Words by Jessica Peace
‘I paint flowers so they will not die’, Frida Kahlo - well that’s one way of not killin’em. Kahlo, you wore’em, painted’em, cultivated’em and ramped up their symbolism - you are a true G&T Plant Hero.
PLANTS ON CANVAS
In ‘Portrait of Luther Burbank’ (1931), Kahlo immortalises horticulturalist and grub growing pioneer Luther Burbank; roots wrap and cling to Burbank’s skeleton while his living body stands alive as the trunk, his arms the branches clasping the leaves. The piece displays the cyclical element of life - we come from the earth, we go back in. It also shows Kahlo’s admiration for Burbank, as someone who understood and cultivated the land.
In ‘Two Nudes in the Forest’ (1939), the female lovers rest amongst alocasia, sansevieria, and philodendron plants, a lover’s foot rests with the roots; again Kahlo connects human life with the earth, the lovers entwined like the roots.
Like your phallic symbolism screaming at you like a mandrake? Well get a load of Kahlo’s, ‘Flower of Life’ (1943), you don’t have to squint too hard to find lady gardens and a big gent’s garden with a working fountain...
KAHLO IN THE GARDEN
Kahlo had two gardens, one at ‘La Casa Azul’ and one at her husband Diego Rivera’s pad.
It’s at Rivera's gaff where there stands a wall of Mexican fencepost cacti (it’s sooo f’ing good) but it’s from La Casa Azul where Kahlo cultivated many of the plants she plonked in her paintings and plucked for her barnet.
However, while Kahlo was having her way with Leon Trotsky many a cactus was planted; Trotsky was a massive cacti head and would woo her with big ones he’d dug up and driven back in Rivera’s boot.
GROW LIKE KAHLO
So, we found the cacti wall a little tricky in blighty but it hasn’t stopped us lining them up shoulder to shoulder on our window sills, mantle pieces and balconies in homage to Kahlo. However, we feel VERY Kahlo with our PHILODENDRON…
HOW NOT TO KILL IT
Get draping this across your wall like La Casa Azul; let it go binge drinking once a week and dry out inbetween; think ‘mood lighting’ (think Kahlo and Diego, Trotsky…) they don’t like it bright and ramp up that humidity.
She wore them better than we do stumblin’ around in our wellies, beer in hand but we can still try… Get your secateurs out now to get your roses and fuschia on Kahlo style.
G&T FLOWER WEARING TIP - when you are going ‘Kahlo’, if you pop your blooms in some water and leave them in the fridge overnight they will last longer in your barnet. You’re welcome.
Kahlo, we salute you.