FOOD & STYLE

Gardener’s Wife

Plants to Soothe Soul, and Plant Shops in Seoul
If you’ve missed the spring bloom or the rich greens of the summer, don’t despair. You can enliven your house just by adding some plants. We’ve found some plant shops in Seoul that can serve as helpful guides.
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Gardener’s Wife

Gardener’s Wife: Gardener Husband and Florist Wife
Gardener’s Wife has been a flower and gardening shop for 14 years, and it’s in its 10th year of running a flower and gardening school. Gardner Kang Se-jong and his wife, florist Eom Ji-young, are at the helm. They started out in a humble shop in Samcheong-dong in 2007 and they now call Seongbuk-dong their home, with another location in Incheon’s Songdo. Looking to do more than just sell plants, the couple started offering classes on gardening in 2011, so they could help people raise plants with proper knowledge. Gardener’s Wife is also famous for producing its own pots. Before working with plants as a gardener, Kang had been a product merchandiser. Since 2011, Kang has been in charge of his shop’s own pots. He minimizes artificial touches around the plant itself, and to help prevent damage to roots during repotting, Kang’s pots are wider at the top. Those pots are also designed to ensure proper drainage, making sure plants will feel right at home in them. It takes a long time to get to know plants and build relationships.
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“Gardener’s Wife has been around for about 15 years, and we’ve dealt with countless types of plants,” Kang said. “We’ve shared our experiences with many others. We hope to stay with these plants for a long time and continue to build on our experience.” If you want to minimize risks in gardening, then Gardener’s Wife should be the first place for you to visit.
Gardener’s Wife’s Recommendation for Beginners
Syngonium
싱고니움

Syngonium Albo Variegata and Syngonium Gold Allusion

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Syngonium Pink Allusion and Syngonium Pink Spot

“It’s a subtropical plant from South America, and it’s easy to grow indoors. We’ve seen some colorful versions of late, including white, pink and fluorescent. It grows into a climbing vine, and it’s easy to breed using aerial roots that grow out of the vine.”
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Gardener’s Wife Gardening Shop, Gardening School
Address
20 Seongbuk-ro 18-gil, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul
Phone +82-2-738-5515
Hours Monday~Friday 09:00~19:00, Saturday 09:00~18:00
Website www.gardenerswife.com
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Ground

Ground: Seeking Harmony of Plants, Space and Humans
It was only a natural progression for Lee Ji-yeon, former editor of an interior design magazine, to take interest in plants. “Living in Korea, you’re forced to move often, and no matter how great the interior design is, the new space often feels foreign,” Lee said. “But your home is supposed to be comfortable and natural. And I think works of art and plants do a great job of bringing in that sense of comfort to a place filled with new things. You’re adding art and life to it. And as I continued to work with interior contents, I started to take a huge interest in plants.” 
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As she runs her own plant shop, Lee seeks to achieve the harmony of plants, space and humans. Without it, you can’t grow your plants well, and you can’t fully enjoy the kind of joy that comes from the blend of plants and space. Lee’s shop, Ground, is less about selling plants that can make a place pretty than about offering plants that can blend in and live with humans in a place. Lee relies on her experience in interior design when she provides additional information on proper lighting and ventilation, plus the colors of wallpaper and furniture. If you’re looking for plants that fit right into your living space, Ground should be your first stop. Lee takes particular interest in plants whose inherent beauty has been forgotten because people take them for granted. Take, for instance, the lady palm, often seen in government offices. Rediscovering the beauty of these familiar plants is one of many joys you get from visiting Ground.
Ground’s Recommendation for Beginners
Pilea Peperomioides and Seika Nandina
Pilea Peperomioides

Pilea Peperomioides

Seika Nandina

Seika Nandina

“Pilea peperomioides is a thick tropical plant that can bring life to a place during the autumn, when it can get a bit lonely around you. If you grow it in a place that’s not too dry, you will end up with fleshy leaves. Without enough water, the leaves will droop. But too much sunlight will make leaves dry. You can easily tell their conditions. Seika nandina has more of a red purple tone than the typical nandina. The reddish bud that comes up in the spring turns into green, and then back to red in the fall. With the white flower and red fruits, you can see its transformation throughout the year. The evergreen plant won’t lose leaves after they turn red. I recommend this plant often because of the lyrical atmosphere it creates.”
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Ground
Address 547 Seolleung-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Phone +82-2-6448-5490
Hours 11:00~19:00, Closed Sundays
Instagram www.instagram.com/plantspace_ground
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Mother’s Garden

