouraging a connection to the garden outside and nature itself, whilst also supporting the design of the space (by Michelle Attard with build by Glenvill Homes). Without knowing who the lucky eventual owners of the home would be, we specified robust, tolerant and hard-working plants that even the most novice green thumbs could handle.



02   PLANTS TO SOFTEN CONTEMPORARY INTERIORS
With continuity of plant-life throughout the home, we ensured this newly built space was softened with greenery, bringing texture and nuances from the natural world indoors. The architecture and interior design included many biophilic principles (e.g. maximising sunlight and the use of natural decor materials throughout), and the plants only further enrich these elements. (Photo: peace lily in Leaf and Thread pot plus bird of paradise, kentia palm and bird's nest fern).


03   DESIGN CHOICES
We used a mix of textural and organic pots that echoed the look and feel of the home. Colours were borne from a natural palette of greens and terracotta's, paired with more simple neutrals. Rather than overwhelming, our goal was to ensure the plants and pots complemented the existing selections. Our plant stylists always take this into consideration when specifying items for a project and can work collaboratively with designers and architects at any stage of a project.  (Photo: kentia palm in Pedra Pot)



04   IT'S ALL IN THE DETAILS
Before deciding on our plant selections, we considered their suitability for the space, taking into account environmental conditions including orientation, light, temperature, humidity and how the space is used. As with all our plant styling projects, we also hand-pick our specimens to ensure they're in healthy condition and suitable for the desired position they will soon call home. (Photo: bird's nest fern in pot plus green exotica hoya in Leaf and Thread pot).


05   WELLBEING WITH PLANTS
Connection to nature was paramount in this home. With ample gardens and multiple outdoor entertaining areas, we wanted to encourage people outdoors to enjoy these areas, all the while connecting back to the internal building itself. We chose positions for plants throughout the home that ensured there was a constant flow of greenery both in and out. Time spent in nature has been proven to be hugely beneficial to human beings on multiple levels, if you don't have the luxury of a forest at your doorstep, surrounding yourself and your home with plant-life is the next best thing! (Photo: succulent selection in Zakkia pot).


 
06   LET US HELP YOU GREENIFY YOUR SPACE
(P.S... WE CAN ALSO CARE FOR YOUR PLANTS)
 
PLANT STYLING
We’re passionate about cultivating wellbeing with plants. Plants enrich spaces. They soften contemporary environments, creating lush sanctuaries that invigorate us and help us reconnect with nature. Plants increase our quality of life.

With an eye for design and styling interiors, we can help you greenify your space, whatever the size. From residential to commercial settings, we can curate a design-savvy botanical solution that inspires. 
 
PLANT MAINTENANCE
From residential to commercial settings, leave the health of your indoor plants to our qualified horticulturist. A natural extension of our plant styling offering, but also available as an independent service, we can regularly maintain and care for your plants through regular visits to your green space.
 
If you have invested in indoor plants, keeping them looking healthy and lush is imperative. We understand not everyone has the time or the expertise to care for their indoor greenery; proper watering and natural lighting is key but humidity and temperature also play important roles. Our qualified Horticulturist who specialises in caring for indoor plants can give your plants appropriate care to ensure they thrive and have longevity.  

If you'd like to discuss your project further please get in touch;
hello@ivymuse.com.au


 

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CREATE A VIBE AT HOME WITH PLANT: one space styled four ways

CREATE A VIBE AT HOME WITH PLANT: one space styled four ways

By Alana Langan

Plants have a superstar ability to add dimension to your decorating at a fraction of the cost of the latest 'must have' homeware. If you ask us, they're the ultimate styling accessory. Some plants can be associated with certain fashions, locations or vibes and you can use this to create a distinctive look that echoes the style of your home, or to create contrasting scenes. Below we break down how we've styled one space in four different interior 'styles' - but honestly, there's a plethora of ways you could use plants to create vibes.The fun part is figuring out which is going to work best for you.

01   COASTAL
Plants that are commonly found in coastal landscapes can conjure up a tropical, beachside feeling. You can create a striking look with just a few of these plant varieties. Remember to stagger the heights so you're not left with a flat display - you want your eyes to journey along the scene. (Plants from L-R; Giant bird of paradise, spath sensation and lady palm).



02   CONTEMPORARY

For a fresh contemporary look, choose unusual plants that have an interesting, sculptural silhouette. Play with height and shape to create an exciting visual feast and think outside the box when it comes to vessels and pots. Pair a large tree with a canvas basket for a contemporary take on a class pot or try a plant stand to round our the styling and add another dimension to the group. (Plants L - R; Moonshine snake plant, mistletoe cactus, snowdrop cactus, zanzibar gem, fig tree and zebra plant (calathea). 



