001 – Monica Fitzpatrick

Monica and her husband have recently bought their first home in (sometimes) sunny Sydney Australia. The building they’ve just moved into is aptly named “The Treehouse”, in which sits their lovely little apartment which they’ve affectionately named “Alfalfa”.

Over the last few years, the Fitzpatricks have exclusively lived in apartments and have become fairly practiced in incorporating plants into smaller spaces. On the weekend you can find them wandering around their local garden centre with a batch brew in hand, perusing aesthetically pleasing pots and interesting looking plants to add to their collection!

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Pothos (Devil’s Ivy), Ficus Lyrata (Fiddle-Leaf Fig), Calathea Lancifolia (Rattlesnake plant) and a Blue Star Fern.
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Calathea Lancifolia (Rattlesnake plant) and a Blue Star Fern.
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Pothos (Devil’s Ivy), Ficus Lyrata (Fiddle-Leaf Fig)
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“Finneas” the Fiddle-Leaf Fig.
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Calathea Lancifolia (Rattlesnake plant) and Blue Star Fern below.
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Calathea lancifolia (Rattlesnake plant)

Q&A

What common pitfalls should we avoid when using plants to style a space?

Unfortunately when it comes to styling a space with plants, the styling can’t be the main priority. First priority has to be choosing plants that will thrive in the space you’re putting them in. One major pitfall is that we choose to ignore the plant’s care label because we like the look of a certain plant in a certain spot, however that plant may not love to bathe in the full direct sunlight that appears in that certain spot in the afternoon and it’s leaves therefore turn extremely crispy. Can you tell I’m speaking from experience? 👀

What do you look for when purchasing a new plant?

The first thing that I’m looking for is a plant that will complement our space well. I usually like to get plants that are interesting and are completely different to the ones we already have whether that be size, colour or leaf shape. You can see this coming to life in our current plant space. The second thing I look for is the health of the plant. Sometimes they get neglected in the garden centre and in order to give it the greatest chance of a successful transition into your home you want to make sure it’s starting out healthy.

Can you recommend any resources that will inspire us on our plant journey??

This one’s a bit out of left field but check out Joseph Solomon’s music videos on YouTube. He uses plants to create depth and fill space in his videos and it works so well with his aesthetic and music style. You can see this in his cover of “Just the Two of Us” and many of his other videos. And bonus – you get to hear some great music while you stalk his plant space!

Your house is burning down, you can only save one plant, which one gets to make it?

“Finneas”, our fiddle leaf fig! He’s been with us the longest and he’s taken the most work to understand (if you have a fiddle leaf fig you probably know what I’m talking about!). Although, he is our tallest plant so it would be very hard and quite comical to run down the fire escape stairs with him!

How do you go about finding and selecting plant pots for your space?

It’s key to pick pots that fit well into your plant space aesthetic. We style our plant space using neutral tones with wood, rattan and cane furniture so I’m always on the lookout for white/neutral tone pots with a fun texture. The other thing to think about is the size you need and if it works for the plant you’re putting into it. If it’s too small the plant will get pot-bound quickly and will need to be repotted and if it’s too big then that can also cause all sorts of issues such as root rot. Also make sure to research for your particular plant because some of them like a smaller/larger pot than you would think. The last thing I think about is drainage, do I want a pot with a hole in the bottom or not and if I’m buying one with a plugged hole I will test it before planting – I have 1 too many water stains on my side table to make that mistake again!