The day I’ve been dreaming of for so long is here. I’m so excited to share that my first book, Houseplants and Design: A New Zealand Guide is available for preorder now. It’s out everywhere on November 1st, 2022
A year of work combined with 12 years of self-publishing online and a lifetime of dreaming has finally brought me to this moment. Even as I hold this book in my hands, I still can’t believe it’s real. I started NODE in Lyttelton, New Zealand, two years ago because there weren’t any design-focused houseplant shops on the South Island. Then I spent a year researching and writing this book because I was frustrated that all of the houseplant books in New Zealand were from overseas. The irony of an American writing this book isn’t lost on me.
I’ve poured my heart and soul into Houseplants and Design, sharing stories and lessons I’ve not spoken about before. Full of knowledge of houseplants, how to care for them, style them, grow them, and design with them, this book is so much more than a plant book. I go in-depth into the history of the houseplant trade and spill the tea on all the latest science behind our most beloved plants. While I tell these stories through the kiwi perspective, this book is universal and will help wannabe plant parents worldwide.
This book is about why we are connected to nature. It’s about how bringing nature inside can create a thriving space for us and cultivate wellbeing. To nurture an indoor garden is to nurture ourselves.
Preorder my new book Houseplants and Design now
About once a week, I get a message asking if I’m still running NODE. And the answer is hell yes, I am!
Since I launched NODE in the middle of the pandemic, I’ve managed to compartmentalize my two businesses – here I am, Young Adventuress the bLoGgeR who shares inspirational and personal stories of adventure, nature, and birds and musings on life (at least that’s how I see myself). Over at NODE, I wear that cap of CEO and boss lady of a stylish designer home and houseplant brand where I spend way too much time looking at budgets and spreadsheets and talking to suppliers.
Every day I am working behind the scenes at NODE, developing the business and trying to make it better and better; but it’s not a side of me I share heaps on here. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe because I want to make NODE into something bigger than me. Perhaps part of me wanted to prove I could build a successful business apart from my YA identity.
Right after my breakup last year, I took an unintentional break from NODE. My ex and I share the same building in Lyttelton, and I needed to be in Wanaka with my friends to heal. I also needed some space from a brand I had been so tied up in, mostly on my own, for a year and a half.
It was also the perfect excuse to finally finish my book. Luckily, I have a fantastic team I can depend on who gets me and support me through everything. Even though I’m based back in Wanaka now, I still go to Lyttelton all the time. I’m excited about this next chapter of NODE. Maybe I’ll see you there,
When I got an email a few months ago that my final (final, FINAL, DEFINITELY FINAL) draft of my book went off to the printers, I was left speechless. I cannot believe that I have written a book. It actually chokes me to say this, but I am really proud of myself. I can’t believe I managed to make my biggest, oldest, scariest dream a reality.
My whole life, I’ve dreamed of writing books, but part of me was too scared to try and make it happen. I put that dream on a pedestal for decades. Looking at it. Watching it. But too afraid to do anything about it.
Two months after I landed my book deal, my life completely fell to pieces. My world was smashed, and I didn’t know which way was up. All the things that gave me comfort were gone, packed up in a cold storage unit. Home was with whatever friend let me crash at their place.
I was lost, sad, heartbroken, depressed, and totally in the worst position ever to undertake my biggest project to date. Or was I?
Rock bottom became the foundation for my book, and writing became the beacon in my swirling world of turmoil. It kept me sane. This book gave me purpose. Writing and hiding was the perfect excuse for my running away to Wanaka. My friends picked me up and helped me break it down into manageable tasks. They read my drafts and held me accountable.
And while I managed to achieve the top writer’s award of missing just about every deadline I was given, in the end, it was done, polished, and a joy to behold – in my opinion, of course. There’s something to be said for stubborn optimism and blind hope.
Photo of me credit of the exceptionally talented Wanaka-based photographer and longtime pal, Mickey Ross
Why houseplants and why now? How a millennial burnout and global pandemic inspired a return to a thoughtful home full of plants.
For the past twelve years, this little old blog has taken me around the world many times. By 2019 I was incredibly burnt out. I craved routine. Dreaming of stability, I would count the days until I returned to Wanaka. I needed a home. To balance the busyness of my life, I started to collect houseplants.
It started with one, then somehow, I ended up with hundreds. No one has ever accused me of doing anything half-assed.
I’ve always been gripped by a deep, primal love for things that grow. As my mind and heart were healing from a decade of self-destructive behavior, an inability to set boundaries with my work, some not-so-great addictions, and a lifestyle that was anything BUT healthy, I found therapy in nature.
And I mean in the nature all around me, but also by surrounding myself with plants at home, where I felt safe.
Houseplants have been a huge part of my life for years, and it’s a side of me that many of you might not be familiar with. Perhaps it’s my superpower, along with my vulnerability.
I know the scientific name and history behind every houseplant on the market these days. I can spot mealybugs from miles away and diagnose and treat your sad plant in under a minute. I’ve elbowed my way into an old-school industry with the bolshiness of someone with absolutely zero fucks to give.
There was no life, no style, and definitely no vibes. Houseplants are seriously the most millennial trend ever; why are there no plant places for people just like me? Where were the plant places that put care and thought into their products? Where were the extraordinarily knowledgeable and creative sellers? Who inspired thoughtful living spaces?
No one had created a plant shop I wanted to spend time in, so I built it. No one had written the plant book I wanted to read, so I wrote it.
Honestly, where does this bravery come from? I couldn’t tell you. Usually, I’m the quiet person in the back of the room, observing, introverted, and totally happy on her own.
Yes, this is a book about plants. But it’s also about way more than plants. It’s about crafting a safe and comfortable space at home that cultivates wellbeing. I explore why we are compelled to bring plants indoors. I also dive into the science behind the benefits houseplants provide when it comes to our health.
As someone eternally searching for meaning in everything, I can genuinely equate my love for houseplants to positive mental health. They gave me purpose when I needed a change. Caring for houseplants taught me to care for myself.
Putting our phones down, and being present with nature, even if it’s just repotting an old houseplant, is profound. With dirt under my fingernails and an ache between my shoulder blades, after a day of working with my plants, I feel recharged. Looking after houseplants is very much a form of self-care.
So now for all of the nitty-gritty details around my Houseplants and Design book. It’s on sale for preorder here through my shop, NODE. It will come out on November 1st, 2022, here in New Zealand and Australia.
In addition, it will be available through many bookstores and retail spaces in New Zealand and available on other sites online worldwide. I’ve set up international shipping through my online shop for the book, which you can see at check out. But be warned, global shipping right now is (how do I say this delicately?) a fucking disaster, which is reflected in the prices. Luckily for my non-kiwi friends, the New Zealand dollar has dropped a lot in value, so you’re getting a good deal. While it’s $45nzd here, it’s roughly $40aud, $27usd, £23, and €27. If your country doesn’t show up in the shipping options, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll suss it out for you.
Oh, and I’m signing the first 200 copies sold through NODE.
It’s a fat and happy book, weighing in at a whopping 352 pages. My Houseplants and Design book has everything you need to know about houseplants and then some. She’s extra, just like me. And while I’ve written it from the New Zealand perspective, it’s totally applicable to houseplant lovers worldwide. I can guarantee there’s some stuff in there you would have never heard or known about.
Now for the hard sell. It would mean the world to me if you would support me by investing in my first book. I don’t ask this lightly. There is no fluff or fodder here – this book is inspirational, educational and entertaining. I hope I make you guys proud.
Preorder my new book Houseplants and Design now
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