Last month, AnOthermag.com editor Laura Bradley asked if we had seen the end of fashion’s love affair with the cactus, with the luscious, exotic orchid gliding into its place. But it seems that while Raf Simons at Dior is relishing a taste of the orient, the rest of us are staying loyal to the prickly charms of the desert succulent, as demonstrated in the latest Love winning post. Indeed, the popularity of Mario Zucchi’s spacious sitting room, liberally strewn with an array of towering, squat and sprawling cacti and loved by Abby Gurney-Read, is perhaps proof that fashions may change, but spiky, drought-resistant style never dies.
"Fashions may change, but spiky, drought-resistant style never dies"
While there may be debate on what is the plant du jour, what is in no doubt is that going green is the foremost furnishing decision you can make. Terrariums, succulents, flowerpots, vertical displays, plants in lampshades, bulbs on windowsills – there are so many ways to fill your house with plant life. And this is all to the good, as research has found that houseplants purify the air and significantly reduce stress levels. Cacti are one of the best options being the ultimate in low maintenance living decoration – while also manifesting themselves in innumerable iterations, as a hat, sofa, bikini and Martin Creed artwork.
So as we consider how to get some spikes into our lives, we ask Gurney-Read why she loved this room, and to name her favourite prickly thing.
Why did you love the cactus lounge?
The wildness of the cacti is the perfect contrast to the curated lines of the room itself. All of that greenery – filling a room with nature is the perfect antidote to living in an urban environment.
Where, ideally, would you put it in the world if it was yours?
I’m a big advocate of the phrase, ‘home is where the heart is’ and at the moment, I am still well and truly in love with London. Perhaps at the top of Primrose Hill – it would be my very own ‘room with a view’.
Who would you invite for a salon style evening within?
Jay Gatsby and a fantastic cocktail – although I would definitely forgo the flapper dress for a monogrammed dressing gown!
What is your favourite prickly thing?
Mrs Tiggywinkle from the Beatrix Potter books. For a while, I was convinced that hedgehogs actually wore cloth-caps and aprons when we weren’t looking.
If you were to fill your house with something, what would it be?
I have always liked the idea of being the neighbourhood cat lady. My housemate is allergic to fur though, so that is on hold for the time being.
What are you looking forward to about the bank holiday?
Notting Hill Carnival! Although this year, thank goodness, I am following it up with a restorative day at my family’s house in Hampshire.
What was the last thing you bought?
Believe it or not – a cactus!