Plant Kween’s Leafy Brooklyn Apartment Is the Indoor Jungle of Our Dreams
Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we’re celebrating innovators, artisans, and crafters of all types, taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, we tour horticultural expert Christopher Griffin aka Plant Kween's plant-filled oasis in Brooklyn, NY.
It's hard not to be completely enamoured by Christopher Griffin aka Plant Kween's fabulous presence. Hop onto their Instagram page and you'll be greeted with a magical series of photos and videos that showcase their infectious personality and love for all things plants.
The Brooklyn-based botanical superstar and L.G.B.T.Q.I.A.+ activist started their Instagram account in 2016 and has been serving looks and plant advice since day one. "My social media presence has been rooted in a journey of self-care, joy-sharing, and community building all through the wonders of those green little creatures we call plants," they share with Bed Threads Journal.
Christopher's first book 'You Grow, Gurl!', which helps readers discover the joys and self-nurturing benefits of plant parenthood, is available for pre-order and will be on sale from March. Christopher also works as the Assistant Director of the NYU LGBTQ+ Center, which offers educational and community-focused programs and events throughout the year for NYU students, faculty, staff, and alumni.
When Christopher moved into their Brooklyn apartment, they were fastidious about preparing the home and positioning each plant to suit its individual needs. "I made note of all the various lighting situations, the walls that were drenched with that good ole ambient light, the corners that got a few hours of direct sun, those shady no-go areas, and took note," they explain. The abode boasts five south-facing windows and is filled with over 200 "green gurls". "It was a fun process that ultimately led to my green gurls continuing to serve lush lewks," they say.
In the main bedroom, Rust and Sage linen sheets tie in perfectly with the indoor jungle scheme. "I have to say it's been lovely waking up to a lil jungle of greenery every morning," they say of the 75 lush plants in this space alone. "My apartment is a love letter to my past, present and future self and I’m taking my time, writing it patiently, intentionally, and slowly…enjoying all aspects of my process."
We spoke to the garden guru about how to green up your home, their life as an influencer and activist, and the benefits of mindful gardening.
Hi Christopher! This series is called The Makers. What is it that you make?
I make digital content as a Black queer non-binary femme. I explore creative and accessible ways to use plants as a vehicle to incite further conversations centring Black joy and resilience, LGBTQ+ advocacy, and the need to increase the visibility, representation, and empowerment of QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Color) in the lush world of horticulture.
How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?
The act of “making” digital content and indoor gardening provides me with a creative outlet to explore my own growth, healing, and joy as a Black queer non-binary person.
Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue this line of work?
Currently based in Brooklyn, New York, where I work as the Assistant Director of the NYU LGBTQ+ Center and care for over 200 green gurls in my lil Brooklyn oasis of an apartment.
Being an educator at heart, I started my Instagram account in 2016 as a creative outlet, sharing the many lessons, lush adventures, and simple joys that come with being a plant parent. My social media presence has been rooted in a journey of self-care, joy-sharing, and community building all through the wonders of those green little creatures we call plants.
Recreate Christopher's look with our Olive Throw.
Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?
Lately I’ve been exploring what it means to engage in mindful gardening: utilizing the tending of my own lil indoor jungle of green gurls as a means of meditation, grounding myself and being fully present in the moment, and it’s been a lovely botanical exploration.
These mindful moments have allowed me to dig a lil deeper into a level of self-awareness. They have helped me to explore where my own mind, bawdy, and soul is in that present moment, and helped me realise that as a nurturer it is all too easy to displace the love, care, and attention I know I need on to other beings, whether it be the folks I love and cherish in my life or the green gurls I appreciate and adore.
Each day it's about getting better at balancing it all and learning that the same love, attention, care (and patience, gurl, can’t forget patience) you give to others is what you have to give your own bawdy, dahling
What’s been the most challenging lesson learnt so far in your career?
That balance is crucial! The goal is never to be booked and busy, it’s to be booked and balanced. Carving out space outside of my 9-5 and my social media presence is necessary for my well-being.
What’s been the best thing that’s happened to you since you started your career?
