Wellbeing With Plants | Kate Pascoe-Squires

Wellbeing With Plants | Kate Pascoe-Squires

By Jacqui Vidal

Please tell us a little bit about yourself...

I am the creator of The Slowdown Press - an online journal that explores The Slowdown moment, hour, practice and life – because it’s so important, for all of us. The Slowdown looks different for everyone, but that time, that second of pure joy, is where life can get really exciting. Our interviews are raw and involved, often emotional, difficult and tender. The project really is a labour of love for me and I couldn’t be prouder of how it’s all coming together. 
 
Along with the journal, I also consult to a range of small creative businesses on everything from overall marketing strategy, right through to the nitty gritty of social media, public relations and all the other goodness that goes into making a successful business.


What do you love most about indoor plants?

I’m obsessed with greenery throughout our home. I naturally gravitate towards a black, white and neutral palette, so pops of green everywhere literally make the space come to life. We live in a terrace in Bondi Junction and are so thankful that the original architect allowed for a huge light shaft through the middle of the house. We have packed this area full of plants, including Fiddle Leaf Figs, which I adore. Even though they are, on paper, outdoor plants, it really feels as though our whole dining and living area is filled with nature.

That’s the dream when living in such a high-density area and is by far, the best feature of our home.
 

 
How do indoor plants enhance your wellbeing?

I just love how they clean the air – especially in the winter, when the doors are closed and the heaters are pumping. Things start to feel a little stagnant inside during those cold months, so our indoor plants have their work cut out for them!
 

 
In what other ways do plants nurture you?

We have heavily planted the outdoor areas of our home for aesthetics, of course, but also to try and offset the pollution, dust and God knows what else we are subjected to living so close to the city. Terraces can be tricky to “green out”, but we have really worked hard to make our home a bit of an oasis. There are tiny gardens on all levels of this house, so wherever we are, we are able to enjoy a leafy-green outlook. 
 
Our office was looking a little bare recently and, with all high-rise construction around us, we found ourselves craving even more greenery. We wanted to have a little fun with it though, so we planted four enormous cacti in boxes on the front balcony. They make me happy every single day and are beautifully sculptural.
 

 
What's your favourite plant?
 
I would have to say Fiddle Leaf Figs – I know they are popular, but they are so beautiful. There’s a reason why people love them, right? We used to have two in pots inside, but they became a little woody (probably due to our sub-par care of them!)… but we moved them outside and they have since flourished. Joy! 
 
I also have to make a special mention of the Frangipani Tree, which reminds me of long days, summer vibes and everything good about living in Sydney. The smell of Frangipani flowers cannot be beaten. And they’re super pretty too. We had a tree in our front garden when we lived on the beach in Clovelly almost eight and a half years ago. When we sold the house, we naughtily dug her up and popped her into an oversized pot on our balcony. She’s still going strong all these years later and is my little piece of beachy-happiness.
 
 

What do you find most difficult about plant care?
 
I find everything really difficult about plant care! I literally have no idea what I am doing when it comes to gardening, but I do it with love. I don’t know how to plant pots, how often to water, when to repot, where they should be positioned… But the good news is, I know my weaknesses, so I have an excellent gardener come semi-regularly to help undo all of my mistakes. I can thank her for the amazing state of our green friends.
 

 
Has taking care of plants taught you anything insightful?
 
It’s definitely shown me that, in the end, nature conquers all. Nature is incredibly resilient and so determined. Also, full of life, energy and stillness all at once. I honestly think nature teaches us the best lessons of them all, if we are just slow down enough to take notice of them.
 

 
What's another wellbeing practice you swear by?
 
I have two that come in equally, hand in hand. I like to get up before the troops in the morning (luckily, my son Harry (9) and daughter Helena (7) are no longer early risers, so that’s not a difficult task) and meditate for 20 minutes before my day gets underway. I also answer a few key questions to get me in the right frame of mind for the day… “How can I be the best me? How can I be the best mum? How can I be the best wife?” When you’re not feeling the morning, answering these tend to get me going – and in a good frame of mind too!
 
In the evening, I like to have a glass of rosé or chardonnay while I’m cooking dinner. I find this makes it into an enjoyable occasion – instead of an underappreciated chore.

Photography by Danielle Cross 

Follow Kate @theslowdownpress
 

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Wellbeing With Plants | Masha Gorodilova

Wellbeing With Plants | Masha Gorodilova

By Alana Langan

Please tell us a little bit about yourself...

I am a yogi and a Co-Founder of Happy Melon Studios in High Street, Armadale. We have been open since April 2016 and became neighbours with IVY MUSE a few months after.

What do you love most about indoor plants?
 
