Forget partners, think plants—what’s your perfect match?

by Inga Yandell

The inescapable climbing concrete jungle we now live in is a reality that some city dwellers refuse to embrace without a little greenery. Though we may have to live amongst man-made structures there is nothing in the agreement that stipulates no nature, and an increasing number of people have come to view plants as a good green compromise. Author, model and presenter Summer Rayne Oakes is a botanical boffin with a skill for nurturing plants in urban spaces. Her city abode is a living interior of flora and fronds so effervescent as to attract full page spreads in lifestyle magazines. Who better to instruct a course in plant mastery?

Summer Rayne has launched her first kickstarter campaign to help hapless horticulturalists get better acquainted with their house plants. How to Make a Plant Love You is an online audio-visual workshop and experience to help you demystify plant care and learn how to have a relationship with your plants. Forget partners, think plants—what’s your perfect match?

What exactly is a plant master class?

My vision behind How to Make a Plant Love You: Houseplant Masterclass is to create an online-audiovisual course + experience to help people demystify plant care, learn how to have a better relationship with their plants, and guide people to create the indoor jungle of their dreams.

What are the hardest horticultural habits to master?

Caring for plants is highly achievable; I believe there is a plant for everyone at some point in their lives. The biggest hurdle is learning how to listen to your plant’s needs. They clearly don’t bark or meow to get your attention, as our beloved pets do, so you have to observe their day-to-day signs. What I’m aiming to achieve with the Houseplant Masterclass is to help people “think more like a plant”. When you do that, you don’t have to memorize what yellow leaves mean vs. brown tips, for instance; instead, you’ll have a keen sense as to what’s going on with the plant so you can intuit yourself.

Why are plants a smart choice for busy people living in tiny spaces?

Plants immediately make a home far more inviting. When my roommate had moved out of my apartment years ago, the house was rather cold. The first thing I did was get a sizable Ficus lyrata, or fiddle leaf fig, and it immediately changed the nature of the space. Since that time, I’ve filled my home with around 700 plants—it’s a veritable oasis! I invite people in for meditations or tours, or just to hang out, and it really creates an idyllic atmosphere—even in the middle of the big city!

Are plants like pets, is there a perfect match for different personalities?

I think you have to triangulate to answer this question. One of the first questions I always ask people is what kind or quality of light they have in their homes. Plants eat light through their leaves, so they need it to operate, grow and reproduce. That’s one of the most limiting factors. Then I often ask what kind of “plant parent” or “caretaker” the person is so that he or she can come to a conclusion as to the best plant for them!

What are some of the more imaginative ways to integrate plants into a home or office?

I look at any type of container and think, “hmmmm, that would be a great plant pot!” There’s just a range of ways you can display plants in all creative ways—in colanders, in mason jars, etc. I think in home or office, bringing in Tillandsia, or air plants; or perhaps a small terrarium can be a real statement piece.

Support the Campaign @ How to Make a Plant Love You!

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Inga Yandell
Explorer and photo-journalist, passionate about nature, culture and travel. Combining science and conservation with investigative journalism to provide educational resources and a platform for science exploration.
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