Plant Displays for Interior Design
There is almost no gap in any room which cannot be filled and improved by a plant. There is no piece of furniture that cannot be balanced and somehow freshened by a spread of leaves, and there are no hard lines and formality that cannot be softened and lightened by foliage. If books furnish a room, the same can be said of plants. Tall plants, small plants, flowering plants and exotic indoor trees add a quite different dimension to any space — a liveliness and freshness that are gratifyingly cheap in relation to the year-round pleasure the plants give.
On the whole, small and medium-sized plants look best massed together or at least grouped in twos and threes. You can get a good effect by grouping different sizes of plants of the same species together, or by putting a shorter, bushier plant at the foot of a taller, skinnier one. A bushy indoor tree set in front of an uncurtained window can make it look full-dressed, and you can get the same effect by hanging plants from a traverse rod from just above a window. Two standard plants set in front of a pair of windows can strike quite a grand and harmonious note.
In the summer, hanging plants strung from the ceiling of a porch give the whole area a cool greenness just when it is most needed. Windows crossed with shelves in either glass or wood and massed with a mixture of upright and trailing plants can look very attractive indeed. This is a particularly good solution for windows that are otherwise difficult to curtain or dress.
Tall plants and indoor trees make subtle room dividers, and planters can be set on casters or wheels for easy movement. One especially effective set-up I have seen was a green balustrade of plants at the edge of a dining platform in a living room; another living-room set-up employed a group of Kentia palms to form a gentle division between the dining and sitting areas, so that the room was for all the world like an exotic Edwardian.
, in fact, are currently enjoying a well deserved revival. They are marvellous adjuncts to a room, especially if they are stocked with scented jasmine and stephanotis, lilies and gardenias, and give off that heady, warm damp smell of well watered foliage. If you do not own one and have neither the space nor the money to add one, you can always at least simulate the impression of one by setting the panelling at one end of a room with mirror glass and massing plants in front of it so that their reflections have the effect of doubling the number of plants there. Extra appeal can be added by hanging plants from the ceiling: these, too, can be dramatized by placing beneath them, or you can put uplighters behind planters to shine up through the leaves and create interesting shadow effects.
There is a choice of planters to suit any room: stone and terracotta, chrome and brushed steel, comforting baskets and graceful wooden Versailles boxes. Even when rooms are dark and receive little natural light there is no need to be deprived of greenery, for using the new and sophisticated bulbs that simulate natural light it is quite possible to give foliage all the light it needs.