I love how indoor plants make spaces (and Happy Melon) look alive. It’s almost like the place breathes deeper and there's a real quality of tranquility.



How do indoor plants enhance your wellbeing?
 
At Happy Melon we talk a lot about the quality of breath. In order to slow the mind chatter down we ask guests to focus on the breath and organically everything slows down. I think the same thing happens with plants. They make you slow down and
appreciate the moments in between.


What was the first indoor plant you ever had?  
 
I grew up in Russia, a very cold country. In winter there is nothing green but indoor plants. I don’t remember my first but I do remember stealing plants (or the roots of the plants) from school so my home could look greener. I guess I didn't have any money to buy them so I was sharing the plants from school (!).



Has taking care of plants taught you anything insightful?
 
It’s not as easy as I thought. I keep learning which plants need more water or love -
and some just don’t need any. They are a living creature and I need to learn to
understand them more. 

What's another wellness practice you swear by?
 
I am a litte biased but yoga and meditation is my road to wellness. I would love to practice yoga till I am very old. Meditation is non negotiable for me even with a 10-month old baby. If you think you don’t have 10 mins, meditate for 20.






 

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GREEN SHELFIES

GREEN SHELFIES

By Jacqui Vidal

They may take a little practice to perfect, but 'green shelfies' are worth their weight in gold when you get them right.

It's not just about cramming lots of plants onto a shelf. Focus on using spacing, texture and shape to best effect. Allow tendrils to float downwards to grab your attention, then create a visual journey that bounces from one glorious green scene to the next.

Pepper the shelves with personal items in a variety of colours and shapes. It pays to keep things balanced - if all the plants are on one side, it will look disjointed. Use a mix of upright and trailing plants to give your 'green shelfie' variation and texture. 

Featured below: IVY MUSE 'Plant Shelf'

 

 

OUR TOP PICK FOR THE PERFECT 'GREEN SHELFIE' PLANT:
WAX FLOWERS

There are nearly 200 species of hoya, sometimes known as wax flowers. Originally from tropical Asia and Australasia, these woody-stemmed vines have delicate porcelain-like flowers and lustrous evergreen foliage. They thrive in warmer conditions and enjoy a bright spot. 

WATERING
Keep moist in warmer months and drier in winter and you can expect to have a beautiful plant for many years to come.

LIGHT
Most species require three to four hours of direct sunlight everyday for healthy growth and flowering. 

STYLING TIP
You can use hoya to create interesting sculptural shapes, making them ideal for shelves and ledges. Each one has its own unique character - we've never seen two exactly alike! We have a particular fondness for their versatility, their uniquely shaped leaves and the beautiful shades of green they offer. 

FAVOURITE VARIETIES
Crimson queen hoya, hoya heuschkeliana and green exotica hoya all cast wonderful silhouettes. 

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Giveaway | LUCID FIELDS

Giveaway | LUCID FIELDS

By Jacqui Vidal

***UPDATE: Winner announced! Congratulations to Lisa Hotson, the lucky winner of our LUCID FIELDS Giveaway!***

To celebrate the launch of our Lucid Fields collection, we're offering one lucky winner $1000 worth of IVY MUSE botanical wares. To enter, simply sign up to our mailing list by clicking HERE


Competition closes at 23:59 AEST on 9th Nov 2018.
Open to Australian residents only.
Winner chosen randomly from our complete list of subscribers on 7th Nov 2018. 
One winner will win up to $1000 (RRP$AU) worth of IVY MUSE botanical wares from the LUCID FIELDS range. 
No further discounts apply. 
No exchanges or credit notes will be issued.

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Ivy Muse takes on 'Terrace Week' on THE BLOCK

Ivy Muse takes on 'Terrace Week' on THE BLOCK

By Jacqui Vidal

ABOVE: OUR INDOOR JUNGLE VISION
AS FEATURED ON THE BLOCK ON CHANNEL 9

At IVY MUSE we’re passionate about getting creative with greenery. 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. That's why we were delighted when Hans & Courtney from Channel 9's The Block reached out to us when it came time to design their indoor terrace.

As we proudly donned our hard hats and hi-vis vests and entered the loud (and incredibly dusty) Gatwick Hotel, we were incredibly excited to have the opportunity to design a green space from the bare bones up!

After chatting to Hans and being given free reign (albiet on a very small budget!) we decided to go 'full jungle' and create a space that was lush and green, but still within our classic and clean style.

For the end result, make sure to watch this week's Terrace Room Reveal on Channel 9!

P.S. GO TEAM COURTNEY & HANS!!!!

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Part 2 | Choose the right pot or vessel for your plants with these styling tips!

