Our obsessions: 7 questions with Freddie from Patch
If there’s anything that catches attention at Swoon HQ, it’s plants. Who knew that when our delivery from Patch arrived it would cause such a stir? “Where are these from?” “I like this one.” “Are we allowed to keep these?” “Can I take this one home?” And so on, and so forth.
It’s a bit of a no-brainer that plants grab attention in an urban office. When you look at the psychology behind the colour green or ask people how they feel when they drive out of the city and into nature (a sense of relaxation and relief for most), it makes sense that we’re all craving more of these viridescent friends.
This is why we decided to team up with Patch for our latest pop-up. Plants + furniture and you’ve got our full attention. But to understand a bit more about the green-fingered gods and goddesses that they are, we spoke to Patch’s founder, Freddie, to see what inspired him to set up the company, as well as learn a thing or two.
1) Tell us a bit about Patch – what made you want to set up this fabulous company?
The spark for Patch came after I moved in with my now-wife a few years ago. I took on the challenge of turning her balcony into an urban oasis, but soon realised this was a much bigger task than I originally thought. I didn’t know what plants would work in the space, or how to look after them. Not only that, but garden centres are few and far between in London, and you either need a car or the willingness to get on the tube with arms full of petunias. After speaking to friends who had all come up against the same obstacles, I had the idea for Patch.
2) Why are plants good to have around the house, especially in urban homes? Are there health benefits?
As city-folk we spend over 90% of our time indoors, breathing air that is up to ten times as polluted as the air outside. Plants have this incredible ability to filter the air of these toxins, creating a cleaner and calmer atmosphere.
We also believe that having some greenery around is fundamental to the sustainability of urban life. We often trade a connection with nature for a busy, exciting life in the city, but these don’t need to be mutually exclusive. By bringing some plants into your life you can reconnect with nature without sacrificing the good bits of city life.
3) Which plants should we choose for each of the following rooms and why:
Most plants release oxygen during the day, but a small selection do the opposite. These plants, such as Sansevieria and orchids, are said to help improve your sleep quality by boosting oxygen levels.
Bathrooms are usually the most humid rooms in the house, so are a great choice for moisture-loving tropical plants. Our ferns, such as Bertie the Boston fern or Gus the Asparagus fern, will react really well to the steam from your shower.
If you’re a clumsy cook, keeping Aloe vera in the kitchen can be great as the gel in its leaves will treat burns. In the dining room I like some small table plants that won’t get in the way if you ask someone to pass the salt – Suri, our succulent, is a lovely low-maintenance choice.
I like having statement plants in the living room, as they don’t usually get in the way as much as they might in a small kitchen or bedroom. Big Ken, our Kentia palm, is unmatched in his ability to transform a room with his arching green fronds.
4) What is your top tip for people who claim to always kill plants?
Start by thinking about the plant’s natural habitat and try to find the space in your home that most closely matches this. Then sign up for our free Houseplant Parenting video course – we’ll email you a short video every day, covering the basics of keeping your plants alive
5) If you could be a plant, which one would you be and why?
Let’s say a Peace Lily – reliable and practical but prone to throwing a wobbly if undernourished.
6) Are there any interesting new plants coming into Patch that we should know about?
We’re actually bringing a few new plants into our pop-up this month, so definitely come by to see those!
7) What is your favourite Swoon product to top with Patch plants and why?
We love a good shelving unit as it gives us so many different surfaces to cover with plants – a tumbling Rapunzel from the top shelf or a trio of cacti for example. The new art-deco Pablo unit is incredible, or you can go classic with the Aero.
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