I’m delighted today to feature an interview with Ian Drummond of Indoor Garden Design. You may remember that I covered Ian’s Living with Nature Exhibition on Flowerona? His company recently won the Plantspeople of the Year Award at New Covent Garden Flower Market and this year Ian is the Chair of eFIG (European Federation of Interior Landscape Groups).
Could you tell us what prompted your interest in horticulture?
My interest in horticulture started when I was a child, around three years old. We lived in a council flat in Central London and one of my first memories is of a window box. My dad gave me some seeds and I remember using the window box as a playground, with my action man. When I was seven, I became more fascinated by plants, especially as every year at school we would grow things, like daffodil bulbs.
We had a relative who lived close by, who feel ill. So I helped in her garden and she gave me free rein. My dad built a shed in the garden and my interest in horticulture continued to grow. At an early age, I knew that working with nature and plants was something that I wanted to do…I was very fortunate.
At sixteen, I left school. Back then, there weren’t many options in horticulture. By chance, I spotted a small advert for an apprentice at a florist shop and decided to apply for the position. I got the job and started working with Ken Hayford in Victoria.
The role involved floristry, interior landscaping and landscaping small gardens in Central London. I also studied part time at Capel Manor, where I took a number of courses including general horticulture, plant identification, pests and diseases.
Could you tell us how your career has progressed?
I spent fours years with Ken Hayford. It was an amazing experience and we had lots of high profile clients. But I decided to leave to go and work in a garden centre in Primrose Hill. There, my role involved looking after residential gardens and some floristry.
When did you join Indoor Garden Design?
I often visited New Covent Garden Flower Market and got to know lots of people there. That’s how I met Ed Wolf, who founded Indoor Garden Design. At that time, I was living in Camden and that’s also where Ed’s company was based. One day, I went in and the rest is history…that was 21 years ago.
My first job at Indoor Garden Design was as a technician. And within a year, I’d worked my way up to a supervisory role, before going on to becoming a trainee and then assistant manager. In those days, Indoor Garden Design provided plants for offices. So, for example, we’d supply and look after all the plants at Reuters, both in the reception area and throughout the offices.
My career continued to progress to a more supervisory level. And Indoor Garden Design started to take on exterior work. For example, an office would have a roof terrace and we’d provide the planting.
What is your current role at Indoor Garden Design?
I’m now the Creative Director. And I became a director after working at the company for twelve years. Pippa Robinson and David Grace are the other two directors. Pippa is responsible for HR and personnel, the day-to-day running of the business and logistics. David is in charge of sales and responsible for the technical side.
Could you tell us about the kind of services that Indoor Garden Design offer?
The services we offer now are completely different to when I first started working for the company. Back then, it was just plants in offices. Our style of work began to change when building styles started to change, especially in Canary Wharf. Architects are now designing atriums for office buildings to bring light to all the floors in a building. And we work with them to devise planting schemes for these new spaces. At the same time, the exterior side of our business expanded with roof terraces and window boxes. Our client list now includes IPC Media, ITV and Deloitte. In the last five years, we’ve also started working with retail outlets, restaurants, hotels and events. Hotels wise, we’ve been working with St Pancras Renaissance, County Hall, The Grosvenor, The Connaught and The Mandarin Oriental. On the retail side, we’ve been working with Heal’s, Harrods, Selfridges and fashion brand ACNE. And we’ve also been working with the Rooftop Café at The Exchange, where we created an English country garden with herbs and vegetables.
Could you tell us about your ‘In Bloom’ service?
As an alternative to weekly flowers in a reception, we provide seasonal flowering plants and we always try to use British grown varieties. For example, spring bulbs and Phalaenopsis orchids.
Where do you get inspiration for your designs?
I get inspiration from everywhere, but not generally from the most obvious places, like garden shows. I’m inspired by art and often visit the Victoria & Albert Museum. Also, I’m inspired by fashion and photography.
How would you define interior landscaping?
Interior landscaping is the practice ?of designing, installing and caring? for living plants in enclosed environments, usually in large commercial spaces such as offices, hotels, restaurants and retail.
Planting indoors can soften, enhance and complement the design and aesthetic ?of a building. It also offers focal points and can help sculpt and shape or ?define a space. And interior landscape designers will often ?work with architects and interior designers ?to create a plant installation for a new building.
The industry covers design, build and installation of plant schemes both large and small. As well as offering a full maintenance service of planting schemes. Interior landscaping also covers flowering plants and offers Christmas services such as installing and dressing Christmas trees.
What advice would you give to someone looking to enter the world of horticulture?
Things have changed a lot since I started my career. There are lots of full-time courses now, like Amenity Horticulture and Interior Landscaping. I’d recommend taking a course and also backing it up with work experience, either part-time or as a volunteer. You really can’t beat first-hand experience.
Have you noticed any recent trends in office plants recently?
More and more offices are having feature areas, rather than pots placed here and there. So, we’ve been installing plants in break-out and relaxation areas. Also, there’s a trend of using plants to make it look like the outside is coming inside. So rather than palms, we’re seeing a lean towards using trees like Fiscus.
Could you tell us what you’ve been working on lately?
We’re involved in the BAFTAs, providing plants for the back stage area where the actors’ interviews take place after they’ve received their awards.
Do you have favourite plant and flower?
It varies. At the moment, plant-wise it’s the Vanda orchid with its exposed roots. And I love all the spring flowers like daffodils.
If someone if looking for a fail-safe plant to have in their home, what would you recommend?
Succulents are easy to care for and tough. They work well in a bathroom, as long as the room has natural daylight. Money plants, spider plants, Phalaenopsis orchids, Anthuriums and peace lilies are also safe bets.
Thank you so much to Ian for all his help in compiling today’s blog post. If you’d like to see more landscaping designs from his company, do visit the Indoor Garden Design website.
To keep up-to-date with news from Indoor Garden Design, here’s where you can find the company on social media:
(Images : Indoor Garden Design)