Part 2 | Choose the right pot or vessel for your plants with these styling tips!

By Jacqui Vidal

Do you have a penchant for handmade, one-of-a-kind pots? Do you prefer textured or smooth finishes, bold or muted colours, simple or elaborate shapes? Work out what appeals to you, how well the pot will compliment the plant, and if the pot will fit in with the overall look of your home.

If you are working with a delicate plant, try a light-coloured container with a simple shape. Pair a plant that has a strong, sculptural shape or bold colours with a visually striking vessel for an amplified effect or, for a softer look, choose a simpler pot. Large plants often work well with bold containers, like painted or patterned pots, where the plant isn't swamped by the loudness of the pattern. 

Pictured: Hay Design 'Flower Pots'

 

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Part 1 | Choose the right pot or vessel for your plants with these styling tips!

Part 1 | Choose the right pot or vessel for your plants with these styling tips!

By Jacqui Vidal

01   TO CACHE OR NOT TO CACHE?

Everyone has probably owned a terracotta pot, but there are many more materials being used to hold plants nowadays: ceramic, stoneware, fibreglass, seagrass - even washable paper bags. The options are endless. 

When you are choosing a pot for a new plant, think about how you are going to use it. Check the size of the plastic container your plant has come in then look for a new pot that will fit it. You can either plant directly into the new pot, or keep the plant in the plastic container and use the new pot as a cache-pot (a decorative container that holds a plant pot). If you're going to plant directly into the new pot, let the plant settle into your home for a couple of weeks before doing so - repotting too soon may send your plant into shock and kill it. The best time to repot is during the start of the plant's active growth period, which is generally in spring.

Also, only ever increase your pot size by two inches width and/or depth at a time - a pot that's too big gives the roots too much space to grow into. The plant won't grow above the soil until its roots begin to fill the container. An oversized pot can also hold excessive amounts of water and cause root rot. 

Below | IVY MUSE 'Cloud Pot' and 'Halo (White/Small)'


Below | IVY MUSE Nest in 'Brass & Clover Eggshell' and 'White & Feather Grey'

02   DRAINAGE - IS IT A MUST?

It's a good idea to use a drip tray when you have a pot with drainage holes. This will catch any drips and also allows you to water the plant without having to move it to the sink or put it outside. Drip trays can be hidden inside larger pots or put on display as a design feature. Empty any excess water from the tray.

Some plants can survive without drainage and - given the array of beautifully designed vessels that are available - you might be tempted to go that way. If you've decided to put a plant into a pot without drainage holes, be careful with your watering. Only let a little bit of water in at a time and keep it to a minimum. If there is too much water, tip the pot on its side to drain. The last thing you want to do is drown your plant.

Another option is to use self-watering pots, which have a well in their base to store water. These are great if you're a regular traveller or a bit forgetful.

Below | Leaf & Thread 'Self-Watering Planter (Slate)'



Below | Mr Kitly 'Self-Watering Planters'

WANT MORE HANDY TIPS ON HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN GREEN OASIS?
 
 
Ferns are back in the bathroom, cacti are sitting on plant stands and devil's ivy is cascading from hangers. Indoor plants are the ultimate indoor accessory. Softening interiors and readily available, they are a stylist's best friend. However, it's their power to transform a sterile space into an urban sanctuary that makes them more than just an inanimate prop - all you need to know is how to use them.
 
From the founders of coveted plant-wares label, IVY MUSE, comes this charming guide on how to turn your home into a jungle-like retreat. With design-savvy tips and expert advise, you'll learn all there is to know about decorating with plants and botanical styling plus the necessities like light requirements and when to water and feed. From bathroom to boudoir to every room in between, create your very own green oasis with Plant Style.

PURCHASE PLANT STYLE: HOW TO GREENIFY YOUR SPACE HERE

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The Ivy Muse guide to bathroom plant styling

The Ivy Muse guide to bathroom plant styling

By Jacqui Vidal

01   TRANSFORM YOUR SPACE INTO A TRANQUIL OASIS
 
Even though they are one of the most used areas in the house, bathrooms can often seem bland and simple. Often thought of as hard to decorate due to the damage steam and excess moisture can cause to decor, plants can thrive in these conditions and add interest. Even a few green additions on a window sill or on the corner of a basin can complete the scene, creating a lush, serene spot to unwind. 

(Plant pictured below 'Leatherleaf Fern')

 

02   SIZE
 
Bathrooms are usually small and compact, with minimal space to fit any extra furnishings. However, if you take a step back and look at your space with some greenery in mind, you'll find your options to decorate will double. With so many amazing plants available, and with so many accessories like hangers and stands, it won't take long for you to build up your bathroom to the space you've always wanted.

