In the middle of June, an 18-foot-tall plant arrangement blossomed on the corner of a Franklinton office building. With 231 plants wrapping around it, this “living wall” spans 29 feet of colorful, mostly perennial plants that will shift beautifully with the seasons throughout the year.
Inspired by European vertical gardens such as French botanist Patrick Blanc’s, the plant wall is self-sufficient with a drip irrigation system. Using a moisture retention mat made of foam, the plants are able to soak up water without needing much soil, allowing for no-fuss maintenance.
The creators behind this masterpiece? Michael Creath and Jessie Laux-Creath – husband and wife duo and owners of Planthropy.
It all started years ago when Jessie began creating plant arrangements to unwind after long hours at her marketing job. Quickly, her hobby grew into a passion, and she began selling the arrangements at farmers’ markets in 2015 under the business name Planthropy.
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Michael, on the other hand, found his love for nature when hiking in Switzerland after high school. From there, he went into landscape design. He even built a vertical living wall similar to the one in Franklinton on his own house, getting him featured in the Short North Tour of Homes.
The two met when a client hired both to work together on a project. They clicked, and shortly after, they combined businesses, taking Planthropy to the next level in 2017.
Today, Planthropy creates walls made of moss, living plants, faux, and even bark. They also added overhead plantscapes: faux or preserved plant arrangements that hang from the ceiling.
“Our combined love for plants brought us where we are today,” Creath said. Just a few years ago, the couple worked out of a garage. Now, they’re in their own building and constantly growing. So far, they’ve traveled to 25 states to create installations across the country.
You may be wondering, “How do they even go about creating such gorgeous installations?” The couple explained that the moss walls, their most popular product, are like a mosaic. First, they design and draw their pattern. Next, the team fills in the moss wall, piece by tiny piece, to fashion one seamless piece of art. Lastly, they hide any boundaries or seams that may be visible.
When asked their favorite types of installations to make, each of the two expressed their love for trying out new things.
“We try to start the trends rather than follow them,” said Creath. “We push boundaries. We tell our clients, ‘We aren’t limited to anything.’”
For inspiration, they draw mostly on the natural world around them. “We’re really a team of artists at our core, and nature’s our medium,” explained Jessie.
The two often hike together and take pictures of plants or natural growth formations that stand out to them. When they created a moss wall for a business in Washington D.C., they found inspiration in the Potomac River. The result was a lovely, winding strip of blue moss through the wall.
As they continue to expand to new states and grow their team, Planthropy wants to keep growing, to keep creating, and to keep inventing. Their goal and vision moving forward is “to continue to push the boundaries of interior plantscape design,” said Jessie. And we can’t wait to see which direction they grow toward next.
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