03   MINIMALIST

The trick here is to employ the idea that 'less is more' by using fewer plants and choosing bold varieties. Large leaves with interesting shapes have lots of visual presence. Large, sculptural trees like fiddle leaf figs and well-established specimens like wolf's head philodendrons or monstera would also work well here. (Plants L - R; monstera and rubber plant). 


04   BOHEMIAN
To evoke a bohemian jungle vibe, go for maximum impact and choose plants that offer a variety of sizes and textures. A layered look is always our go-to as it creates depth and varying heights which works well visually. Place some plants on the ground and use stands, timber stumps (or anything really) to support the vessels and give plants the opportunity to drape down where they can. (Plants L - R; Christmas cactus, green exotica hoya, hoya heuschkeliana, spider plant, golden cane palm, monstera and Boston fern).



05   P.S REMEMBER, ANYTHING GOES
We've broken down four popular interior 'styles' but don't forget if you're anything like us and like to shy away from getting stuck in any one particular 'vibe' then create your own by including a mix of plants that speak to you. Ultimately the goal here is to create a plant-filled sanctuary that nurtures your well-being.



06   IF YOU NEED A HAND, WE'D LOVE TO HELP 
We’re passionate about cultivating wellbeing with plants. Plants enrich spaces. They soften contemporary environments, creating lush sanctuaries that invigorate us and help us reconnect with nature. Plants increase our quality of life.

With an eye for design and styling interiors, we can help you greenify your space, whatever the size. From residential to commercial settings, we can curate a design-savvy botanical solution that inspires. 

If you'd like to discuss your project further please get in touch;

hello@ivymuse.com.au

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Wellbeing With Plants | Elizabeth Barnett

Wellbeing With Plants | Elizabeth Barnett

By Alana Langan

Please tell us a little bit about yourself...

I am a painter and printmaker living in the Macedon Ranges about an hour out of Melbourne. I mainly work in oils on linen as well as watercolour. My subject matter often features still life and interiors with a big focus on plant matter, flowers, foraged foliage and indoor plants.


What do you love most about indoor plants?

I love greening up an interior with indoor plants. They add a living element to a space and create visual interest to a room without being static, they are always changing form, flowering, creating new leaves and sometimes dying a little.



How do indoor plants enhance your wellbeing?


I love tending to my indoor plants, it feels a bit like meditation. Sometimes it is stressful when a plant is dying and you’re not sure why, but once I discover all the happy spots in our home for certain plants then I seem to find a flow in feeding and caring for them.



In what other ways do plants nurture you?

We live on a small hobby farm and we are surrounded by bush. Nature is a huge part of our family’s life, we take pride in it and are grateful for its seasonal changes every day. We grow some of our own food and what we don’t grow we try to buy locally from the farmers market. Getting out into the garden or hiking up Mount Macedon is a really important part of my week.



What's your favourite plant?

My favourite plant keeps changing but probably a true favourite is the manna gum (Eucalyptus Viminalis) that surround our house. They are so majestic and host a plethora of wild life. When one of the saplings fell a few years ago and we were chopping it up for firewood a heap of little tree frogs bounced out of what once was the canopy. You’d have never known they were there if the tree hadn’t fallen. Inside the house my most recent favourite plant has been the begonia gifted to me by a local friend. It is so delicate but hardy and has the most beautiful and sweet little clusters of flowers.  My favourite plant to paint on the other hand is the Monstera Deliciosa. It has such pleasing shapes and is a really sculptural plant to include in an interior painting. I also love the reference to artists like Matisse who featured Monsteras often.


What do you find most difficult about plant care?

I find the big plants hard to care for because they are near impossible to move in their heavy pots. I recently had a ficus casualty. It was a case of overwatering which I hadn’t realised was happening. It’s always sad to lose a plant friend.


Has taking care of plants taught you anything insightful?

Plants are always teaching me things. I definitely need patience, and caring for them does teach me to slow down. Indoor plants get pretty sad at our house in winter so I have tried and tested different positions in the house. Plants outside get eaten by possums and kangaroos so it’s a lot of trial and error getting the right ones for the right places. The wattle is coming into bloom at the moment and some days the sun hits them and they almost shimmer with colour. Plants definitely teach me about colour and composition for my work too.



What's another wellbeing practice you swear by?

