An architect with a penchant for all things green has transformed his city home into a lush ‘rainforest’ after years of collecting rare and unusual plants.
Jason Chongue, from Melbourne, has a stunning greenery collection with more than 400 strong plants that have since become a part of the décor.
With little outdoor space to work with, the 32-year-old interior designer brought his gardening indoors – and has since filled every corner of his home with potted and hanging plants of all shape and sizes.
Architect Jason Chongue (pictured) has a stunning greenery collection that now spans more than 400 strong plants that have all become a part of the décor
‘The last count was over 400 plants indoors and outdoors there is plenty more,’ Jason told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Filling my home with plants was an organic result of not having enough outdoor space to feed my gardening obsession.
‘When you live in a dense urban community, outdoor space comes at a premium, so the answer was gardening indoors. There are so many indoor plants that can thrive in our indoor world.’
His obsession with plants started organically when he helped his parents and grandparents with gardening at a ‘very young age’.
‘I was infatuated with nature and greenery, from plants to pets I was obsessed. I would spend my days in the garden, growing and experimenting with anything I could get my hands on,’ he said.
‘Over the years I’ve explored a range of plant types and species, but the collection has grown and evolved. Some plants I have with me now are from my childhood, whilst others are additions and others have been passed on to me.
‘My obsession with plants comes from my passion for greenery and how plants can make the world of difference in our living spaces.’
He turned his home into an indoor garden after years of collecting rare and unusual plants
Jason’s top five tips to styling a home with plants
1. PLAN WELL: When it comes to curating plants in small spaces it pays to sit down and plan out the overall look you are wanting to achieve. This might include how many plants, where they will go and the style you envisage. This will give you a clear direction when you are sourcing plants and planters.
2. DON’T BE CHARMED BY LOOKS: We all make the mistake of choosing plants purely by how they look. It’s more important to choose plants for your space by the natural lighting conditions they require.
3. KNOW WHO YOU ARE AS A GARDENER: If you are nervous about gardening, then choose plants that are easy to care for and low maintenance. Start with a handful of plants and slowly build up your garden once you get a handle on how to care for your plants.
4. BE YOURSELF. DON’T FALL FOR FADS: We’re fortunate to have so many great creative in our communities. This gives us a great opportunity to have unique planters that have been lovingly designed or made by hand. You don’t have to follow the trends but instead use planters that relate to you.
5. ALWAYS EXPERIMENT: A great gardener always pushes the boundaries of what they grow. You’ll find yourself growing indoor plants to edibles and then to every plant type there is out there. It’s great to try new species and plant types to challenge your skill set into other areas.
His indoor plant sanctuary has brought a source of great joy into his life, allowing him to ‘escape my daily urban life’.
‘Walking into our home is comforting and grounding. It’s become a haven where the air is fresh, and the greenery forms a mental escape,’ Jason explained.
‘When indoor spaces are predominately hard edged and man-made it’s so nice softening these spaces with plants that evolve over time.
‘Through the act of gardening it’s relaxing for me to get my hands into soil or prune my plants on a daily basis. It’s an escape from my daily life.’
And what started as a passion quickly blossomed into a growing business.
His indoor plant sanctuary has brought a source of great joy into his life and allows him to ‘escape my daily urban life’
The 32-year-old interior designer said he has spent years of collecting rare and unusual plants
In August 2016, he co-founded The Plant Society, a ‘plant social network’ for like-minded growers, collectors and gardeners.
‘Having co-founded The Plant Society, plants have definitely changed my life. It’s nice being able to motivate the wider community about the benefits of greenery but also be there to help support them,’ he said.
‘Life can become hectic and gardening allows us to slow down and reflect.’
With hundreds of plants under his roof, Jason said he checks all his greenery every day to ensure they are getting enough light, water and nutrition.
Life can become hectic and gardening allows us to slow down and reflect
‘On a daily basis I spend thirty minutes to an hour gardening in the morning and then I spend an hour or so after work tending to my plants. Once a week I spend a solid block of one to two hours getting more intricate tasks done,’ he said.
When his family and friends visit his home, Jason said they’re always ‘amazed’ with his spectacular indoor garden.
‘It’s always a surprise when you walk through the front door of our home. They are amazed, but also not entirely in shock, as gardening has always been a part of who I am. It’s nice seeing how happy they are when they come over,’ he said.
His obsession with plants started organically when he helped his parents and grandparents with gardening at a ‘very young age’
What started as a passion quickly blossomed into a growing business. In August 2016, he co-founded The Plant Society , a ‘plant social network’ for like-minded people
With hundreds of plants under his roof, Jason said he checks all his greenery every day to ensure they are getting enough water and light
For first time planters, Jason said there are five basic things to keep in mind when buying plants for your home.
‘Focus on the fundamentals. Plants are alive. They thrive off the fundamentals of water, light and nutrition. Keep on top of these to allow your plants to thrive,’ he said.
‘Take it slow. There is no rush when it comes to gardening. Don’t force instant results. The plant world is on a journey of its own so make sure to slow down and enjoy the process of gardening.
‘Plants don’t thrive off neglect. Check in on your plants regularly, my tip is every week or two. You want to nurture your plants and also catch any plant problems early.
‘When you have plant problems, don’t panic. Try to systematically pin point the problem and this will provide you with the solution. Like humans, plant illness and diseases will take time to resolve. Keep treating until the problem has disappeared.
‘And speak up. From when I first began gardening and even now I’m always asking for advice. With a multitude of plant types, you’ll always need help from family, friends, neighbors and online plant friends.’