Plant by Packwood is one of many boutique terrarium stores popping up online. But, through incorporation of bonsai fig trees and natural driftwood, Plant by Packwood have created tiny forest dwellings that we'd all love to call home. We had a chat to Bayden and Charlotte, the lovable duo who created Plant by Packwood, to find out what makes their terrariums so incredibly inviting.
So, tell me a bit about yourselves?
B: I make orchestral folk music and she is an actress - and we create and sell artisan terrariums. We’re basically the most ridiculous hipster stereotypes you’ve ever met.
C: It’s true; sometimes I look at us and think we may just be stock characters in an indie-film.
You clearly have talents in other fields, so what made you start making terrariums?
B: We spent a bit of time in LA last year, Charlotte was over there doing a bunch of meetings and I didn’t have a huge amount to do. Terrariums were a really big thing over there, and I was really interested, but there was no point in buying anything because we obviously had no way of getting it home. That started the idea in my head that I really wanted to start building them myself.
C: I’m terrible at keeping anything green alive. I’ve always been a horrible gardener. Bayden tried to build me a vegetable patch when we first started dating and I killed it so quickly you can’t even imagine. So last Valentine’s Day he made me a terrarium and sort of said to me, “try to kill THIS!” and I haven’t been able to yet. It was very romantic.
B: And then she said that we should sell them, which was a bit less romantic, but probably a good idea.
There seems to be lots of people making terrariums lately, how are your terrariums different?
C: We really focus on the natural in what we build. We are trying to properly recreate the kinds of landscapes that you want to go out to have picnics in, run through or explore. We love creating pieces that are really green, lush, ever-changing and growing.
B: We also like to focus on the simplicity of what people are drawn to in a relaxing landscape. Overcrowding vessels with plants is not only bad for the plants, but unnecessary, I think, in portraying the scene we want to portray.
We find people love our simplest designs; our Oasis Plant is a single bonsai on a hill of moss, with a few river stones surrounding it. It’s one of our most popular Plants. I think there’s something about the picture of that tree on the hill that people really connect to and can get lost in.
Where do you source the materials to create these natural utopias?
C: The elements that make PLANT by Packwood terrariums so unique are the pieces we forage from friends’ properties out in the country. Well, it’s mostly Bayden foraging, I kind of oversee and sometimes take photos…
B: A friend of ours has a farm out in the Otways which is such a beautiful part of Victoria. We recently created a few terrariums directly influenced by that landscape, using moss and found bits that we had collected on the farm. They reminded us so much of the few days we spent out there we kind of didn’t want to sell them!
C: That happens a lot!
Bayden, how did growing up in rural NSW influence you to start Plant by Packwood ?
B: I grew up having a huge garden, I especially loved growing food, and I have such fond memories of digging and planting with my Dad. There’s something about the landscapes out there that I’ve always felt nostalgic about. I think most people feel some sort of strong connection to that natural environment.
I moved to Sydney pretty much as soon as I finished high school, and there’s something about the culture of cities that I just can’t get away from. I love it but I’ve lived in town houses with courtyards that get no sunlight and at the moment I’m in an apartment in Brunswick with barely any outdoor space at all. There’s so much I miss about the expanse of the country.
I definitely feel like the terrariums I make are a bit of an ode to that, and the feedback we often get is always along those lines. I think people love being able to have just a tiny slice of what it feels like to breathe in the fresh air far away from the city.
I'm sure people in cities all over Australia will want their own terrariums from Plants by Packwood, do you have any plans to expand interstate?
C: At the moment we are growing so quickly we hardly know what to do with ourselves! The support we’ve had online and at our stalls and retailers has been so overwhelmingly lovely. One thing that people keep asking is when we will be available interstate. We have this slowly formulating idea that maybe we will do a PLANT tour and drive up the coast building and selling them as we go!
B: We would also love to collaborate with other artists; we’ve come up with a bunch of ways that we could create accessories or extra bits for our plants if we find the right people to work with.
C: I think we are basically just a little giddy at how much it has taken off and we’re really just chasing this thing along, waiting to see what happens next!
PLANT by Packwood are available at the Rose St Market, Lygon St Nursery and Prahran Health Foods.
Check them out at www.plantbypackwood.com or on instagram @plantbypackwood