You might have noticed that we’re big fans of greenery at Nest. Just like us, photography duo Haarkon have a soft spot for bringing the outside in, so we chatted to them about the joy of house plants, and (because we’ve all been there!) how to avoid killing them.
As photographers, we travel a lot for commercial projects and like to make the most of our time away from home by getting a nature fix in whatever form we find; we seek out greenery in urban spaces, like to find incredible jaw-dropping landscapes and have started what we like to call our ‘Greenhouse Tour of the World’.
We seem to have always had plants in our home; starting with just the one Umbrella plant bought a few years ago from our local DIY store and our collection has (pardon the pun) grown from there.
Plants bring a whole new texture to our interior and work really well to soften the hard surfaces - and bringing houseplants into our home is the most literal way to add life to our space. We like to think of our home as a fluid environment that we rearrange to suit the season and often move furniture around to give us the best possible layout.
With so many plants to our name we found it important to define the areas that they live in so that they don’t completely take over our little house; we like to create compositions with varying heights and texture combinations to accommodate each plant’s personality and provide interesting viewpoints for us to look at.
Pots are key for us; we searched for almost a year to find the perfect home for our Calathea orbifolia and nothing seemed to sit right until we found this simple black number by Menu. It’s deep curve accentuates the round leaf shape and the plant appears to float above the ground, making our home seem more spacious and allowing the light to flow through it to reach the leaves that live on the other side.
We’ll admit that initially we used plants purely as decoration but very quickly realised that we had to learn how to look after them if we were to maintain that lush, jungle-like aesthetic. Of course all living things have basic needs and our windows provide us with a guide of where most of our leafy friends will live; the light-loving cacti and succulents all gravitate towards the window and the more sunshine-averse are happy a little deeper into the room.
Our cacti and succulents are clustered together to make a living display; we like to play with the textures of the vessels that they live in and have used various brass elements to elevate the finish from the standard terracotta pots that we began with a few years ago.
There are no hard-and-fast rules about watering them; that very much depends on the light and warmth that our home brings and it changes at different times of the year. Our advice to those wishing to bring the outside in is to do a little research first, get to know where the sun shines in your home and buy accordingly. Gardening, whether indoors or out, is always a little bit of an experiment and sometimes it doesn’t go how you thought - that’s okay and it might surprise you for the better.
Basic principles that we tend to follow:
- Watering is important. We water most of our plants when the soil is dry and only give them a small amount using a small watering can. We use rainwater that we collect in a bucket on our patio. If it hasn’t rained in a while we boil the kettle before we go to bed and use the cooled water from that to water the plants in the morning (this process removes some of the chemicals that the plants aren’t used to).
- Some plants will tell you when they’re thirsty: Peace Lily, Calathea, Frittonia and Ferns especially. They all droop and look kind of sad when they need a drink. That can be a useful tool to remind us to look at our other plants too!
- Naturally some leaves will fall, tidy them up and keep your plants neat to reduce the risk of pests and diseases. Don’t worry if some plants go brown or die - it’s a natural process and old leaves fall to make room for new growth.
- The internet is our friend. We are definitely not experts and we find ourselves seeking answers about plant identification, tips and the experiences of others on a regular basis and don’t mind admitting that we’re novices!