Bushwalking and hiking is essential to my physical and mental wellbeing. Even just being outside in the trees is enough to heal the soul. I am very lucky to have so much greenery at my doorstep.



Find more on Elizabeth Barnett here
Photos by Jessica Tremp

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Plant Styling Project: Glen Iris

Plant Styling Project: Glen Iris

By Alana Langan

01   THE BRIEF

The brief for this beautiful contemporary family home was to add considered touches of plant-life throughout, whilst complementing the existing design of the space. With young children, a dog and a busy family life to contend with, our plant choices needed to be robust, tolerant and hard-working. (Photo: fiddle leaf fig in 'Pedra Pot').



02   HEALTH BENEFITS

With continuity of plant-life throughout the home, we could ensure the benefits of plants were felt in any space. Not only does the greenery add softness and a connection to nature, they actively detoxify the air and provide their owner's with a plethora of health benefits including decreased stress levels, increased creativity and overall wellbeing. (Photo: wolf's head philodendron in pot, with IVY MUSE Prism plant stand and hoya). 



03   DESIGN CHOICES
We used a mix of textural and organic pots that echoed the look and feel of the home. Rather than overwhelming, our goal was to ensure the plants and pots complemented the existing selections. Our plant stylists always take this into consideration when specifying items any project. (Photo: devil's ivy, rubber plant in our exclusive 'Watermark' Lead & Thread glaze pot and hoya in IVY MUSE Ivory pot).


04   IT'S ALL IN THE DETAILS

Before deciding on our plant selections, we of course considered their suitability in the space, taking into account environmental conditions including orientation, light, temperature, humidity and how the space is used. As with all our plant styling projects, we also hand-pick our specimens for their suitability in the desired position they will soon call home - that sometimes includes finding the perfect length! (Photo: chain of hearts in our IVY MUSE Planter Petite)



05   THE HEART OF THE HOME

When choosing plants for each area in the home, we always consider the family who live there and most importantly, how they engage with the space. There was no point putting a wide-reaching kentia palm in a hallway if the kids (and dog!) were always going to bull-dozing it on their way past. The same consideration is always taken when specifying a plant styling solution; we know all too well the tempting idea of turning a home into a bona-fide 'jungle' but the reality is that a busy family may not have the time nor inclination for the upkeep of so many plants; we help our clients identify these goals and work to provide a solution that keeps everyone happy. (Photo: peperomia and zanzibar gem in Leaf & Thread Landscape pot). 


06   WELLBEING WITH PLANTS
When working with our clients our goal is to make the most of their space and identifying how plant-life can be amplified within it (whether it be residential or commercial). Through considered plant and product choices, we encourage you to stop, slow down and take time to connect with nature and increase your overall health and wellbeing. (Plant; monstera, philodendron hope in Mr Kitly Self-Watering pot, hoya in IVY MUSE Ivory pot and peperomia).


07   LET US HELP YOU GREENIFY YOUR SPACE

We’re passionate about cultivating wellbeing with plants. Plants enrich spaces. They soften contemporary environments, creating lush sanctuaries that invigorate us and help us reconnect with nature. Plants increase our quality of life.

With an eye for design and styling interiors, we can help you greenify your space, whatever the size. From residential to commercial settings, we can curate a design-savvy botanical solution that inspires. 

If you'd like to discuss your project further please get in touch;

hello@ivymuse.com.au


 

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Celebrating 5 Years with a limited edition 'Stem' collaboration

Celebrating 5 Years with a limited edition 'Stem' collaboration

By Jacqui Vidal

To celebrate our 5th birthday we've teamed up with a handful of our favourite Australian ceramicists to see them reimagine our popular 'Stem' propagating vessel.

With a limited edition of just 20 per design, these vessels are formed from glass plus a one-of-a-kind handmade top, crafted by each ceramicist; Andrei Davidoff, Bisuketto Studio, Jenn Johnston, Leaf & Thread, Simone Karras and Wingnut & Co.

‘Stem’ is ideal for propagating your favourite plants but also makes a beautiful vase for flowers.

STEM arrives fully gift boxed making it the perfect gift for yourself or others.

SHOP HERE

 

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Wellbeing With Plants | Phillip Withers

Wellbeing With Plants | Phillip Withers

By Alana Langan

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!

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Wellbeing With Plants: Alex McCabe

Wellbeing With Plants: Alex McCabe

By Jacqui Vidal

Please tell us a little bit about yourself...

My name is Alex McCabe and I’m the co-founder and creative director of Kip&Co, a homewares and apparel brand we launched seven years, motivated by the simple idea of bringing a little more colour and fun into every corner of the home, and every member of the family.

