UO Summer School: Plant Care 101 with Bodega Rose

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Warm days are here and UO Summer School is in session. From tech how-tos to apartment DIYs to recipes and wellness, we’ll show you how to do it all. Don’t forget to do your reading, we’ll see you in class. 

Consider NY-based Bodega Rose your personal plant whisperer: experts on the best plants to fill any space, they transform spaces and homes around the city. Leading up to their workshop with Space Ninety 8 this month, we visited their studio to learn more.

Can you introduce yourself — tell us more about who you are, where you are from?  
I'm Olivia Rose. I was born and raised in New York City. I went to LaGuardia Art High School (the Fame school) and Cornell University for Landscape Architecture.

How do you describe Bodega Rose?
Bodega Rose is a planting moniker but it's really about encapsulating the New York energy into the plant world. Plants are quite fashionable creatures, they have such a strong look and form. When I first see a plant, I immediately pick up on their vibe. Within a few moments you know what kind of music would they'd be into, what kind of planter they would they wear, what other plants they'd hang out with, allowing the plants to inform the design.

You have a background in landscape architecture — what inspired you to build a business that brings nature indoors?
Growing up as a city kid, you never really get a break from the built environment. You're in and out of buildings, constantly surrounded by man-made structures and synthetic objects. Most of the life we encounter is other humans, and plants and landscape can sometimes feel a bit far and few in between. We spend the majority of our time indoors, breathing in recycled air, and are a bit disconnected from the natural world. Plants are an important counterbalance to this. We should make the spaces we inhabit the most, more enjoyable and full of life. Plants change the mood and energy of a space. I wanted to be able to work in this medium that works as a functional art form and can really improve the quality and happiness of the day-to-day. 

What are some go-to plants/botanicals you suggest for any type of apartment/home?
I love a plant with high impact and low maintenance, and a good temperament for a range of lighting conditions. 

I really love Beaucarnea recurvata / Ponytail Palms, Philodendrons, Hawthorias, and Alocasias. 

What are some common mistakes/misconceptions you frequently encounter with people who are killing their houseplants?
People really love to over-water plants. It really stems from a good intention, people don't want to kill their plants, so they water them too frequently and that causes them to die -- it's a vicious cycle. Over-watering is more detrimental to a plant than under-watering. The best practice is to read your plant for their needs. For instance, if your plant looks yellowish and wilted, and the soil feels damp, it is over-watered. If your plant is crispy, brown to the touch, and the soil is dry, your plant is under-watered. When you learn the telling signs of a plant, taking care of them becomes way less mystical. 

It seems like houseplants come and go in trend waves: what’s the next “it” houseplant?
I think we are going to see a lot of the classic plants being available in new colorways and varieties. There has been such a growth of interest in indoor plants the last few years, growers are moving into selected cultivars for particular colors and forms. I've started collecting pink varieties of some of my favorite plants. I'm currently obsessed with my Strawberry & Cream Ruby Rubber Tree Plant. It's pink camouflage.

Can you share more about what your Space 98 workshop will be?
The Space 98 workshop is going to be a build - a - plant workshop. Everyone will receive the Madison 6" Planter with Drainage Tray set, a plant of their choice, and dressing to top of their plant. We will practice planting techniques to ensure long plant longevity, and go over the signs of how to best read your plant. We will also talk about common problems with houseplants, and I will answer any questions about any particular plant problems at home

What is next for you and Bodega Rose this year?
Bodega Rose is doing a lot of installations in the upcoming months as well as plant styling for some films and editorials. This summer we are doing a pop up at a Bodega floral stand. 

Follow Bodega Rose on their website and Instagram

Photos by Heidi Lee

Learn how to create your own planter with Bodega Rose at Space Ninety 8 on Tuesday, May 9 — her workshop will cover how to prep and pot your plant, basic design compositions, as well as tips to ensure a long lasting plant life. More here.