Meet the green-fingered Instagrammers
I am forever reading how Instagram is a bad thing for UK horticulture, especially from people who work in the industry. The highly staged photos, the impractical ideas, the shameless doctoring with filters: we’re told these all conspire to give newbie gardeners a distorted view of horticultural reality, setting them up for failure. While in many cases these may be fair criticisms, on balance I feel that the enormous benefits of the ’gram in exposing us to new, international ideas far outweigh the negatives.
The British gardening media generally live in a place of sunlit nostalgia, circa 1880. With its abundant shots of vast Victorian walled gardens, vintage tools and woven willow, I find the aesthetic beautiful, but samey and irrelevant to my life. Instagram changes all that. As absolutely anyone can post pictures on it, the same cultural filters of what constitutes a “good” garden don’t apply. Quite apart from the sheer volume of posts, there is such diversity, from every country on the planet. It’s the ultimate meritocracy, with a freedom of expression that is vital for creative evolution which, in my opinion, is often stifled fled in the UK. And it’s working!
While traditional gardening ning media struggle to attract younger audiences with its “landed gentry” look, on new media there is a huge flowering of horticulture among the young. The hashtag #plantsofinstagram currently ntly
shas more than 2m images. Think the cool kids don’t care about gardening? Search #PlantsMakePeopleHappy and #PlantDaddy and think again.
In southern France, botanical de designer @marcelarium_ has converted a whole room of his house, which connects his kitchen and lounge, with living wallpaper. Walking over an industrial staircase, a tunnel of orch orchids, ferns and cloudforest plants en envelopes you, complete with po poison dart frogs hopping around. Both @natureroshi303 and
@kouji7655i in Japan design jawdroppingly beautiful aquascapes (underwater gardens) in glass tanks. These tropical streams, both above and below the waterline, are perfectly recreated with what can only be described as a forensic level of detail. I am in love!
In Asia there are many varieties of moss to buy for ornamental horticulture. In the UK the only thing with “moss” written on it in the garden centre is moss killer. The Chinese account @mossart.cn makes magical fairylands of moss on logs, dishes and water. In the same game, @ michikusa3193 might almost beat them.
I have a fascination with the videos of @bonsaicn, which show tiny saplings being transformed into ancient-looking, gnarled, twisted specimens in a matter of minutes using nothing but scissors and metal wire.
Finally, over in the US the Oregonbased @pistilsnursery creates the most beautiful living wall hangings using epiphytic plants mounted on slabs of wood. Mimicking the natural habitat of these plants on tree branches, they look theatrical, but it is the easiest way to grow the species. Scroll through and be inspired. ■
Square deals: (clockwise from top left) @natureroshi303, @michikusa3193, @kouji7655i, @marcelarium_, @mossart.cn, @pistilsnursery