In the last years gardening has lost its dusty, grandmotherly image with magazines like The Plant and original urban gardening projects such as Berlin’s Prinzessinnengarten seeming to hit a nerve with the younger generation. It is in this spirit that Seeds was founded by plant passionates Giada Seghers and Andrea Poulieva (recently joined by Cécile Barraud). With a series of events in different locations, such as this Sunday at Brass, Seeds wants to foster discovery, exploration and creation around the world of plants, bringing together people from all walks of life. We’ve had a little chat with the Brussels collective about their project and how you can get started yourself.
How did you meet and how did you come up with the project?
Giada: Fabio from the Brussels För shop, where we also hosted our first event, brought us together. He knew how much each one of us loved plants and he insisted that we should meet, because it’s a bit of a rare passion. We would both go to his shop to buy the Plant magazine, for example. So Fabio put us in contact and we met up and directly clicked and directly decided we wanted to create a project together evolving around plants. There’s a real shortage in Brussels of activities for plant lovers and we wanted to team up to fill that gap. It all happened very fast.
How did you discover your passion for plants?
Giada: I remember spending a lot of time in my mom’s garden. In the beginning she forced me a bit to do gardening, but later I realized that I really loved it. I love the feeling of touching the soil, getting my hands dirty, having soil underneath my nails…Yesterday I spent my evening potting my new cuttings and I enjoyed it so much! There is so much to discover. For example I received a cutting from a friend about a year ago, and I left it in the water and never potted it. It’s so interesting to see how the roots are developing in the water. And from then on I started collecting different species and created my own little jungle at home.
Andrea: I was also forced to help in the garden and hated it at first. But later I just loved it and when I moved to Brussels at age 18, I realized that I can actually grow my own little jungle inside my apartment. I lived in Liège for a long time and there are not a lot of green spaces, so it’s nice to be able to create that in your own home.
That’s quite a rare activity though for an 18-year-old – what is it that fascinates you so much about plants?
Andrea: Plants have their own lives and ways to express themselves, and every plant is different. They all have different needs in terms of light and watering.
Where do you go plant-shopping?
Giada: In shops, at markets, …I also love to do plant-swapping with friends. I remember I tried to find plant-swap-events in Brussels and couldn’t find any. In Los Angeles or Portland they have so much of this stuff, I’m so jealous! I really hope it will become more popular here too.
Why isn’t it more popular here?
Andrea: Many people think they don’t have a green thumb. But that’s not really the point. Everyone can potentially grow plants at home. Many people think they are limited because they don’t have a garden or a balcony, but that’s not true at all. That’s something we want to help people realize and encourage them to just start growing.
How much time do you spend taking care of your plants?
Giada: When you do have a lot of plants it does take quite some time. They do need a lot of care. But it’s nice to have these moments for yourself, it’s very relaxing and you can put your thoughts together. There really is something therapeutic about it. It’s not our goal, but it’s a welcome benefit. It helps you to be at peace with yourself.
What is the plant-swapping about?
Giada: Plants are so much more than just a solitary hobby or all about aesthetics. There is also a social component to it, one that we really want to emphasize with our project.
Andrea: Exchanging plants and cuttings is also a bit like story-telling time. I can tell you a story about each cutting I received. Plants really can create connections between people.
Can you tell me more about this social component? How do you want to foster it with Seeds?
Andrea: We want to show that plants are not just a design or a hipster thing. You don’t have to be young, rich and beautiful to have plants. We want to bring our events into lots of different communities and also organize activities with children. We want to do events that are free and bring people from all kinds of backgrounds together. It’s of course about plants but also about neighbourhood life.
If someone wants to get started, which plants would you recommend? What are some good ideas for beginners?
Andrea: I’d recommend Pilea, which is also my favorite plant. I once got a cutting from a good friend about 5 years ago. It grows quite big really fast and by now everyone close to me has received a Pilea cutting from me at some point. I love this idea of spreading love and plants this way, even if it sounds quite cheesy! And Pilea is a great plant to begin with. If you start with a tiny cutting you’ll have a pretty big plant after already 6 months, and you don’t have to do much. You just need to water it when the soil feels dry and that’s it.