I Am Planteka: Stories of Love with Plants
At Planteka, we envision urban spaces that are greener, purer and more joyful, by bringing community sharing. I Am Planteka is our attempt to share stories of plant lovers around the world, to inspire people to bring more green to their homes and surroundings.
Izzy: I’m an Arts Psychotherapist, art workshop leader and artist. I am passionate about using art to help people grow. I work from home a lot, and it's important for me to have lots of plants in my apartment. Though I’m not the best house plant mum (my partner does most of the watering), I do love drawing them! It's a great way to spend some time with nature when you can’t get outside.
I was lucky enough to spend my childhood in the countryside in North Yorkshire, England. It's a very green place, and we lived next to a forest. However it wasn't until I started travelling in my van in 2018 that I realised how much I need plants in my life. They gave me a sense of peace and familiarity when I was on the move. Whenever I could I would park up in a forest, it helped me feel at home. I’m always calmer and more in tune with myself when I’m surrounded by plants. I started painting them more and more during this time, to explore this connection between mental health and nature. Now I use them as inspiration in most of my art and workshops.
My first memories of plants are of growing fruits and vegetables with my father. He taught me which season to plant them in, how often to water them, how much sunlight they needed. My mother and I would then pick the fruits together - blackcurrants, raspberries, plumbs. He’s in his 70s now, but my father still spends most of his time in his garden, rain or shine!
Everywhere I have lived and everywhere I have gone, I have always had plants. Now that I am more into plants, since I work with plants (as a garden consultant), I realise that I have always been surrounded by plants. Something I never really thought of in the past, but plants have always been part of my life.
Obviously now I know more about them, and I am happy. Because sometimes they used to die and I now know better how to help them live.
It is almost like a museum here I have at home, with these plants. :’)
Every plant is different and it’s amazing. Just to look at the leaves, the shape, the feeling of the leaves, the variation. I could spend hours looking at leaves. I like plants with big leaves. Small leaves like ferns are interesting as well. :)
The rabbit foot fern: Some people really find it weird, because of their legs. A friend of mine said, but that’s horrible because it looks like a spider. To me, they are so cute. I love ferns. It’s just difficult to have them here in Barcelona. It’s so dry.
Brighamia Palm: It’s a plant that is extinct in the wild. It’s originally from Hawaii. All these scars are from fallen leaves and it grows quite big. I find it’s a really cute one.
That’s my latest acquisition. I can’t help it. I have never had something which is extinct in the wild.
Pilea: This is a funny plant. It’s alike an alien or something. Like saucers. I just look at it and it makes me laugh. The shape of it, it’s all over the place.
Each plant has its own personality. Some make you laugh. Other plants give you more peace, calm. Healthy leaves make you feel really energised. So, it’s good. The more green you have around you, the better. Especially in this urban environment we live in, it is important to bring green indoors.
We can create really nice spaces indoors, in a corner, on a table. I think you don’t need to have a big garden or big jungle, if you don’t have the time or space for it, you can still bring some green into your life. It's very important. :)
Mireia helps you set up a beautiful garden, based on your space and lighting; she provides consulting services online and sets up the garden if you are around Barcelona. You can write to her here.
Valerie: "My love for the plants started from my birthplace, because I was born in a small village in Mexico called Cuernavaca. We describe it as a place of “la eterna primavera” - the eternity of springtime.
Since it’s a place where the temperature is always the same, we have a lot of tropical plants like bougainvillea, mangoes, bananas, lemons. It’s amazing because all the gardens there are with a lot of plants and flowers. My grandma (mother’s mother) is from Cordoba, and she loves plants too. The people from Cordoba have a lot of plants in their patio, on the walls.
While my dad was from Belgium and he loved plants too. He would buy plants and we would plant them together. When my brother was born, he planted a lemon seed and it has grown to be a big tree now and is 38 years old, as old as my brother. It’s an incredible feeling, no? A tree planted by my father to mark the birth of my brother.
