Hello!

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.

The Two of Us | Jason Chongue + Nathan Smith

The Two of Us | Jason Chongue + Nathan Smith

Jason Chongue and Nathan Smith are partners in life and work. Together they run The Plant Society, a plant community for people to come together or, as they like to call it, a 'plant social network.' The couple's passion lies in providing a supportive network for gardeners of all levels - a space where growers and plant enthusiasts can come to talk about plant-care tips, growing challenges and build awareness about gardening in small spaces. In short, The Plant Society is ridiculously unique and equally inspiring. We caught up with the duo to find out more about their passion for all things green and how they nurture their work versus private relationship.

Hi Jason and Nathan, tell us about when and how you first met? Jason: We met a few years ago and were actually friends before dating. When we first met each other 8 years ago, we were in different stages of our lives and it wasn’t until 3 years ago that we reconnected again.

 A snapshot from Jason and Nathan's home where they have over 400 plants.

A snapshot from Jason and Nathan's home where they have over 400 plants.

How did the idea to launch The Plant Society together first come about? Jason: The Plant Society was born from our passion for indoor greenery. We launched with a curated plant event that incorporated plant sales as well as an approachable social hub for new plant enthusiasts to ask questions about indoor gardening. As we were both working full time, as an architect and international flight attendant, the only way to give it a good go was to work on it together. One thing led to another and now we have our permanent location in Collingwood.

The Plant Society gives your audience a chance to have conversations about gardening and greenery - how important has building this community been for you? Nathan: The Plant Society was born from a passion for design and plants, but also to create a plant community, or as we like to call it, a ‘plant social network’. It was important for us to build a community around greenery to reflect on what garden clubs offered in the past.

“We were inspired by the idea of the old corner shop where we could walk in to simply talk to the owners - this way we could motivate open conversations and pass on knowledge between all on gardening.”
TPS D3 101.jpg

We’ve read you have over 400 plants in your own home… how did the collection grow so large and how do you manage to look after them all so well?! Nathan: We began collecting a few plants, as it was a way for Jason, to relax before and after work. The collection kept growing and still remains therapeutic. Friends would give us cuttings to grow and over time the collection has just kept increasing! We tie plant maintenance in our home with our lifestyles. That means watering throughout the week usually whilst having breakfast. During the warmer months we do a big refresh to give the plants an extra boost.

TPS D4 025.jpg

What are you most passionate about? Jason: We’re passionate about bringing more live greenery into our world. That means more interiors, both public and private, bursting with foliage.

In your opinion, what do plants give to a home? Jason: So much! Aesthetically they soften our man made spaces and bring life into each surface of your home. Psychologically the act of gardening helps to relax and slow us down, making us appreciate the smaller moments in our lives.

TPS D4 618.jpg

How do you switch off from work? Is it hard to seperate work life from your private life as a couple and not take work home? Jason: It’s not always easy to separate work from our private lives but we try hard to make sure our work and personal lives are kept separate. 

“Setting boundaries has been extremely important in keeping us focused on our work whilst also ensuring we have downtime with each other, our family and our friends.”
 Jason and Nathan, from   The Plant Society   describe caring for their plants as a therapeutic way to slow down and really relax. 

Jason and Nathan, from The Plant Society describe caring for their plants as a therapeutic way to slow down and really relax. 

Jason - what’s Nathan’s greatest strength? Definitely he’s undying support that is a result of his immense kind-heartedness. 

Nathan - what do you admire most about Jason? It’s always nice to witness Jason's passion to motivate the people around him.

 Jason Chongue outside his Melbourne home.

Jason Chongue outside his Melbourne home.

What are you loving at the moment? Holidays, Supernormal, Coffee (with the early starts), Bendigo, and the wonderful warmer weather.

What are you looking forward to in 2018? We have so many exciting things coming in 2018 - we’re looking forward to growing our team and also seeing each of them grow too.

   The Plant Society   store in Collingwood.

The Plant Society store in Collingwood.

Thank you Jason + Nathan! | The Plant Society | @theplantsocietyau

The Edit | 5 Rugs

The Edit | 5 Rugs

In Focus | The Bower Byron Bay

In Focus | The Bower Byron Bay