According to the famous Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, “any form of addiction is bad, whether it’s alcohol, morphine or idealism the intoxicant”.
Revealing? Yes. Way? Probably. But I bet Carl didn’t know any gardeners.
A garden addiction is like no other. And you can trust me there. I speak from personal experience. Unlike traditional addictions—which tend to damage relationships, destroy careers, and erode health—an addiction to gardening has the opposite effect. It brings people together, promotes new livelihoods and increases mental and physical well-being. And yes, I know I sound like a proselytizer for plants. I drank the Kool-Aid and it tastes good.
Among my fellow proselytists is Fesi Djojo. As co-owner of Botanical Bar and sister-in-law to Robert King (whose garden has been featured in this column), Fesi knows the joys of rampant plant addiction. Her home is full of green, leafy treasures.
Really, it’s more jungle than house. If an alien were auditing the site, they could only assume that the plants were in charge. “I counted my plants about a year ago,” Fesi tells me. “I got over 560.”
Fesi has been building her indoor garden for eight years. Her living room is filled with towering fiddle leaf figs. Syngoniums climb up the floor lamps. Lounge chair next to Elephant Ears. Chain of Hearts vines fall from the second floor landing into the kitchen below.
In a sunny corner, Fesi points to one of the newcomers, a Philodendron Ghost, so named for its bleached white leaves. These rare plants are new additions to the Botany Bar’s collection and (understandably) a pair have made it home with the owners too. “Robert and I both had to have one,” Fesi grins.
The jungle continues outside, where Rhipsalis hang like green curtains and a group of New Holland Honeyeater chicks have made their home in the bushy stems of a Hoya pauciflora. “I built everything myself, even the pavers,” says Fesi proudly, nodding to the huge, round paving stones that are embedded in smooth river stones. Moose horns intertwine with pitcher plants and crawl up the walls.
Like quicksand, Fesis’ collection never sits still for long. “Most of my plants are in pots. I like moving them around,” she tells me. And therein lies a skill. Not a single pot looks out of place and despite being packed to the brim, nothing feels overloaded. Every inch of Fesis garden is lush, peaceful and beautiful to behold.
Thinking of starting your own jungle? Fesi recommends choosing pots that are all the same color, and if your houseplants are being plagued by fungus gnats, reduce your watering to allow the soil to dry out. For more inspiration, check out our Fesi Garden on Instagram at @fesi_djojo.