Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Fashion a House of Plants

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Fashion a House of Plants

Article excerpt

ack in 1982 I started working in a city centre plant shop.

BI was enchanted by the weekly arrivals of houseplants, then as now, primarily grown in Holland.

A huge truck would pull up outside and I'd unload trolleys of ferns, rubber plants, Swiss cheese plants, yuccas and orchids - all the species that are seeing a resurgence in this new millennium.

A local woman grew cacti and succulents for the store. Trays of lithops (living stones) were unloaded from her car. And each Friday payday I'd purchase massive ferns and exoticlooking banana plants and wrestle them home on the bus back to my flat.

That soon ended up looking like a botanic garden... I drilled holes into the ceiling and tied ropes over the rafters. Over the bed I suspended bowls of plantations, and then I started on bottle gardens and terrariums. Demijohns - bulbous narrownecked bottles capable of brewing three gallons of home brew - were purchased and converted into mini greenhouses. Compost and bits of charcoal were funnelled into the space, tiny plants were squeezed through the opening and spoons and forks were commandeered from the kitchen, taped to lengths of bamboo and used to plant up the landscape.

Watering was by means of a mister, always calculating just the right amount to create a moist environment, but one which wasn't so wet that roots would be drowned or fungal disease could thrive.

I'd sell these in the shop and at markets, once attracting the attention of Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics. He sensibly passed on a purchase figuring it would be difficult to haul it around the band's European concert dates!

And now it's all back! A few years ago I visited a shop called Green Fingers in Nolita, New York, run by Japanese plant artist and creative director Satoshi Kawamoto. It was full of the young and the beautiful cooing over pot plants! I couldn't believe it. …

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