We love plants. We're not quiet about it. We tuck them anywhere we can in our stores; care for them, talk to them, name them. They are like having little friends that help calm you when you need a deep breath and some extra O2.
We are lucky to have a partner in plants in Victoria. Sarah from Botanic Creative keeps our shops full of greenery and fresh air. Her plant babies are a great source of calm for our staff and anyone who enters our space. We caught up with her to chat about connecting with your natural surroundings and keeping your holiday decor sustainable.
Sarah has been a lover of plants for a very long time. Growing up helping in her Mother's flower shop instilled in her an innate connection to nature. She feels at home immersed in leaves, stems, dirt, and clean air. Her favourite way to connect to nature is to surround herself with it.
"Whether that is in the forest, sitting among beach grass, or nurturing the plants in my home and garden. When I share space with nature I often try to tap into all the senses and pay attention to how it reflects the current season."
Sarah encourages everyone to find a way to have some form of connection with the flora around them. The easiest approach? Invite nature in.
"Whether that be into your home in the form of a houseplant or greenwall, onto your patio as a pot of herbs, a small garden, or a weekly venture out on a hike or into an urban park. Start small and gradually expand your collection. Notice how the season affects the natural world and how YOU affect the natural world. "
We like that. Simple, basic, not too much to take on. Immediately filling your house with exotic plants and trees to create a greenhouse might not be the best idea when you have never been able to keep a Spider plant alive. Go with options that aren't too fussy. Sarah recommends the Snake plant, (Sansevaria), ZZ plant (Zamioculcas), or Zebra plant (Hawarthia) for beginners. They won't turn against you quickly if you neglect to water them for a few weeks, or forget them in a dark corner. Don't leave them too long though!
With Botanic Creative, Sarah hopes to educate people on biophilic design through her greenspace installations, floral design and botanical workshops. She wants everyone to enjoy nurturing environments that can foster their own long-term connection to plant life.
"For me, feeling connected to nature is largely a tactile experience. I attempt to make space and opportunities for people to touch, use, and play with nature. This way, people get to experience something they may have never done before (like create Kokedama or a table centerpiece), ask questions, and ultimately feel a sense of connection to the natural elements they are using. Plus, they get to go home with something they have created or learned!"
We are excited for Sarah to lend her passion to her upcoming Wreath Workshop we will be hosting in our Victoria store on December 10th. With the holidays approaching, we'd all like to get festive while keeping our impact to a minimum. No plastic, nothing with a one-time use, and a focus on biodegradable materials.
In lieu of a metal or plastic wreath base, Sarah sources local grapevine and willow, and even driftwood to give the wreath shape. If you're making it yourself, take a walk and look for windfall (branches that have fallen due to high winds). Sarah even likes to take her snippers and seek out invasive species like holly (Illex aquifolium) and teasel (Dipsacus follonim) to use as accents. (She cautions you to please dispose of them responsibly!)
To adorn your creation, "...collect berries, cones, curly twigs, moss, rosemary, and lichens instead of purchasing decor. Cinnamon sticks, star anise seeds, and dried oranges make lovely fragrant additions."
Take your decor a step further and instead of cutting down a tree, opt for a live Christmas tree that can live inside your house for the month of December, and then spend the rest of the year outside. Let Sarah teach you how to care for your live tree here.
We imagine that there are many, many things that Sarah could say are her favourite things about plants. When we asked her to share with us something surprising or interesting about plants, we loved that her answer showed how deeply connected she is to plants and their care.
"Plants have language! I call it leaf language. By reading the leaves of your plant, you can discern and diagnose problems relating to soil health, moisture levels, nutrient deficiencies, pests, and disease." (Learn more about leaf language from Sarah here)
She truly is the plant whisperer.
We look forward to seeing Sarah in action very soon. Join us at SALT Victoria on December 10th from 7pm-9pm for her sustainable Wreath Workshop. Space is limited. Get your tickets here!