A recent installation we had the pleasure of tackling was an interior plantscape, including a vertical garden. This was, in part, another design put together by Patrick Lannan of Flora Grubb Gardens, at the SF SoMa offices of the notable tech company Oculus VR. It was an exciting and dynamic space to be putting in some plants!
Patrick’s plant concept was for some interesting houseplants and some hanging and vertical elements. The houseplants are some less-typical versions of some tried-and-true standards, all placed in large, colorful glazed pots.
We did the floor plants in cachepots, meaning none of the plants are actually potted into the glazed pots. From the ground up, we have Protecto Mats (cork mats that protect floors from scuffing, allow the pots to be slid around more easily, and help absorb any moisture from condensation), and then the glazed pot. Inside the pot are a stack of empty plastic gallon pots to elevate the plant. The saucer goes on top of that with the plant inside the saucer. We used something called a Pot Collar to wedge the plant into the right position (it looks like a four-foot-long foam French fry), and then topped everything off with Mexican beach pebbles.
Besides the cachepots, there were hanging and vertical elements. Patrick’s design required a collaboration of several individuals to see the whole project through. Zenaida Sengo (merchandiser at Flora Grubb Gardens and author of the new air plant book, Air Plants: The Curious World of Tillandsias) made some macramé hangers out of climbing rope, since she’s an avid rock climber. The hangers hold orange pots planted with rattail cactus (Aporocactus flagelliformis). These plants are hanging under the skylights of the old brick building, and have nice bright light to make them thrive. Brighter than it appears in the photos, actually.
We also installed, in three different spots, rows of air plants mounted on Flora Grubb’s own Thigmotrope Satellites.
The coup de grace, though, is a vertical succulent garden in the conference room, flanked by two more rows of air plants on Thigmotrope Satellites. Another collaborator who used to work with us at Flora Grubb – Chan Liebman – now works as an independent contractor, and made the wooden frame for the succulent vertical garden. He made a really nice quality frame, tricked out with waterproof backing and drainage: since the plants will be hand-watered, there’s always a chance they’ll get too much water and drip on the floor. Chan’s solution was to build a gutter into the bottom of the frame. He put in a downspout as well, with a shutoff valve. Any excess water can be easily drained into a bucket with the turn of a knob. Very nice.
Inside his frame we fitted four of the large Florafelt Vertical Garden Planters. The plants I chose are a simple, yet visually exciting, combination of indoor-tolerant succulent plants. I did criss-crossing swaths of succulent plants that are tolerant of living indoors, and each pocket got two plants wedged in together. Swooping generally from top left to bottom right are three species clustered in undulating bands: Sansevieria ‘Silver Streak’ and two different Gasteria species. Doing the same from bottom left to top right are four varieties of rhipsalis (aka Mistletoe Cactus), with darker colors in the top left and bottom right corners, and two different greens banded across the middle. I’m very pleased with the outcome, and it’ll ultimately turn into a lush green mass as the rhipsalis grows and fills out. (I took pix of the plant tags for the names, and they’re in the Flickr set if you want to see what’s what.)
Of course, after everything was in place in the main room of the studio and in the conference rooms, it really stood out that part of the studio was barren of plants. This part’s a little more dense with work stations than the other side, so it was originally decided not to put plants there, but now it really stood out. They had me pick out some more plants and pots to complement the others without repeating, and we went back for a Round Two to set those up.
The installation was fun and gratifying, to be sure, but the part that’s the most exciting for me was to be commissioned to craft a couple of moss panels. They turned out so fantastic that they deserve a detailed post of their own! That portfolio post will follow this one in short order.
In the meantime, to see the whole group of photos of all the plants and various stages of the installations, hop on over to the full Flickr set here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zanncannongoff/sets/72157651103147542/