 



What do you love most about indoor plants?

When we renovated our home, a big focus for us was how to bring the outside in. The whole home is centred around the view out to the garden, but it's really the indoor plants that complete that goal of having a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor. Plants are like having living art to me, each one is different and I love being able to pick different beautiful pots and vessels to house them. 

 


 
How do indoor plants enhance your wellbeing?

I think gardening, including indoor plants, is a really good calming hobby, and a great activity to do with kids. So I love the manual side of it - although admit it is more my boyfriend Bobby who is Chief Gardener at home rather than me! 

 


In what other ways do plants nurture you?

My mum is a passionate and beautiful gardener and vigneron so plants hold a special nostalgia for me - a sense of home and memories of the freedom of childhood. Bobby and I have just purchased a small vineyard block and so hope to continue the tradition of being connected to plants for our own family. We’re also, like every man and his dog, bingeing on plant-based diet podcasts and trying to incorporate that a little more into our day to day lives. 

 


 
What's your favourite plant?

Indian rope hoya; I bought Bobby one last year! It has a single strand of leaves that are tightly curled up (on left below). Super cool. 

 


What do you find most difficult about plant care?

We have a small indoor garden bed over our kitchen bench that is almost inaccessible and watered on a drip. The tricky thing is that the leaves get that sticky spotty stuff on them from time to time and Bobby has to get the ladder up and precariously pluck them off and spray the whole thing with a natural leaf protector. Its totally worthwhile but having plants within arms reach would probably be a little easier on the stress levels.

 



Has taking care of plants taught you anything insightful?
 
Of course! Sometimes we’ve had plants that have been neglected (I’ll put my hand up!) and we’ve had to say goodbye. It's a good reminder that they can’t be ignored, they need to be nurtured and given attention.

 


What's another wellbeing practice you swear by?
 
No phones in the bedroom, daily meditation (I swing in and out of this but it's great when you can do it!), a cup of herbal tea before bed, dancing, and enjoying a good glass of champagne when the occasion calls for it.

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Wellbeing With Plants | Tess Robinson

Wellbeing With Plants | Tess Robinson

By Jacqui Vidal

Please tell us a little bit about yourself...

My name is Tess and I am Mum to my baby girl Dylan and Mum/Creative Director/Founder to a few business babies. 
 
My main creative outlet is being the proud Founder and Creative Director of Smack Bang Designs - a boutique creative agency based in Sydney. With a team of 15 spectacularly talented folk, together we elevate brands across the globe. We are a collective of smart-as-hell, genuine, fun, creative thinkers who continue to develop exceptional, market-leading brands by offering design that's as thoughtful as it is beautiful. In short, we propel businesses to their next level of success and have a bloody great time doing so.
 
Alongside Smack Bang, I also run a business with my partner in crime (and life). Byron and I established Urban Growers and recently published a book called Slow Down and Grow Something to promote and encourage nourishment and conscious living. 
 
We design, create and maintain edible gardens in urban spaces to help residential families and forward-thinking corporations enjoy and benefit from the joy of gardening.

 

What do you love most about indoor plants?

Oh, what’s not to love?! My studio and home are both dotted with greenery (and by ‘dotted’; I mean ‘jam-packed’). Not only do they clean the air and are so damn good for our brains (thank you, Mother Nature) but they are such a great way to add life, vibrance and style to a space. I’m an interior designer at heart so I also get a real kick out of sourcing plants for my spaces and seeing them fit so perfectly in their new home.

 

How do indoor plants enhance your wellbeing?

There is something inherently calming about being in nature, and bringing a little piece of the outdoors in, in the form of an indoor plant - means saying sayonara stress and hello tranquility. Plus, little pockets of green in the home (and our studio digs) make for a healthier and happier me and consequently a more productive and creative mindset. Bueno baby.

 

In what other ways do plants nurture you?

For me, plants are little reminders to slow down. I love the routine of watering and caring for my plants - I find it super therapeutic. It’s nice to get your fingers off the keyboard and in to dirt regularly. When I’m in need of a brainstorm or reflection with my own thoughts, wandering around picking off dead leaves and generally zhuzhing gives me a simple task to keep focused and in a kind of meditative space that generates clarity and creativity. Something I need a shipment of at all times.

 

What's your favourite plant?

Oooft. How can I choose?! Boutins Blue, Date Palm, Euphorbia, Dracaena Draco, Aloe Plicatilis, Burbank Blue - They’ll all be receiving an invite to my funeral.

 

What do you find most difficult about plant care?