My love for succulents started 12 years ago when I was living in Almeria. It started with this cutting f the Aeonium arboreum plant, that I received from my neighbour 12 years ago. It rooted super quickly. After that as you can see, it is almost a tree now. I have moved 4 times ever since, and it has always accompanied me.
Lophophora Williamsii or Peyote is a cactus that I love. It has these seeds as you can see. In the north of Mexico, it is used for psychoactive trips. It is a plant, used in many rituals in our culture. This one has been with me for 11 years and it has a baby here. I like to propagate them with the seeds from their flowers.
It has been 5 years since I moved here, to Barcelona. I have the terrace of good size, but I have these big walls around. I started thinking how to put plants vertically, on the wall. And I thought of succulents. Succulents are plants that don’t need big pots as they have small roots, not all, but some of them. Then I started making succulent cuadros. And I love it. Because it is a “living art”, the art that changes with climate, with temperature and they also change colours based on these. And they grow towards the light. It tells a story
It gives so much peace to watch them live and grow daily, on these “cuadros”(squares)."
Val uses a lot of recycled materials as well to grow these living art. Her succulent cuadros are available here. :)
Unai: My first experience with clay was in my favourite class in school: workshop. Then a summer workshop with friends, then an annual course in my sister’s company, another year, then another and I was hooked already. After doing Fine Arts in Bilbao, I came to Barcelona to study artistic ceramics at the Escola Llotja, and after 7 years of working in the Sot Ceramics Workshop, I decided that I wanted to start working on my own.
For me, ceramics is a way of relating to the world and to myself. It is a way to learn, relate, express yourself and share. I take as it comes, transform it to give it a continuity and meaning. What I most enjoy is in those fleeting moments, when the world stops and there is only presence. You, the mud and what happens from that. It is a flow between the abstract and the real, which is full of meaning.
Each piece that I make is unique, and they all have something to tell. Some works are practical and functional, trying to flow between daily acts, but I try to make each piece a stimulating aesthetic experience.
Design is a process of coming and returning. Each element is a legacy of everything that is and a desire for everything that is possible. My job here is to search for the lucky encounter in this relationship. I work based on what I know and with an approximate purpose, but then it is the same process that guides me in each step. Each finished piece is a circle that closes and can no longer be altered, but opens another circle that arises from the previous one as a familiar reflection, but expressing its own particularity.
As for my favourite plants, I like the fresh texture of the moss, the shapes of the ferns, the dry smell of the pine, the meatiness of a cactus or the sensation of walking inside a forest. I love them all! They are not only the oxygen we breathe, the food that sustains us, the clothes we wear, the paper we write and read on ... but also they are simply beautiful! The city is an artifice that separates us from the natural environments and having plants in our houses brings us closer to that relationship and reminds us that we are but part of a whole.
You can find Unai's beautiful ceramic works as poetic as his words here. :)
Andrea: "I have to confess that I became "crazy about plants”, since two years. It coincided with me starting my life in Barcelona, Spain when I came here to do my Master’s. After graduating in Venezuela, my personal and professional growth was stalled by the unfortunate situation that currently continues in my country.
When I moved to Barcelona for the first time, I had the opportunity to live on my own, well, sharing a flat. But, without my parents, and that was the trigger.
In Caracas (Venezuela’s capital), I lived in a house that had a mango tree and an avocado tree in the patio. ?? Not that my house was special; it is completely normal to see these trees there. Greenery overflows everywhere; it is a tropical country.
One day walking through the plant section in IKEA, I saw a Phalaenopsis Orchid. Orchids are the national flower of Venezuela and with it everything began.
The collection kept on increasing and here in Barcelona, due to different circumstances, I have had to move several times, but wherever my plants are, my home will always be.
In fact there are many plants that connect me with places and my loved ones. African Violets remind me of my grandmother, Alocasia Polly of my mother and Orchids to Venezuela.
Gisela: Plants are a way to re-connect with self, in these times.