Get creative and look at areas in a new light as windowsills, ceiling hooks, and high ledges are a dream to decorate with! Neutral pots and accessories will keep the focus on the greenery and details of the bathroom - light colours will make a space feel larger, with the reverse seen in darker tones creating a smaller, more intimate feel.
 
(Plants pictured L-R: Zanzibar gem, mistletoe cactus, crimson princess hoya, green exotica hoya, chain of hearts).

 

03   PLACEMENT
 
In small bathrooms, focus on making the most of your space. Think about hanging air plants on the wall, filling windowsills with a mix of pots or use the available floorspace as best you can. Consider how the plants will grow too; if space is limited, choose plants that grow vertically or will cascade down a wall rather than spreading out horizontally.

(Plant pictured: Begonia) 

 

04   THREE PLANTS THAT WILL THRIVE IN A BATHROOM
 
Our top three plants for bathrooms are monstera (variegated variety pictured below), begonia and peace lily. Begonia and peace lily don't like dry conditions, so the humidity of a bathroom is ideal. All three are easy to care for. Begonia and monstera enjoy filtered light while pace lilies grow well in medium light, which is great if your bathroom verges on the shady side. 

 

05   DARK BATHROOMS
 
Bathrooms often have very little or no natural light at all. It's a problem - indoor plants really do need some light to thrive. If there is a little bit of light, try a devil's ivy or heartleaf philodendron. They are both trailing and climbing plants, so they work well in a variety of positions. If you need an upright option, go with a zanzibar gem, commonly known as the 'plant that thrives on neglect'!

 

06   FOR MORE GREEN INSPIRATION CHECK OUT OUR BOOK 'PLANT STYLE'
 
With its first Australian print run already sold out, 'Plant Style' is proving a hit amongst plant lovers and newcomers alike.  Check out our guide on how to turn your home into a jungle-like retreat. With design-savvy tips and expert advice, you'll learn all there is to know about decorating with plants and botanical styling plus the necessities like light requirements and when to water and feed.

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Propagating; what is it and should you be doing it?

Propagating; what is it and should you be doing it?

By Alana Langan

Marimo moss balls and monstera deliciosa (above) can both be propagated in water.

Propagating plants (making more plants from the ones you have) is one of the best and easiest things about living green. Seeing your new plants develop swirling roots as they propagate in their vessels is incredibly satisfying and a beautiful insight to processes that usually take place below the soil.

Any glass vessel is ideal for propagating, though if your plant needs extra support try a purpose-designed propagating vase (try STEM).

A few handy tips on propagating;

  1. Take your cuttings a day or two after watering, so that popping them in water won't come as such a shock to the plant.
  2. Take healthy cuttings from newer growth.
  3. Cut the stem of your plants at an angle, this helps it take in water until it takes root.
  4. Don't allow leaves to sit in water.
  5. Cuttings need partial sun - a windowsill with bright, filtered light is best. Let new roots grow 2-3 inches before transferring your new plant into moist potting soil.

While you should always follow these rules, some species have additional requirements that need to be met to really thrive.

DEVILS IVY (Epipremnum aureum)
One of the easiest plants to grow and one of the easiest to propagate.  When taking your cuttings from a healthy vine, make sure you snip a 3-5 inch length of stem with at least three nodes (small woody protrusions under the leaves). This should leave you with a cutting with about  3-4 leaves. If there are more leaves, carefully prune the ones closest to where the cutting was made - until they take root, cuttings can only support so many leaves.

SWISS CHEESE VINE (Monstera obliqua)
This very popular and highly sought after species isn't as fragile as its delicate leaves suggest. You can easily propagate this beautiful plant by following the same rules listed for Devils Ivy. The only specific ingredient Obliqua's require is a little more light (but still filtered!) which helps their leaves grow with their characteristic holes.

SUCCULENTS

Succulents can be propagated in water by division (cuttings). Before popping your succulents in water, allow them to dry out for a few days, until the cut end becomes calloused. After this they're ready to place in water. Like the established plants they come from, succulent cuttings require a lot of light, so make sure you place your propagating vessel in a bright spot.

MARIMO MOSS BALLS

These fuzzy little balls are not moss at all, but rather Japanese algae. As such, these guys thrive when they're submerged in water and kept in low light. To propagate, squeeze any excess water from your ball and cut it down the middle, if you have a larger Marino, you can cut each of these halves again. Then, shape your Marimo into a ball - to keep it in shape, tie it with cotton thread. After this you can pop them back into water.
 
Let's get propagating; don't forget to tag us on IG @ivymuse_melb
 

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