@Plantkween has provided me with opportunities to connect with amazing folks who are just as obsessed with plants as I am, and it’s been a lovely botanical journey building with the community of folks that I have gotten to know. It’s the connection for me!
Do you have a single piece of advice you’d give to your younger self or someone looking to pursue a similar line of work?
Have fun with it all! If you are not enjoying the process of building your social media presence then you may want to reevaluate your process. @Plantkween started out and still is a creative outlet for me to share things that I find fascinating and parts of myself that I want to share - as an educator that is fun for me! Be yourself, exist unapologetically, tell your story, and recognise the magic you bring into this world.
Now, the home stuff. How long have you lived in your home?
I’ve been in my lil Brooklyn oasis of an apartment going on three years.
How did you initially know this was the space for you?
When I saw that the apartment had five south-facing windows I knew immediately that the space was for me and my green gurls. The amount of sunlight that comes into my space is truly a blessing, especially for a New York apartment.
Did you do any renovations or make any big changes after moving in?
The only minor renovations I’ve done is installing the shelves in my plant nook and in my bedroom to hold my green gurls. Utilizing vertical space is very helpful when you have an indoor garden of 200+ plants and the square footage is limited.
Recreate Christopher's look with Rust and Sage in our Build Your Own Bundle.
What was the thought process behind the way you’ve styled the interior?
This will be my third year in this space and I’m looking forward to enjoying the home I’ve curated for myself, while also welcoming any redecorating, rearranging, or reimagining of the space that flows to me. I’ve been in this space for quite some time and there are still bare walls and cozy corners yet to be touched, cuz she ain’t rushing the mewd, the moment, the process.
One of my fav memories from the whole moving prep and process were the few days right before the actual move. I spent a few hours each day cleaning and cleansing the space, blasting some cute tunes, and watching the sunshine dance along walls throughout the day. There’s just something beautiful about an empty apartment right before you move in. All I could see was viridescent potential and lush possibilities.
Having struggled with not having enough natural light in my previous spot and now blessed with some cute south-facing windows, I wanted to make sure that I knew exactly what I was bringing my green gurls into and prep the space accordingly. I made note of all the various lighting situations, the walls that were drenched with that good ole ambient light, the corners that got a few hours of direct sun, those shady no-go areas, and took note.
I spent the next few days installing shelving and mapping out and matching up green gurls to particular spots of my apartment based on their sunlight needs. It was a fun process that ultimately led to my green gurls continuing to serve lush lewks.
What are your favorite pieces in the home?
Besides my green gurls, I would have to say the art pieces I’ve thrifted from some of my fav Brooklyn antique thrift shops are my favs, including brass framed mirrors and original acrylic paintings.
Do you have any special décor pieces you’re looking to add?
I am! I am currently searching the market for a large golden brass floor mirror!
In my previous apartments I’ve always focused on using mirrors as a way to make my lil Brooklyn spots appear larger, bringing some more breath and depth into the space. Recently the focus of these reflective design pieces have been to increase that sunshine for my green gurls through reflection and redirection. Be creative, be strategic and werk with what you got, gurl.
Which is your favorite room in the house?
I honestly love each and every room in my apartment. I’ve curated and designed each space to serve a distinct purpose, flow, and energy.
Recreate Christopher's look with Rust and Sage in our Build Your Own Bundle.
What are your top tips for a well-styled bedroom, and home generally?
My bedroom was the last room I began to lush up with green gurls. I'm not sure why, but it simply was. Perhaps I wanted to take some extra time envisioning the design, the flow, the lushness I would surround myself with every evening as I laid my head to rest, ready for another sunrise.
I started out with about 10 plants in the space two years ago and that eventually grew to a group of 75 lush lil kweens in this particular room, one green gurl at a time. And dahling, I have to say it's been lovely waking up to a lil jungle of greenery every morning.
Do you have any projects coming up you want to talk about?
My very first book is coming out this spring! Pre-order will begin in January of 2022! And gurl, you best believe those pages are filled with that Black queer non-binary femme plant parent joy. Think fun + quirky gardening guide meets fabulous + fierce fashion meets the sharing of personal experiences of that plant parent + personal growth, hunny!
For more from Christopher, follow them @Plantkween