Mother’s Garden: Started from Mom’s Hobby
If you happened to be walking past Mother’s Garden, you’d have a hard time figuring out if it was a plant shop or just an ordinary home. Tucked in an alley near Mangwon Station, Mother’s Garden is housed on the reworked first floor of a two-story home of the shop owner Oh Jeong-hee. For 15 years, pot planting had been a favorite hobby. Oh got a kicked out of the elegant beauty of her small trees and how they grew even more beautiful as time passed by. Then in 2003, when she moved out of an apartment and into a well-lit home, Oh was talked into opening up a planting shop.
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Oh’s eldest daughter named the place “Mother’s Garden” for her mother. Oh’s bonsai plants, put together with an expert pair of hands, were a hit from the beginning. She specializes in bonsai and wild flowers, while also selling foliage house plants and succulent plants. Her guests range from elementary school students to seniors. Oh’s day begins at 6 a.m. Watering every plant, from the rooftop and down the stairwell, takes a couple of hours. But it’s not an arduous chore for Oh, and you can tell just by looking at those plants that she grows. “For bonsai, I’ve done the royal azalea for quite some time, but I am confident in every type of trees,” she said. If you’re interested in bonsai and wild flowers, head over to Mother’s Garden now.
Mother’s Garden’s Recommendation for Beginners
Asiatic Jasmine and Japanese Lanceleaf Maple 
From left, Japanese Lanceleaf Maple and Asiatic Jasmine

From left, Japanese Lanceleaf Maple and Asiatic Jasmine

“Asiatic jasmine and Japanese lanceleaf maple have higher tolerance for cold, and so you can grow them indoors or out in your balcony. The red foliage in the autumn is quite a sight.”
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Mother’s Garden (Oh Jeong-hee’s Bonsai)
Address
9 Seongmisan-ro 6-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Hours 10:00~20:00
Instagram www.instagram.com/mothersgarden_seoul
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Green Forest

Green Forest: Tropical Foliage Plants for Homes
“I felt alive when I touched soil,” said Moon Hyeon-ah, who, after working as a web designer, opened Green Forest because she wanted to feel comfortable as if being in a forest and wanted to feel happy. Green Forest mostly offers large tropical foliage plants that you’d normally see in cafés, such as monstera and philodendron. You can grow these at home without much sunlight. Moon used her own experience of growing them at her place to figure out types of plants that people could take care of in their homes.
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“There are people who give up on growing plants because they’re not good at taking care of them. But my shop has plants that can be managed indoors,” Moon said. “I recommend plants that can be easily cultivated at homes, and I tell people to start with small plants.” Moon also said she wants to help people experience the fun of the very act of growing plants. Green Forest is a great place for beginners, but also more experienced hands who don’t want to leave any extra space in the balcony, or who want to pick up new plants but don’t have space for them. Green Forest has some rare tropical plants that you won’t see elsewhere, and also has tiny plants that are perfect for small spaces. Green Forest also takes orders for plants to go with pots built by the local pottery designing brand Karnezcen.
Green Forest’s Recommendation for Beginners
Monstera Borsigiana Albo Variegata and Anthurium Forgetti Green
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Monstera Borsigiana Albo Variegata

안스리움 포게티 그린

Anthurium Forgetti Green

“They don’t require much sunlight, and they grow well indoors. It’s best to water them when the soil is about half dry. The drier they are, the more active the roots become.”
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Green Forest
Address
145 Doshin-ro, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul
Phone +82-10-8955-0822
Hours 11:00~20:00, Closed Tuesdays
Instagram www.instagram.com/greenforest_kr
October 2020 Editor:Kim Hyewon
Photographer:Park Sungyoung

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