Isn’t it wonderful to wander off your beaten track, and get rewarded by stumbling across a perfect little business? That’s what happened to me a couple of months ago, when I went for a spontaneous wander around the BoKaap one day. I was in full swing designing the Roof Garden print, thinking all things succulents, and the next thing I came across a beautiful store selling all things cactus, succulent… and terrariums too!
I tracked down Denny Mo, the owner of Angles+Earth, to find out more.
Hi Denny! I love your shop. Tell me more about who you are and what you do.
Well, I’ve always been fascinated by Nature – the balance, the inner working of plants and how they interact with their environment around them. I loved the idea of being able to take this living environment into our homes, which is what you can do with a terrarium. So I planted my first terrarium in 2010, and haven’t stopped since!
It’s not an easy task taking a living environment into the home. A lot of engineering has gone into the glass to make it work, and the evolution of our work is down to how we have changed the glass to suit different environments. We have a glass made for desert plants, especially designed to drain water, we have a woodland terrarium that has a self-watering base and we have a waterproof terrarium for water plants.
Where does the name Angles+Earth come from?
Well, I sell terrariums and plants in my shop, so we don’t plant plants in pots, we plant a little piece of earth inside a beautiful geometric glass structure. so ‘Angles’ represents the geometric shapes used to create the glass, while ‘Earth’ defines what we plant inside the terrarium.
Who makes up the Angles+Earth team?
Apart from me, in our store you’ll find a very knowledgeable shopkeeper who’s been working in Bonsai nursery most of his life. I have two glass makers based in Khayelitsha and an assistant that does all the deliveries, as well as a newly-contracted electrician, who is working on our new products like lamps and light-up terrariums.
What project are you most proud of?
The proudest moment lately was when I saw myself two weeks ago in the Sunday Times on a two page spread. That’s when you know the world is telling you, you have done something right!
But more generally, I’m proud when I see people’s fascination and marvel at the terrariums. I plant each one myself, and take pride in the care I put into each one. I don’t skimp on plants or on materials, using only the best because I believe this commitment to quality shows. I think the pride we take in our work is also is reflected in our client list, which includes top hotels like Radisson Blue and Singita Wild Life park. We also work with Kirstenbosch Nursery and a lot of private companies and B&B’s.
What would be the ultimate application for one of your terrariums?
Well, this may sound silly, but my ultimate would be to send a terrarium to another planet. Just think about this for a second: we have the means to move one natural environment into another, and once it’s sealed and balanced it can go.