Habit + Habitat: Andrew Palm
Ever wonder what the folks at terrain do when we're not in the nursery? In our monthly series, Habit + Habitat, we're finding out by asking one person to share a favorite habit and a beloved habitat. This month, we’re spotlighting Senior Buyer Andrew Palm, who curates our collections of furniture, artifacts from around the world, and more. Andrew is an avid indoor gardener; his house in Philadelphia and desk here at terrain are filled with gorgeous collections of greenery. Recently, we sat down for a chat about his favorite indoor plants and their migration to the office during the winter months.
terrain: What is your role at terrain? Can you describe your typical day?
Andrew: I'm the Senior Buyer for our hardgoods team. I buy for categories including furniture, artifacts, and more.
terrain: How did your collections of indoor plants begin at home and around the office?
Andrew: Pteridomania ["fern fever"] really took hold of me a couple years ago, when I was replanting my courtyard. The courtyard has a large gray birch in the center that creates a lot of shade, which makes it the perfect environment for growing ferns of all types. When winter came, I had to bring my favorite staghorn ferns inside.
This year, I had far too many plants in the courtyard to fit in my house during winter, so I brought a bunch into the office. Our offices have great light, and I wanted to test out our new Conservatory Bookcase. I have an Abutilon that really shouldn't be indoors, but it's doing great and growing like crazy! Hopefully, when it goes back outside next spring it will flower again; it has gorgeous, hanging blossoms that inspire its common name, "Chinese Lantern." I also have a beautiful Philodendron that has been doing really well. I love its organic, architectural wildness, and it looks perfect perched on top of the Curator Plant Stand that I developed for terrain. Finally, I have some favorite ferns from my courtyard, including a couple of deer's foot ferns and smaller forest ferns.
terrain: How do you choose new plants to add to your spaces?
Andrew: There's no real rhyme or reason; I do make sure that the plant can tolerate its environment in terms of light and humidity. Most of the time, I find a sad little plant in need of some help and try to bring it back. And I’m lucky, because my coworkers on our plant buying team – who happen to sit right across the hall – are extremely generous in sharing their expertise with me. My plants and I owe a debt of gratitude to Steve, Karen, Theo, and Chris for all of their help and advice.
terrain: Are there types of plants that you think suit certain spaces or styles of décor better?
Andrew: Tropical plants with large, architectural leaves can lend themselves to a more modern space, while shady forest varieties are often well-suited to a traditional look. But really, it's personal choice. Mix and match with the plants you like!
terrain: Do you have any tips or suggestions for indoor gardeners looking to start a plant collection?
Andrew: The first things to consider are space, light, temperature, and humidity. A knowledgeable nursery can help you identify what plants will grow best in specific conditions. It's also important to have the right container with drainage, and the right tray to keep water from getting all over. From there, it’s up to you! I like mixing color, scale, and texture in the plants I choose. Don't be afraid to experiment! As you tend to your new plants, they'll tell you what they need in terms of water and light.
terrain: What do you enjoy most about incorporating so many beautiful plants at home and in the office?
Andrew: Plants add layers, texture, and life to every space. It's always enjoyable to take care of them and watch them grow.