I received Wonder Plants 2 for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
I almost brought another plant home from the grocery store today — a darling little philodendron in a simple terracotta pot — but my basket was already weighed down with milk and tomatoes and other essentials (and non-essentials) that I’d be struggling to juggle on the bus as it was. Adding a plant to the mix seemed like a recipe for a bad end so decided to leave if (or leaf it, ha ha) for another day. And now I think it’s just as well. I’d much rather save up for a giant statement-making plant that’ll add life to the living room where we spend so much of our time. Okay maybe two giant plants. Three if I’m being honest. And for that I blame Irene Schampaert & Judith Baehner. The pair wrote the book (well books) on living large with plants in Wonder Plants and Wonder Plants 2: Your Urban Jungle Interior and the 20 stunning green interiors and plant care tips inside have me dreaming of something similar at home. We looked at Wonder Plants in 2017; here today is peek inside Wonder Plants 2.
This is plant love on a large scale; each of the spaces from Los Angeles, CA to Chau Doc, Vietnam with their own distinct design point of view. Some are bold and bright, others spare and hushed, still others some pleasing mix of the two.
The most jungle-y of the urban jungles might be the Baltimore home of filmmaker/producer/interior decorator/plant specialist, Hilton Carter, who tends to the nearly 150 plants in his light-filled loft with a mix of TLC (even setting an alarm to know when to water which plants) and gut instinct.
“I see a plant in the house as a design element … especially with bigger specimens, you can set the tone and make a room even more warm and inviting. But place a Ficus lyrata (fiddle-leaf fig) between a Monstera deliciosa (swiss cheese plant) and a Strelitzia (bird of paradise), for instance, and you can see something almost magical happen. That process of discovering and unravelling is something that I thoroughly enjoy spending time on.” — Hilton Carter
Carter’s test-tube wall of cuttings serves a practical purpose in an eye-catching design.
Greenery in the Antwerp, Belgium home of engineer and architect Anouk Taeymans pops in the bright, white space.
“More and more clients ask for a greener interior,” Taeymans says. “I take the time to find out which plants you can maintain relatively easy with little care and which types purify the air.”
One of my favourite features of Wonder Plants 2 (that’s also in Wonder Plants) is the guide to all of the plants in each interior, found at the back of book. The pictures are repeated with each plant numbered and identified, which you can then reference again in the plant care index at the end. I learned that the tallest plant on the right in the photo above — the Clusia rosea (aka the autograph tree or pitch apple) — is exceptional for air purifying, can be placed in partial shade, and is a reasonably robust plant. (i.e. so maybe I wouldn’t kill it?) I just wish the book also indicated which plants are toxic to pets. So many of the larger ones I’ve asked about at a local florist seem to be potentially harmful for our cat. 😿
A new build in Avare, Brazil offers a unique indoor garden and patio for its future occupants. The concrete grid pergola draws natural light into the house and provides ample light for the tropical plants.
And in our last look at the book, a wall of plants in the Paris home of art director Jean-Marc Dimanche reads like a towering, vertical jungle.
“Over the years, the plants have taken over the initiative and some versions have ‘devoured’ others. The current situation has strayed strongly from the plant chart [the designer] Patrick had envisioned: it is almost as if nature practiced free expression here.” — Jean-Marc Dimanche
I could pore over Wonder Plants 2 for hours examining the attention to detail in each of the interiors, not only in the choice of plants but in the lighting, materials and decor. It’s fascinating to see the myriad ways people use their space — as an urban jungle, a creative expression, and a reflection of their surroundings and culture. The use of plants in these interiors is so integrated, so harmonious, so necessary. It’s almost as if the homes sprouted up among the plants instead of the other way around. If you’re looking to build an urban jungle of your own or just love plants, Wonder Plants 2 is great book for inspiration and information, both for decorating with plants and for taking care of them.
Maybe I do need that darling philodendron after all.
Thanks to Lannoo Publishers, I’ve got a copy of Wonder Plants 2 to give away! To enter to win it, tell me something about how you use plants in your decor at home and what kind of plants they are. (You don’t have to name them all, just a couple will do. This entry is mandatory.)
And feel free to tweet the following once per day and leave the url for your tweet in the comments below (one entry per tweet). Make sure you’re following try small things and on Twitter for your entry to count.
Stunning green decor inspo from around the world + plant care tips // #Win Wonder Plants 2: Your Urban Jungle Interior from @trysmallthings https://wp.me/p4xBed-7ve CAN 9/12 #wonderplants2
The contest is open to Canadian (excluding Quebec) residents 18+ and ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on September 12, 2019. The potential winner (chosen at random) must respond to prize notification within 48 hours and provide the correct answer to a skill-testing question, otherwise another winner will be selected.
Photos from Wonder Plants 2 used here with permission from the publisher. Photos 2 and 3 © Hilton Carter; photo 4 © Jan Verlinde; photo 5 © Pedro Kok; photo 6 © Birgitta Wolfgang / Sisters Agency. Cover: © Hilton Carter.