I started with the world of plants after spending a very complex personal time. And for me they were therapy, it was a way to start getting out of there. I work with people who have addiction issues and borderline situations. I always tell them that the best therapy sometimes is to find what fills us internally.
I'm passionate about calatheas, discovering them by chance, my grandmother had one and just seeing it I thought it was aesthetically a show. And from here I started to research and see that there are so many varieties of them. Calatheas and Marantáceas are my favorites. And I have ten of them.
Sandra: I have always loved plants, but this story really started when I decided to grow an avocado plant from scratch.
I took a seed, four toothpicks and put it on top of a glass jar with some water and hoped for the best.
This whole process made me feel like a submission for a science project back in school :) It was not until three weeks after that I saw some tiny little roots coming out and it was so rewarding and exciting that this whole process basically happened overnight that I even screamed a little when I found out.
I continuously spammed my friends with daily avocado plant updates on all social media platforms and some even said I inspired them and converted them into happy avo plant owners themselves :)
A few months fast forward, I have now altogether 11 small avocado plants thriving at their best in my living room.
The Blind Florist
Noé: Plants just don't care!
My love for plants is probably the only thing I inherited from my family. We are all from the countryside and we share a big love for nature and animals.
When I came out as a trans lad I faced so much hate, not necessarily from the people surrounding me but from society itself.
Sharing my love for nature and working with my hands made me feel so much happiness, relieve my stress and beat up my depression.
I ended studying to be a florist, for the flowers, for the plants and to share all the things that brings me joy.
Find his beautiful art work here.
I have always loved plants and nature. However, the real reason for my current obsession is that they have been comforting to me since my father was diagnosed with cancer. They are my therapy to free my mind. I am encouraged to see them progress, despite what happens in the world. Ultimately they bring me peace.
I love succulents; their ability to create a new plant from just a single leaf continues to excite me. The incessant want to live on!!!
My favourite without a doubt is the kalanchoe tomentosa chocolate soldier. Its chocolate-colored velvet sheets make it feel more like an animal than a plant. Incredible!"
Kiko: I live in Madrid and work in the world of media communication. I am passionate about plants and I love to learn what people have to share on social network and also to share my own experiences. Combining these two passions, @plantadictos was born.
I think plants have a way to relax us. When you live in a city like Madrid, it is difficult to find moments when you feel close to nature, to earth and to our own origins. Plants are a way to root ourselves to our most earthly side.
My favourite plants: I never know what to answer. Sometimes I say that it is the Monstera Deliciosa, for its aesthetic beauty and its ability to grow without limits, but I adore my Ficus Lyrata (Fiddle Leaf Fig) and Ficus Elastica. The first plant that I had was an Aloe Vera and I am always amazed by its therapeutic properties for the skin.
I sorta always grew up around plants in a way. I spent a lot of time in the woods, hiking and camping and helping my mom with her garden when I was younger. It wasn’t until I moved away from my home country and had more time and fewer friends that my interest grew (some pun intended). Plants in Barcelona were just more readily available than in the States.
From the first Aloe, I knew it was gonna become my own obsession. I love organizing, and watching things grow, and getting my hands dirty. I love the surprise of random new growth and colorful flowers.
And I LOVE propagating and sharing with friends. That might be my favorite of all.
Growing something from a little cutting is still so strange for me and I love knowing that there is an inherent connection with a friend or acquaintance when you share a baby cutting from a mother you still have”.
Life without plants is unthinkable for me because they turn my home into a source of energy. I like to retreat there, to let my creativity run free and recharge my batteries. The green of the plants creates a place of relaxation for me and incidentally, they clean the air in my room too. ;)
My favourites are #epipremnum #zamioculcaszamiifolia #sansevieria
PLANTS are simply good for the body & soul. The more the plants in life, the happier you are. :)
If you would like to support the Planteka Community and help us bring more of them to you, you can help by dontaint at Buy Me a Coffee :)
Would you like to share your story of love with plants? Write to us here and we will get in touch! I AM PLANTEKA