Florist Eden Kersten of The Botanist invites us into her New Windsor home to show us her impressive plant collection and cool vintage inspired style
The Botanist’s Eden Kersten’s home is an indoor plant paradise
Eden Kersten’s plant obsession inspired her to transform her home into an indoor jungle. The woman behind the popular floristry business The Botanist has been collecting plants for years and when she and husband Jason bought their first home last year (in Auckland’s New Windsor) she was finally able to install the plants in their “forever home”.
“Because we didn’t own our first home and couldn’t plant anything – and I’m obviously addicted to plants – I collected a lot of pots and indoor plants,” Eden says. “It’s been about five years of collecting, trialling, seeing what works, what doesn’t and what needs lots of watering.”
Eden opened her first floristry business, Eden Flowers in Auckland’s Viaduct, when she was just 17. After five years, she sold up and moved to the UK, where she did freelance floral work for clients including Sting and members of the royal family. On her return she worked as a buyer for UFG (United Flower Growers) before taking up her role at the then brand new The Botanist, a cafe-cum-florist’s in Auckland’s City Works Depot, in 2014. The Botanist’s second space, in Orakei Bay Village, opened late last year.
While Eden loves flowers, and occasionally brings home beautiful blooms from work, it’s plants that make her tick – succulents in particular. She wants to build a glasshouse in her backyard to nurture more of her “little babies”. She sources many of the rare plants from Trade Me. The tall cacti are fragile so she lays them flat on blankets to transport them. Jason isn’t as plant mad as she is. “I’m a little bit of a hoarder and Jason is a complete minimalist so he finds it quite hard,” Eden laughs. “I have to sneak them in sometimes!”
Although some mothers would worry about small children being around cacti, Eden sees the plants as a growth opportunity for son Jude, 5. “It’s a learning curve. I love to nurture them, move them around to where the sun is and teach Jude how to look after things and to be a bit careful.”
The couple’s home is at the top of a gully and has all-day sun, expansive views and a deck which Eden “lives on”. Jason is an electrician and works from home. This means up to 14 sparkies come and go during the day, and social events are common, but the large downstairs area makes this manageable.
In a move that shocked her neighbours, Eden’s first change at the new house was to pull out rows of perfectly manicured white roses that had been cultivated for years by the former owner. She sold the roses on Trade Me and replaced them with cacti to give the home a more industrial, Palm Springs look.
“The cacti were more for street appeal,” she explains. “I didn’t really like the house when we bought it. The cacti helped transform it into something that was more me.”Eden and Jason made other minor changes to modernise the home, including painting a few rooms, taking down net curtains, swapping chandeliers for recessed lights, installing speakers and replacing some of the carpet with lightened floorboards.
Otherwise they have left things as they were, choosing to add personality through plants and decor (mostly vintage, collected over the years). Moving the plants around helps to “keep the place organic, fresh and alive”, Eden says. They plan to do a few things outside, including adding a spa pool and glasshouse, but for now are happy to relax in their new home.
Words by: Fiona Ralph. Styling by: Catherine Wilkinson. Photography by: Helen Bankers.