What's Your Bag: Haarkon
AC: How did your Greenhouse Tour of the World come about?
Haarkon: Photographic assignments take us all over the place and we often find ourselves in gardens and greenhouses. We love the blurred lines between architecture and horticulture and to see such variety in the way they’ve been approached. It’s a really inspiring sentiment to want to build an entire structure purely for plants.
AC: How many greenhouses have you visited so far?
Haarkon: We have over 50 greenhouse tours on our blog, and many more green interiors and places we’ve visited in between.
AC: So you like cities too… Which top 3 cities stand out to you for their green-ness?
Haarkon: Amsterdam is first because everywhere you look you can spot greenery in some form; windowsill gardens, containers on stoops and plenty of greenhouses too. Berlin is another city that we associate with plants - coffee shops seem to be brimming with foliage and we like to spot office plants squished against window panes. The botanical garden in Berlin has some of the largest cacti that we’ve ever seen. Last but certainly not least is our home town of Sheffield. Not really notable for houseplants (although some cafes are cottoning onto the whole ‘put plants everywhere’ thing) but because of the parks and open spaces. Sheffield is famous for having a lot of trees!
AC: Your instagram and website are very green… Tell us a bit about your own garden? Anything in particular that you like to grow?
Haarkon: When it comes to our own plants we are definitely drawn towards anything with an interesting shape and plenty of foliage. We have a pretty large collection of houseplants, which tends to fluctuate in size considerably as we try to figure out which plants like living with us and which don’t. Outdoors we have a small patio with a container-type garden, mainly consisting of ferns, Acers and two great big Fatsia Japonica. There’s also a whole bunch of hardy succulents and alpines, which love living on the sunny side of the patio together with Aeoniums and a few herbs.
AC: You must have seen hundreds of plant variations, has any stood out in particular and where did you find it?
Haarkon: Ferns are definitely a favourite of ours; we love that they will thrive in cool damp conditions, and their fronds are always so different from one another. There’s a really great fernery in the glasshouses of Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, and a slightly smaller version at Chelsea Physic Garden in London.
AC: Is plant-watching akin to bird watching? Are there any plant variations in particular that you are seeking out, at home or abroad?
Haarkon: We tend to be more drawn to places by a greenhouse or plant collection rather than a particular plant. We like the idea of not really knowing what we’re going to find and just taking a bit of a risk by making the journey. Not every greenhouse that we visit will knock our socks off but we appreciate them all for their own personality and we know that we’ll never know unless we see them for ourselves.
AC: Tell us a little bit about the place where you took your bags out:
Haarkon: There are a handful of go-to spots for us in the Peak District, this place is one of them - it's a great space to escape to for some fresh air and to stretch our legs. This particular spot, a short walk from Surprise View to Mother Cap, provides a panoramic view of the Hope Valley. When you see somewhere regularly you notice the changing seasons and colours. We're lucky that we have such a beautiful place so close and have the flexibility to visit anytime of the day, this means we're often the only people there and feel as though it all belongs to us.
AC: What do you carry in your bags?
Haarkon: Our cameras, phones and chargers, the usual. India will usually have a plastic bag to collect remnants of our trips - particularly if we go on a woodland walk, so there might also be leaves, sticks and some sheep’s wool in there that she can’t seem to resist bringing home with her. So maybe not so usual after all!