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Ontmoet onze floral designer Modeste Herwig

'I think that you can really enjoy green even on a small level!'

To bring you the lively plant compositions for the accompanying premium planters, we at Upperbloom work with floral designer Modeste Herwig. Modeste is a planting specialist, green author and garden photographer. She has now created over 45 garden books. For Upperbloom, she shares her knowledge of the plant and flower world to create the most beautiful and powerful plant sets. How does Modeste come up with those golden combinations?

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Surrounded by greenery for a lifetime

Modeste has been surrounded by greenery all her life: she comes from a true green family. Her father Rob Herwig once figured it out, she mentions: 'From the year 1700, our family has consisted of gardeners and nurserymen.' Father Rob is the best-selling green author in the world - Modeste doesn't have it from a stranger. She says: 'My father used to be always busy with gardens. He had so-called model gardens, where I also worked. As a child I went out with him. For example to England, the gardening country par excellence. He went there to take photographs and he let me carry his tripod. I remember that very well.'

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'It's scientifically proven that having green around you makes you happier.' - Modeste

Slowly but surely, Modeste expanded her work. She began by getting hands-on experience in her father's gardens, and later started garden photography and writing about gardens. She writes for several magazines and creates her own books, including Gardening in Pots. Modeste also gives garden workshops and makes planting plans. Modeste: 'My work is broad and varied, and I like that very much. Now I'm busy picking flowers, for which I have grown my own plants and take care of them. I'm going to make bouquets of them. Sometimes I'm just busy with the journalistic side, sometimes I design things and then I go on a garden trip. What more could you want?'

Tips for caring for plants in a small outdoor space: from rooftop terrace to balcony

Green is always there in Modeste's life, whether she is at work or enjoying her large garden outside working hours: 'For me it is indispensable, I am always busy with it. Green means perception. Of a small plant that grows, blossoms and then withers and dies again. That whole process gives you a sense of connection with nature. It's also scientifically proven that having green around you makes you happier. And it's important for yourself, but just as important for the whole environment. Think about the insects and counteracting heating.'

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'Green with Upperbloom is not much work at all, it works even if you have little time.' - Modeste

She goes on to say, 'I find that you can really enjoy green even at a small level, on a narrow balcony for example.' Previously, Modeste herself had small outdoor spaces: 'I soon had a little garden myself. And a roof garden, I had that too. With all sorts of plants in pots.' She believes that you can turn a small outdoor space into something lively: 'With different planters, hanging or on a stand, you can certainly do that. You can also think of greenery on the wall, such as a climbing plant. Or hanging plants that you can hang from the ceiling of your balcony.'

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Does she feel that the concept of Upperbloom, a planting service where the work is taken out of your hands, can help with this? Modeste: "I think it's a strong concept. I think many people would like to have greenery around them, but don't know which plants to put in a planter. With Upperbloom, the choice about the composition is already made: it doesn't matter if your knowledge of plants is low. It is not a lot of work at all, even if you have little time.'

She continues: 'With the plant changes, the plants remain appropriate to the season. In terms of care, it is also easy, so that the greenery becomes accessible to everyone: it's just a matter of watering. I hope the plant service inspires people and that they can really start enjoying the greenery. Even on a small balcony, something can grow with Upperbloom!'

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Upperbloom: unique plant combinations, curated for you

Since April 2020, we at Upperbloom have been working with floral designer Modeste to come up with the combinations for the plants. With the help of the expert, we come up with beautiful, lively and strong combinations. What is actually considered in the plant compositions? It revolves around six points, Modeste explains:

1. Strong plants for the balcony, terrace and garden

'The plants must of course remain beautiful for a very long time, for several months: from one plant change to the next. So they have to be strong. I choose plants that I know will perform well. They grow nicely and flower richly. The plants must not be too high either, that way they can't blow over on a high balcony.'

2. The right plants per outdoor area

'The plants must fit in with the outdoor situation: think full sun, light shade or more shade. We have different compositions for that, so the plants and flowers do well.'

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3. Plants that match each other in terms of growth and flowering
'The exact size of the planter also plays a role: it is playing with the available space. Some plants, such as begonia, take up more space and grow considerably wider. While salvia, for example, does not expand, but grows straight up. So some need more space than others. I do not put a plant that grows huge next to a modest plant. Then it will not be prettier. I take the species into account and how many plants fit in so that they can bloom nicely next to each other.'

4. Stylish and fun plant combinations

'We want fun combinations with plants that fit together nicely. Color use of plants is one of my specialties: I definitely focus on that. I generally make sure that it is not too colorful, with all the colors mixed together, but that it is nicely coordinated. If you really don't like a color, you can tell us and we will take it into account. Not only the colors of the flowers count, but also the colors of the leaves. Think of a gray-green leaf or a very dark leaf, for example. And besides the colors, I think it is important that the whole style of the plants fits together.

There are not only ornamental plants, but there is also the choice of a herb box. That's nice because you can pick some yourself and get more out of your greenery that way.'

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5. Plants to match the season
'Because Upperbloom's plant changes go with the seasons, I look at what time the container should be beautiful. For example, in spring, summer and winter it differs what fits better. I also decide on a color scheme for each season that I think is good for it. I then look for suitable plants.'

6. Different from the usual

'We want the plants to be a little bit different than usual. For example, we put Upperbloom plants in the planters earlier, which have a nice drooping growth habit. They can hang down along the planter. That creates a unique look: again, different from the plants that grow straight up, which can also be found in the planter. It is also a clever way of dealing with the space in the planter.'

Also read: balconystories | Upperbloom-fan Damian - ‘The plants and flowers grew so well, that it created a waterfall effect, towards the street. It was so unique.'

Durable plants for balcony, terrace and garden

In addition to the thoughtful composition of the content, the practical elaboration is designed to be sustainable. We only work with strong plants, which can withstand a beating. The plant sets are grown directly in our greenhouse in the indoor tubs that we keep reusing during the plant changes.

Modeste mentions: 'Making the garden sector more sustainable is important, and there are already good initiatives. For example, something can also be done about all those plastic pots in which the plants normally sit. We are slowly moving in the right direction. With our working method we maximize reusability and minimize waste production.'

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With plant changes included in our planting service two or three times a year, we pick up plants from balconies and patios, and replace them for new greenery. That way, as an Upperbloom fan, you'll enjoy an outdoor green space full of life all year long. What happens to plants that are picked up? Greenery that comes back to us after a change of season is composted, reused for new plant sets or donated to foundations and public organizations for a second life. We do this, for example, together with the initiative Tegels eruit, groen erin!

Balcony, terrace or garden with plants: achievable for everyone

With the above thoughtful plant compositions, we want to make it feasible for everyone to have a balcony, terrace or garden full of life. No green thumb needed! Modeste concludes, mentioning that you only pick up more about it along the way: 'You learn the most in practice. If you watch carefully and observe what is happening, you learn a lot. It happens in front of you. Just cut a branch and see what the plant does: which way is it going to grow? Then next time you'll know where to cut.'

Upperbloom's plant service is especially for your balcony, terrace or garden. For a fixed amount starting at €9.90 a month, you can put together your ideal plant set, consisting of plants and planters. Two or three times a year (you choose!) you get a change of plants, including Green Guarantee for 3 months. This gives you a green and lively outdoor space all year round.

- Want to order your plant set? It's easy: put together your favorite set of plants and planters - and soon enjoy your green balcony, terrace or garden!

- First read how it works exactly? Check: our planting service in 5 points.