Previously seen more as a pleasant pastime for pensioners than a hip home accessory, houseplants have confidently taken root in contemporary interiors. Few cool interiors are bereft of greenery. Where before there were clean lines and cool spaces, now plant pots abound, spilling forth their leafy goodness, adding warmth and homeliness wherever they grow. I’m sold.
Yet until recently my home has been sadly lacking in plant adornment. It was not always thus. In my youth, in an effort to take the edge off disappointing rental interiors, I experimented with houseplants of varying species. All met with a tragically premature demise. In more recent years I have tried my hand at gardening. Suffice to say, outdoors, I did not excel either.
I’m not alone in suffering this ineptitude. It’s sufficiently common to have gained its own term of art. “Black thumb” is defined in the urban dictionary as “a wannabe gardener who kills plants”. That sums me up rather succinctly. I accepted that cultivating healthy plants was an ability I simply did not have and effectively gave up any aspiration of being a successful gardener.
However with the trend for jungle interiors showing no sign of abating, and a sense of something missing the only thing growing round our place, I recently resolved to get with it on the green front.
My initial strategy was to take the foolproof approach and fake it. Faux plants have rebranded and shrugged off the naff plasticky vibe of yesteryear. Quality options mean that even the most folliagely challenged among us need not to suffer plantlessness. I posted last week about some lovely faux ferns from Mia Fleur who also stock a fab range of other artificial options. Rockett St George hosts an impressive selection too.
Although this approach provided instant gratification, it has not proved a complete solution. Good quality faux plants aren’t cheap for one thing. But also, I feared that by faking, I might be missing out on the benefits of keeping real live houseplants in my home. Urban Jungle Bloggers in sharing their love of plants have encouraged an online green community to flourish and inspired bloggers and readers to bring more green into their homes. They opine that plants make our lives better, healthier and more beautiful. It’s hard to argue with that.
Feeling inspired myself, I prepared to welcome some green buddies (as the UJ peeps describe them) into my home. Not feeling optimistic about their chances of long term survival however, I decided to think of these specimens as equivalent to a bunch of cut flowers; I would accept that their life span was limited, I would try to maximise it, and if they died after a few weeks I would not consider it a failure, but simply replace them. The plants would add loveliness to my home but even with a short life span would still beat flowers on value for money. Not an approach recommended by Urban Jungle Bloggers I grant you but, understand, my previous for serial plant murdering had affected my confidence.
So I returned from an Ikea trip armed with a couple of healthy, thriving specimens. I made them look lovely in some shiny vintage brass pots bought specially from e-bay. I basked in their vibrant green allure and waited for the inevitable decline.
Low and behold. Readers, several months down the line, I have not one but two survivors.
Perhaps it’s akin to that phenomenon when couples who’ve tried multiple cycles of IVF with no success finally decide to give up their dream of becoming parents, only to find that they get pregnant naturally. By embarking on my green mission with no expectation of success, I appear to have cracked it. Enboldened, I’m planning a trip to the garden centre. Perhaps my home can be an urban jungle yet.
It is only right I disclose however, that my recent efforts in cultivation have not been an unmitigated success.
Have you managed to overcome plant killing tendencies to become a fully fledged urban jungle-ite? Please share your tips.