When a love of plants led to a love of too many plants, two creative Aucklanders set up a potted plant shop online.
Living in central Auckland, with two young boys and a day job as a freelance wardrobe stylist in the film industry, life is busy for Jasmine Edgar – yet, she has always found time to indulge her lifelong love of plants and pottery. But a year ago, when plant life literally began to take over the family home, she realised things needed to be readdressed. “Sill Life basically started because I had too many plants in the house,” she laughs.
Jasmine and her partner Ian Ferguson had always wanted to work on a creative endeavour together – and they realised this was it. So they turned over their conservatory and shed to the project and got started. With his own graphic design business, Friends of Design, Ian was charged with developing the website, while Jasmine’s cousin, photographer Josh Griggs, was pulled in to document the selection of plants they planned to sell. Within weeks Sill Life was online and shipping plants around the country.
At any one time Jasmine and Ian aim to have 10 staple plant varieties available, varying from miniature succulents, to the larger current darlings of the interior design world, philodendrons, fiddle leaf figs and Monstera deliciosa. But names like the latter are hard to get your tongue around, so Ian has renamed their ‘live stock’ with fun monikers such as Awkward Orchid, The Claw and Mini Mouse.
Propagating is done in the shed, but when it comes to sourcing new specimens Jasmine has great contacts. Much of her family have an affinity for plants and with two uncles working as a landscape designer and a botanist respectively, she calls on their knowledge regularly.
“I call up my botanist uncle when there are specific varieties I’m looking for and he connects me with the right nurseries in his network to source what I’m after,” she says. “The big garden centres usually have a monopoly on purchasing plants, but now that I’m buying consistently, I’ve found all the nurseries are really supportive.”
In recent months Jasmine taken the next obvious step, adding her own pots to her potted plants. The propagating shed is now also home to her pottery wheel, on which she makes her own range of hand-thrown pots with recycled clay and beautiful organic glazes.
The small conservatory/showroom is now filled with plants in Jasmine’s pots, each with a personality of its own. “I often end up doing custom orders for bathroom hangers, or putting together a selection of plants for specific areas in people’s homes.”
Jasmine hopes that people will start to see plants as more than just an aesthetic trend. “I feel strange going into a place without plants now,” she says. “There have been so many studies done on the benefits of plant-related air purification. There is a feeling of wellbeing that plants add to your living environment.”
Looking around Jasmine and Ian’s home it is clear that the air purification and wellbeing levels must be pretty high. “We have as many plants as we ever did,” Jasmine says. “But at least now they’re in some kind of order!”
Words Alice Lines
Photography Josh Griggs