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Welcome to My Design Alley. A design blog celebrating design in many forms - from interior spaces to new products, stores and interviews with designers both local and from around the world.

In Focus | Plant Society

In Focus | Plant Society

Melbourne-based architect, interior designer and plant cultivator, Jason Chongue is passionate about design and has an innate love of cultivating indoor greenery. In 2016, he launched The Plant Society, along with his partner Nathan Smith. The pair promote positive and open conversations about gardening and greenery - an online forum to assist with all things green. Jason has just released his first book, Plant Society - a manual which covers everything you need to know to turn your home into an urban oasis.

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Hi Jason, tell us about the journey to publishing your new book Plant Society, how did it come about? I woke up in NYC, whilst on holiday, to my phone being flooded by Instagram notifications. We had been mentioned in a Design Sponge article and it drew everyone to our account. I then went to check our emails and there was one from Melissa Kayser from Hardie Grant; it was such an amazing moment. This started conversations around creating my first book, we spoke about what it could be and then I began detailing a book that would encapsulate myself – a book that would almost begin combining my passion for indoor gardening, interiors as architecture.

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Where's the best place to start for those who would like to transform an urban interior to include plants for scratch? The best place to start is with plants I call ‘ice breaker’ plants. These are ones that are easy to grow. Plants such as Fruit Salad Plant (Monstera delicisosa), Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) and Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureum) are great starter plants if you aren’t confident with indoor gardening. Alternatively try growing plants for cuttings from friends, family and your local community.

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What's your biggest tip for taking care of indoor plants? Always choose the right plant for your space. Observe the natural lighting in your home and collect plants that would be best suitable in that condition.

“I like to compare an urban space with a similar scenario in the natural environment to help decide what plants to use.”
 
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What’s your main focus for The Plant Society social network online? The Plant Society was launched to make gardening more approachable to all ages. We provide plant support for all levels of plant enthusiasts whilst also offering a range unusual and rare plants less commonly used indoors.

“Our main focus is to create conversations around greenery - whether it’s in our shop, at events or online, we aim to celebrate all things green and in doing so celebrate the people who contribute.”

If you had to pick, what would be your favourite indoor plant? This is a difficult one when you have over 400 plants in your house! If I could only have one plant (this would be an odd scenario) it would be a Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureum). It’s extremely adaptable to a range of lighting conditions and can be styled to grow upright or drape off surfaces.

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What are you loving at the moment? Rustic farmhouse timbers, rattan, Dreamscapes by Claire Takacs, dark emerald green and slowing down and laughing with our neighbours.

What’s in store for you for the rest of this year? We’ve got some exciting things planned to take us into the new year! We’re collaborating on some special projects with Modern Times and Crumpler. We’ll also be traveling to Sydney and Adelaide for some plant events and pop up stores.

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Thank you Jason! | The Plant Society | @jasonchongue

+ All imagery sourced from Plant Society by Jason Chongue, published by Hardie Grant Books - available in stores nationally. Photography by Armelle Habib.

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