Desert still life

Desert still life at the Berlin Botanical Gardens

 

DESERT STILL LIFE

 

Ooooh wee, this post is decidedly overdue! But as the old adage goes; better late than never right? This is my first Urban Jungle Bloggers entry and I’m so thrilled to be part of it, even if it is a little late. For their October still life series, the chosen theme was desert. A perfect juxtaposition to the currently wet and wintery weather…

It’s hard not to fall in love with flora from arid regions. I instantly recall the magnificent colours of the desert rose (Echevaria), the fiery limbs of the Euphorbia tirucalli, often called fire sticks, or the spiky spheres of the barrel cactus. This one gives me a giggle cause as a little girl I pretended to sit on one. In expected protest it pricked me on my bum and I can still remember, firstly my surprise at the itchy burn of the sting, and secondly, my sister cracking up at my silly manoeuvre.

 

Ecvevaria's and other succulents at the Botanical Gardens in Berlin

 

There are so many awesome succulents that it’s almost impossible to choose a favourite. But one of the forerunners in my opinion, would most certainly be the Myrtillocactus. I call it the Lucky Luke cactus. They look just like cartoon characters throwing their arms up in protest. Almost like they’re ready for a fist fight. It’s a tough life in the desert. Which of course is why their entire bodies are covered in spikes.

 

Perfectly still still life of arid region cacti

 

But not all of them look like meanies. With their hairy hides, the Cleistocacti seem almost cuddly; like they’re wearing sweaters as they wave you over with their long spiny arms. The african Aloes are equally welcoming; like the vera with its spotted tentacles or the thick and fleshy candelabra-like head of the ferox

 

Hairy Cleistocacti at the botanical gardens in Berlin. For UJB Still life

 

If you’re in Berlin and want to meet some of these prickly and spiny characters, you can find an entire greenhouse filled with them at the Berlin Botanical Gardens. I’ve decided to use a photo from one of my visits there as inspiration for my October UJB entry. In a way, the thoughtfully assembled desert garden serves as the perfect still life in itself.

 

Still life in the desert photoshoot for UJB

My own desert still life for Urban Jungle Bloggers

 

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Check out more awesome posts like these on Urban Jungle Bloggers, or visit the blogs of UJB creators;  Igor & Judith.

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Bohemian Rhapsody

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I have a soft spot for bohemian interiors. The earthy tones take me back home, to the highveld bush and Soutpansberg sunsets. But I’m perhaps even more partial to it because it so aptly describes my sister … a free spirit who’s homes are always filled with plants, rugs, patterns and colour.

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When it comes to creating this look you almost cannot have too many plants, rugs, patterns and colour. It’s a layered approach; textures over textures, pattern over pattern. What’s great about it is the fact that it works so well for both busy-, collector personalities as well as simplistic- less-is-more types. It’s also a great way to add colour without a drop of paint–although you want to opt for earthy, dirty tones and lift them up with a single bright spot colour.

Rattan and vintage furniture works super well with this style, so it’s a great approach if you’re decorating on a budget and shopping at thrift stores. Having said that, it’s important to use good quality pieces, like kilim or berber rugs so it doesn’t look dated and stale. Combine wooden surfaces with rough textures such as woven baskets, skins and scatter cushions or soften the look with a fluffy throw over tan leather.

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Accessorise with found objects like straw hats, an old guitar/ukulele or wooden sculptural pieces. Philodendrons make perfect plant companions with their dark jumbo leaves. To finish it off, add visual height by hanging planters with long leafy greenery like string of pearls or trailing jade.

Create the look: Bohemian

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I found some other great examples of this style–each with a slightly different character–to demonstrate how versatile this look can be. Click on the images to see each blog post; they’re all terrific!

Bohemian bedroom with geometric bedding, guitars and plants
Bohemian bedroom: plants like Philodendron Xanadu & Fiddle Leaf Fig + geometric fabric + guitars + wood – from gravity-gravity.tumblr.com

 

New Darlings - Living Room
Boho living room: tan leather + geometric rug + wood + plants + colourful scatter cushions + woven basket – from New Darlings

 

Alea & Joy dining room
Bohemian dining room: Plants + terracotta + wood + geometric rug + sheep wool – from DesignSponge

 

Neutral coloured boho chic living room
Neutral coloured boho chic: tan + geometric rug + leather + wood + plants + geometric pillows – from Kitka

 

Bohemian terrace
Bohemian Veranda: Wood + plants + rattan + colourful geometric pillows – from myscandinavianhome

 

Any other ideas for styling your space bohemian? Leave a reply, I’m keen to hear your thoughts!