Photography by Oskar Proctor
Drum roll please! Introducing a new series where we visit the homes of our lovely clients to see how they green up their gaffs. Here we meet the lovely Laura Bradley, editorial director of Dazed Media Studio, her fella, Tom “Plant Dad” Gibson, owner of Ruby's in Dalston and Florence, the cat.
If you look up from your keys, can you see any green?
Our flat is full of plants and flowers, although I can only really take credit for the latter. The plants (and their survival) are the handiwork of Tom Gibson. I call him Plant Dad. I'm pretty good with flowers – I did a bit of floristry training so I know how to arrange a good bouquet.
Tell us about your gaff.
We're very lucky to live right next to Hackney Downs, in a flat that is part of a house where the late avant-grade guitarist Derek Bailey used to live (his wife Karen still lives upstairs). I've always wanted to live in a house that had smart front steps and a window box. The lounge is my favourite room – it has a vintage French botanical wall hanging, a big cactus, and the bay window houses lots of the Plant Dad's collection. We have a garden (which is mainly used by our cat, Florence) and a balcony which is a brilliant sun trap.
What inspired you to green it up?
Having plants and flowers in the house always makes me happy. My favourite flowers are anemones, hyacinths, rococo tulips and amaranth. I dislike gerberas, gypsophila and anything poisonous for cats (lilies, iris, amaryllis); I’d really love a bonsai. I also really enjoy greening up my digital communication with plant and flower emojis.
We LOVE your crush on terracotta. Where did it come from?
A plant without a pot is just wrong. Vintage terracotta plant pots always look like they've got a story to tell.
What’s your favourite plant and how do you look after it?
Mine is a string of pearls, but it died, so I'm passing this over to Plant Dad. He loves his cheese plant – “the secret to a happy cheese plant is repotting as the plant gets bigger, and rewarding it with plant food."
Do you believe in green fingers?
Yes, Plant Dad's fingers are very green. And he makes a damn fine botanical-inspired cocktail.
What role do you believe plants play in culture?
I'm always been really inspired by plants and flowers in my work. I have written countless articles (everything from my love of samphire to the Japanese art of ikebana) and am always interested in plant and flower trends I'm really into plant photography at the moment - from classic still lifes by Irving Penn to Zoe Ghertner's modern shots of New York plant life. The Barbican conservatory is one of my favourite places in London. My dream is to visit Japan during cherry blossom season.
We’ve loved doing the Agony Plant with Another, if you could pass \ on one piece of plant advice from your experience, what would it be?
Want to keep hydrangeas longer? Cut the stem at an angle so the white inside is exposed, and place in lukewarm water mixed with a teaspoon of sugar. Change regularly and re-snip the stems. I've had ones that last up to a month.
Finally, palm or petal?
Petal for me. Palm for Plant Dad.