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Tastemakers: Igor Josifovic & Judith de Graaff

Posted by The Sill on

We're really thrilled to introduce you to our two featured guests in this newest installment of our Tastemakers series. Meet Igor Josifovic and Judith de Graaff - bloggers and friends, whose mutual passion for plants has resulted in their ingenious 'Urban Jungle Bloggers' project. To say we're fans would be an understatement. We urge you to follow, like, bookmark - and be inspired to bring the outdoors in… 

First up is Igor Josifovic, a Blogger (see Happy Interior Blog) & Social Media Manager, who splits his time between Munich, Germany and Paris, France. 

Can you share with us a little background about yourself - and your love of houseplants? 

I am a traveling sould, a digital nomad, an interior design lover and a plant person. My childhood had been accompanied by many plants in my parents' home and this passion has been planted into my soul as well. Living with plants is essential for me as I enjoy having living plants around me. Not only do they bring a home to life, but they also ground me. My life is pretty busy and I like to say that I have many hats on as a blogger, social media manager, son, friend, partner. My worklife is clocked by the fast-paced digital lifestyle of social networks and caring for plants is the sheer opposite. It requires time and patience. It reminds me that there is more to our life than the beeping iPhone and the ongoing email influx in my inbox. And to make it all perfect, my houseplants really match my lifestyle and make my living environment a healthier and better place. 

Can you share with us a little about the Urban Jungle Bloggers movement?

Urban Jungle Bloggers is a mutual project between Judith and me that was born out of our passion for plants in 2013. What started as a simple blog series on our blogs has quickly turned into a living, growing, and friendly green community uniting bloggers from New Zealand, over Europe to the United States. Every month we pick a green topic and share it with our community and everyone interprets the topic in its own way on their blogs and social media (learn how to get involved here). We then share the results on our Urban Jungle Bloggers platforms and bring people with the same passion and love for plants together. 

What's a secret skill you have?

I speak Greek, I can write shorthand, and I love to make people smile.

What's the best present you've given or received?

A few years ago I was taken to a trip in a car ending up on an airport and disembarking in Dublin, Ireland. Just like that. As a present. How cool is that?

If your space was on fire, what's the first thing you'd grab to save?

I'd run around cause I'd want to save everything. Most probably I would end up running out of the space with my iPhone in the hand. 

What's on your to-do list today?

Buying a new sweater, writing a blog post for Happy Interior Blog and potting a plant in my new handmade planter that I received from a potter in Vietnam.

What is your favorite plant and why?

Oh my, I have so many favorites. I do love my little Pilea Peperomioides that I received by snail mail from a befriended blogger in Sweden. But I am constantly charmed by my Oxalis triangularis that I bought in Paris a few months ago. She is such a charmer fluttering on my windowsill like many purple butterflies.

Do you have a green thumb?

I am not sure there is such a thing. Especially nowadays when all information required is available online. You can simply google your plant, check out communities like the Urban Jungle Bloggers or get professional advice on sites like The Sill - get to know your plant and the color of your thumb becomes irrelevant. 

Any plant care tips you can share?

Above all pick a plant or plants that suit your lifestyle. You are out and about a lot? Choose low-maintenance plants that require the least attention from you. The better you match your plant choice with your lifestyle, the more fun it will be to see it grow and thrive.

What tops your houseplant wish list?

I am looking for some colourful succulents on longer stems like the sedum rubrotinctum or the Aeonium cyclops. Because plants are not only green, right? 

Now meet Judith de Graaff, the second half of UJB, and a freelance graphic designer who resides near Paris, France. 

Can you share with us a little background about yourself, your love of houseplants, and the Urban Jungle Bloggers movement?

Hi! My name is Judith and I’m a Dutch graphic designer living in France. I grew up surrounded by plants in a typical 70s/80s kind of way: with suspended plant shelves in front of the windows and handmade ceramics. As a teenager I worked at a local garden center, but it wasn’t until I visited the Jardin Exotique in Monaco about 15 years ago that I realised I loved plants. I fell in love with the different shades of green, as well as the very graphic shapes of the succulents, the intriguing shapes of the cacti and the tropical vibe of the palm trees. I wanted that at home too and now live in a house where I have an entire indoor garden dedicated to growing all kinds of plants.
When Igor and I met a few years ago in Paris we started talking about the things we liked and realized we both REALLY loved plants. As we’re also both bloggers, we decided to start a blog series by showing our own urban jungles on our blogs. The response was immediate, so many other bloggers asked if they could join the green movement, too - and slowly but surely our small series turned into a green community with a monthly topic, hundreds of blogging members, and a popular hashtag (#urbanjunglebloggers). We feel so honored that Urban Jungle Bloggers is thriving and growing every day! 

What's a secret skill you have? 

I know a lot about keeping yourself warm in an unheated home. I have about 7 years - winters - of experience. Booze and activity, also combined, are some of the key ingredients.

What's the best present you've given or received? 

A blue-greyish shell my husband once picked up at the beach, it fits like a ring. Very random, but very pretty. 

If your space was on fire, what's the first thing you'd grab to save?

After people and cats - I’d grab my handbag with passport, phone and camera. If there was more time I’d also take my photo albums, computer, suitcase with worthless treasures, and my drawers with stationary knickknacks. 

What's on your to-do list today? 

Pack my suitcase for a week in the South West of France, on the Atlantic coast.

What is your favorite plant and why?

Impossible to choose just one, but I really like my giant agaves that I grew from cuttings many years ago. I like big plants and they have such a nice blueish color. I also love my different paddle leaf cacti because they grow in impossible directions to keep their balance. And another favorite are the aloë vera plants from which I use the gel to calm my skin after skin burns. 

Do you have a green thumb? 

I don’t really believe in having a green or black thumb. I believe in attention and caring for plants. And in trial & error. I’ve killed many many plants by overwatering, not watering enough, wrong kind of soil/light/temperature but I learned from the experiences. And by now, I know most of the plants I own and did my homework. And because the largest part are succulents, cacti and palm trees, they are very forgiving, which makes it fairly easy to take care of them.

Any plant care tips you can share?

Be particularly careful with cactus glochids, the tiny hairy spines of certain kinds of cacti. I once picked up a small paddle with my bare hands - as I do that all the time with regular cacti - but the tiny barbed tips that stuck in my skin, hurt for weeks, and were almost impossible to remove. I learned my lesson and now wrap these cacti in paper if I want to repot them.

What tops your houseplant wish list?

I would love a Sarracenia and some other carnivorous plants. I secretly hope my cats won’t eat them, & if so: that the plants bite back ;) 

(All photography courtesy of Igor & Judith. Learn more about Urban Jungle Bloggers here!) 

 

 


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1 comment


  • what a beautiful post! Knowing both of them personally I almost fell like they were truly talking to me while reading the article. UJB is a great community and I hope it will keep on growing in the near future to show everyone that nature can be around us all the time even in an urban environment.

    un23 ilaria on

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