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The day I have dreamed of for so long is here. I am so excited to share my first book, Houseplants and Design: A New Zealand Guide can be pre-ordered now. It’s out everywhere on November 1, 2022
A year of work combined with 12 years of online self-publishing and a lifetime of dreaming has finally brought me to this moment. Even though I hold this book in my hands, I still cannot believe that it is real. I began NOTE in Lyttelton, New Zealand, two years ago because there were no design-focused houseplant stores in the South Island. I then spent a year researching and writing this book because I was frustrated that all the houseplant books in New Zealand were from overseas. The irony of an American writing this book is not lost on me.
I have poured my heart and soul into it Houseplants and design, sharing stories and lessons I haven’t talked about before. Full of knowledge about houseplants, how to care for them, style them, grow them and design with them, this book is so much more than a plant book. I delve into the history of the houseplant trade and spill the beans on all the latest science behind our most beloved plants. While I tell these stories through the Kiwi perspective, this book is universal and will help wannabe plant parents all over the world.
This book is about why we are connected to nature. It’s about how bringing nature inside can create a thriving space for us and cultivate well-being. To care for an indoor garden is to care for ourselves.
About once a week I get a message asking if I’m still running NOTE. And the answer is hell yes, I am!
Since launching NODE in the middle of the pandemic, I’ve managed to split my two businesses – here I am, Young Adventuress the BLoGgeR, sharing inspiring and personal stories about adventure, nature and birds, and reflections on life (at least that’s how I see myself). Over at NODE, I wear the cap of CEO and boss lady of a stylish designer home and houseplant brand, where I spend way too much time looking at budgets and spreadsheets and talking to suppliers.
Every day I work behind the scenes at NODE, developing the business and trying to make it better and better; but it’s not a side of me that I’m sharing heaps on here. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe because I want to make NODE something bigger than me. Maybe part of me wanted to prove that I could build a successful business apart from my YA identity.
Just after my girlfriend last year, I took an accidental break from NODE. My ex and I share the same building in Lyttelton and I had to be in Wanaka with my friends to heal. I also needed some space from a brand I had been so attached to, mostly on my own, for a year and a half.
It was also the perfect excuse to finally finish my book. Fortunately, I have a great team that I can trust, who get me and support me through everything. Although I’m based back in Wanaka now, I still go to Lyttelton all the time. I am excited for this next chapter of NODE. Maybe we’ll see you there
When I got an email a few months ago that my final (final, FINAL, FINALLY FINAL) draft of my book was going to the printers, I was left speechless. I can’t believe I wrote a book. It actually chokes me to say this, but I’m really proud of myself. I can’t believe I managed to make my biggest, oldest, scariest dream come true.
All my life I dreamed of writing books, but a part of me was too scared to try to make it happen. I’ve put that dream on a pedestal for decades. Looking at it. Sees it. But too scared to do anything about it.
Two months after I got my book deal, my life completely fell apart. My world was shattered and I didn’t know which way was up. All the things that gave me comfort were gone, packed away in a cold room. The home was with a friend who let me crash at their place.
I was lost, sad, heartbroken, depressed and totally in the worst position ever to take on my biggest project yet. Or was I?
The bottom line became the foundation of my book, and writing became the beacon in my swirling world of turmoil. It kept me sane. This book gave me purpose. Writing and hiding was the perfect excuse for me to escape to Wanaka. My friends picked me up and helped me break it down into manageable tasks. They read my drafts and held me accountable.
And while I managed to snag the best writer award by missing nearly every deadline I was given, it was ultimately done, polished, and a joy to behold—in my opinion, of course. There is something to be said for being stubborn optimism and blind hope.
Photo of me credit by the exceptionally talented Wanaka-based photographer and long-time friend, Mickey Ross
Why houseplants and why now? How millennial burnout and global pandemic inspired a return to a thoughtful plant-filled home.
In the last twelve years, this little old blog has taken me around the world many times. In 2019 I was incredibly burnt out. I required routine. I dreamed of stability and wanted to count the days until I returned to Wanaka. I needed a home. To balance the busyness of my life, I started collecting houseplants.
It started with one, then somehow I ended up with hundreds. No one has ever accused me of doing anything half-heartedly.
I have always been gripped by a deep, primal love for things that grow. As my mind and heart healed from a decade of self-destructive behavior, an inability to set limits on my work, some not-so-great addictions, and a lifestyle that was anything but healthy, I found therapy in nature.
And I mean in the nature around me, but also by surrounding myself with plants at home, where I felt safe.
Houseplants have been a big part of my life for years, and it’s a side of me that many of you may not know. Maybe it’s my superpower along with my vulnerability.
I know the scientific name and story behind every houseplant on the market these days. I can spot mealybugs from miles away and diagnose and treat your sad plant in under a minute. I’ve elbowed my way into an old fashioned industry with the bolshiness of a person with absolutely no shit to give.
There was no life, no style and absolutely no vibes. Houseplants are seriously the most millennial trend ever; why are there no plant sites for people like me? Where were the plants that put care and thought into their products? Where were the extraordinarily knowledgeable and creative salespeople? Who inspired thoughtful living spaces?
No one had made a plant shop I wanted to spend time in, so I built it. No one had written the plant book I wanted to read, so I wrote it.
Honestly, where does this bravery come from? I couldn’t tell you. Usually I’m the quiet person at the back of the room, observant, introverted and completely happy alone.
Yes, it’s a book about plants. But it is also about much more than plants. It’s about creating a safe and comfortable space at home that cultivates well-being. I am investigating why we are forced to bring plants indoors. I also delve into the science behind the benefits of houseplants when it comes to our health.
As someone who is forever searching for meaning in everything, I can truly equate my love of houseplants with positive mental health. They gave me meaning when I needed a change. Caring for houseplants taught me to take care of myself.
Putting down our phones and being present with nature, even if it’s just repotting an old houseplant, is profound. With dirt under my nails and pain between my shoulder blades, I feel recharged after a day’s work with my plants. Caring for houseplants is very much a form of self-care.
So now to all the nifty details around me Houseplants and design Order. It is for sale for pre-order here through my store, NODE. It will be released on November 1, 2022 here in New Zealand and Australia.
In addition, it will be available through many booksellers and retail outlets in New Zealand and available on other sites online worldwide. I have set up international shipping through my online store for the book, which you can see at checkout. But be warned, global shipping right now is (how do I say this nicely?) a fucking disaster, which is reflected in the prices. Luckily for my non-kiwi friends, the New Zealand dollar has depreciated a lot, so you’re getting a good deal. Although it’s $45nzd here, that’s about $40aud, $27usd, £23 and €27. If your country does not appear in the shipping options, email us at [email protected], and we clarify it for you.
Oh, and I’m signing the first 200 copies sold through NODE.
It is a fat and happy book, weighing a whopping 352 pages. Mine Houseplants and design The book has everything you need to know about houseplants and then some. She’s extra, like me. And while I’ve written it from a New Zealand perspective, it’s totally applicable to houseplant lovers the world over. I can guarantee that there are some things in there that you would never have heard or known about.
Now for the hard sell. It would mean the world to me if you would support me by investing in my first book. I don’t ask that lightly. There is no fluff or fodder here – this book is inspiring, educational and entertaining. I hope I make you proud.