Jenna Holmes aka Plant Mama specialises in curating indoor jungles. Her styling ethos is to create 'thoughtful chaos' with a more is more approach. We visit Jenna at her studio in Collingwood to chat about plant care, slow living rituals and her favourite neighbourhood spots.
Hi Jenna! Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am the Creative Director of Plant Mama! The best way to describe what I do is: I build indoor plant jungles both in my city of Melbourne and in other locations throughout Australia. I used to be a Physical Education teacher, and I gave it all up to throw myself into this business, a scary risk but one that has paid off. I now cannot imagine working for anyone else but myself.
How would you describe your approach to plant styling?
‘Chaotic’ and proud of it! The more plants, the better - I say to my clients that it’s thoughtful chaos.
How important is it for you to have plants at home?
For me personally it’s crucial to be wellbeing. I grew up in Toowoomba so we had lots of space, gardens and nature all around us. When I moved to Melbourne I became incredibly overwhelmed with all the hustle and bustle, concrete buildings and lack of backyards. The slow progression of adding plants to my space really made me feel more at peace. I think a lot of people don’t really realise the impact of plants until they either add them or take them away from a space.
If you had to keep only one plant, which one would it be?
Ferns! They are incredibly difficult to master with their temperamental watering needs BUT boy do they look gorgeous when cared for. I also feel as though in a past life I was a 70s groover and these babies are 70s plant superstars.
What is your number one care tip? How do you keep your plants happy and thriving?
Three things a plant needs to survive: water, air and light. Educate yourself on the needs of your plants, and only place them in areas of the home where those requirements are met. People see ‘low light’ plant on tag and think it can go in a basement and survive, it’s all about assessing your space and where the light comes in.
Do you have a propagation tip you can share with us?
Propagation is a skill a lot of people have overlooked, it means you can create more plant life for yourself. I would start with propagating Devils Ivy as it’s the easiest and takes off the fastest. I propagate in water first and then plant when there are a few roots grown through. I also sometimes just leave them in the glasses because I think it looks cool too!
Tell us about your neighbourhood. Where are your favourite places to eat and shop?
I LOVE living in Collingwood, it’s by far the best area I have lived in yet. We have such an amazing array of coffee shops, independent stores and creative studios alike. Without fail I get my morning coffee from Melvin Coffee & Kitchen which is just a few shops up from me. Rupert on Rupert is an incredible warehouse bar filled with loads of plants and and Alimentari on Smith St has the best food treats.
Can you share with us the last thing you read, listened and watched that inspired you?
I am currently re-reading ‘The Universe Has Your Back’ by Gabrielle Berstein, it’s a really incredible book about how things don’t happen to you, they happen for you. I listen to a podcast every morning on a walk and today was Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations and the episode was called “When you know better you do better” - it’s AMAZING! And watched, well that’s where my guilty pleasure comes in and sorry there is no inspiration here haha - I love watching all The Real Housewives shows...it’s a nice switch off! ;)
What does an average weekend look like for you?
Funnily enough only in the last three months have I started to take weekends off. I pretty much have been hustling and building my business for the last two and a half years and that included working weekends. Now that I have weekends free I am just enjoying the things I missed doing when I was working weekends: having wines with friends in the park, going away for a surf, sleeping in, trying new cafes, walking friends dogs. All the important things :)