Things are a bit stressful, aren’t they? On top of all the crazy politics, locally and abroad, it doesn’t look like the drought in the Western Cape is going to break anytime soon. So instead of stressing about our garden withering, I’ve decided to focus on plants that revel in a dry, hot scene, as well as on plants that thrive inside our home.
I’ve attacked this project with gusto, and now have masses of plants at home (see our little enclosed balcony above), in the Skinny laMinx shop, and on the studio roof, and in the process, have come across loads of resources and inspiration that I hope will inspire your green-fingered aspirations too:
After my dad showed me his impressive collection of Aloes, and gave me two crates of different varietals for my studio roof, I thought I was probably in need of some expertise of my own, so I hit the bookshops.
My first bit of research was The Bold Dry Garden, by Johanna Silver, about the dry gardening pioneer, Ruth Bancroft. Reading this, I learned a huge amount about how to approach garden design, about different kinds of dry-loving plants from this book, and I also came away inspired by Ruth Bancroft, who embarked on her project of establishing a 3 acre dry garden at the age of 63. Start plotting your legacy project now, folks! It’s never too late.
Caro Langton and Rose Ray are the two designers behind the London-based, botanical themed brand Ro Co, and the authors of House of Plants, which must be the most beautiful houseplant book ever published.
It’s full of simple, easy-to-use tips about some of the more common houseplants, as well as stylishly-presented DIY projects like terrariums, concrete planters, macramé hangers, as well as himmeli.
We had the Greenterior book by of Coffeeklatch in our shop earlier this year, but it got snapped up before I’d had a proper read of it. Flipping through, I could see that it would be a hugely inspiring read for anyone wanting to plan a plant-filled interior, as it’s stuffed with images of beautiful green-glutted homes.
Take a look at the Coffeeklatch website for more about each of the homes featured in the book.
When Ruth Bancroft established her garden, it wasn’t super easy to pick up a succulent or cactus at a local gift store, but these days, plant lovers are spoiled for choice. I’ve even had some really fantastic long-term plants in my home that I bought from Woollies. But in my strolls around Cape Town, I come across the most fabulous places, like Lush (below left), who does incredible floral work, but also sells a truly interesting selection of plants on the sidewalk and in the window, and then there’s Vorster and Braye (below, right) in Long Street, who are actually ceramicists, but they occasionally have some interesting plants too.
For something a little more niche, I recently stumbled across Angles & Earth (above) in Cape Town’s BoKaap – a beautiful little jewel of a store, specialising in terreria, and also selling a marvellous selection of unusual succulents and cacti, from tiny babies to full grown.
I love their super-simple string-and-nails idea for an airplant garden, don’t you?
On the other side of the globe in chilly Copenhagen – one of the last places I’d expect to find a treasurehouse of succulents and cacti for sale – is Kaktus København, where they claim that their spiky plants are ‘cuddled when they’re growing up’. Awww.
Another plant concept store in a chilly Northern climate is Mama Petula in Paris – with a charmingly jumbled, ad-hoc homely style to it that makes epic-scale plant ownership suddenly seem within reach. I could move right in, I think.
More tips and inspiration
- Check out House Plant Journal for Darryl Cheng’s carefully thought through selection of plantcare tips. He’s on Instagram as @houseplantjournal too.
- I dug up an older post of mine, which is all about plant filled homes.
- And here’s an even older one, about how the plants of Tokyo inspired our Paradise is Here fabric collection.
- Apartment Therapy has some great small garden tips.
- Find the Ruth Bancroft Garden on Instagram.
- Visit our Planty Inspiration Pinterest board for even more green gorgeousness.