To be honest, it’s really not that difficult to not brutally murder a houseplant. In saying this, I do have a secret weapon up my sleeve. My knight in shiny armor (read bushman in dirty overalls) who doubles as not only my life partner but a qualified plant-carer-horticulturalist-person- thingy.

He’s got it under control, praise be. And then there’s my lovely EA, Ellie, who waters our studio plants every Monday. She loves this routine to start off her week, so I really couldn’t take it away from her, could I now?!

 

Has taking care of plants taught you anything insightful?

Firstly, it’s a reminder to forever stay in awe, be thankful and eternally grateful for Mother Nature. Plants have led me into a career path that I would have never found otherwise. Byron’s love of plants opened up our world to begin Urban Growers and for that I am incredibly grateful. Our tagline is ‘Inspired by the endless potential of greener spaces’ and the more and more I expand my thinking in this space, the more I realise that the potential truly is endless - plants teach us to be mindful, allow us to be healthy, bring together communities and are the key to a brighter future for our kids.

 

What's another wellbeing practice you swear by?

Meditation is a big one, but probably more than that is my daily beach time. The beach is my sanity and I make sure to go and see either the sunrise or the sunset each day. There’s something so calming and inspiring about seeing the vast spaciousness out to the horizon. No matter what the weather is up to, the ocean always mesmerises me and I just love that no two days ever look the same down there.

Wherever you go, whatever time of the day or night, I’m simply a big believer that we all need to take a moment every day to sit (or stroll) silently, with our own thoughts to reflect or reset.

 

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Wellbeing With Plants | Jacqui Vidal

Wellbeing With Plants | Jacqui Vidal

By Jacqui Vidal

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
 
So many words spring to mind! Mum, small business owner, plant lover, yogi, housekeeper and general household peace moderator! Most relevant to this is that I'm the Co-Founder of IVY MUSE. Alongside best friend Alana Langan, we started IVY MUSE nearly five years ago and it's been five years of fun, laughter, learning and let's not forget the biggie - hard work!


(Photo: Armelle Habib Styling Heather Nette King for The Age)

What do you love most about indoor plants?

I love their ability to transform a place. After we wrote our book "Plant Style: How To Greenify Your Space", we had a lot of interest from customers as to whether we offered plant styling as a service - and of course we wanted to say yes. Now most weeks we're welcomed into homes and commercial spaces that, whilst lovely are lacking an air of "comfort" as they are devoid of plants. Being able to see first-hand the 'before' and 'after' effect of adding living plants into an environment makes me respect them even more. Not only do they have an amazing visual impact on the space, but clients seem more relaxed and noticeably less stressed once they've incorporated the benefits of plants into their life. 

How do indoor plants enhance your wellbeing?

They make me pause. Life is so busy with both an eight year-old and a nine month-old, plus running a business (and doing multiple loads of washing every day)! The simple act of 'giving' to your plants; watering them, pruning them, wiping dust off their leaves, acts as a moving meditation for me, time for my mind to be still as it connects to nature itself.


(Photo: Armelle Habib Styling Heather Nette King for The Age)

In what other ways do plants nurture you?

I'm lucky that I have a job that I love. On the days when I'm working in our Armadale Botanical Emporium I'm surrounded by plants, and from the moment I arrive to the moment I leave there is a sense of ease in my body. There's nothing like being surrounded by a lush jungle at work.


What's your favourite plant?

I have had a Pink Princess Philodendron for a couple of years now. It's so odd as I never used to like the colour pink and was quite the tomboy growing up. But, when I had my daughter Ellis 8 years ago and she turned out to be such a girly little girl, I caught the 'pink' bug! Especially when it comes to the softer, paler shades of pink. 


(Photo: Armelle Habib Styling Heather Nette King for The Age)

What do you find most difficult about plant care?
 
At the moment I'm struggling with keeping my baby from pulling off the lower leaves of our Fiddle, that happily resides in our living room! 


Has taking care of plants taught you anything insightful?

I've definitely noticed that everything has its own rhythm and routine. Plants are no different. They have their own intuitive cycles and once you find yourself wise to them,
plant care becomes a sixth sense!


(Photo: Armelle Habib / Styling: Heather Nette King for The Age)

What's another wellbeing practice you swear by?

When we opened our Armadale Botanical Emporium we were lucky enough to have the most welcoming neighbours in Happy Melon. Being right next door to an amazing yoga studio rekindled my love affair with yoga. I've been practicing since I was 19 and have tried so many styles of yoga over time but the vinyasa flow classes have been my go-to for the last couple of years.

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