By Claudia de Yong. I was invited by eFig and Ian Drummond , Creative Director at Indoor Garden Design to again join three other judges for Office Plant of the Year.
The judging takes place in Highgate, North London at Indoor Garden’s Headquarters and despite being the hottest day of the year so far and the first day of the Olympic Lanes being operational, I managed after three hours to arrive in time from Sussex.
I was joined this year by fellow judge Mathew Appleby of Horticultural Week and two new faces, Phil Evans of Planteria News and Rhiannon James, of The City Planter.
The three plants this year which had been narrowed down by voters who were asked ‘ Which plant makes you feel good, has a calming effect or you just like being round?’ were:
We all sat at a table deliberating and getting up at times to have a closer look at the three plants, which were displayed, in the room. The Vanda Orchid was hanging down with its wonderful root system on full display and vivid purple blooms adorning its head. The Ficus was magnificent specimen with a twisted trunk but the poor Sansevieria looked lost and alone in a small pot in the middle.
However, probably due to the heat we decided quite swiftly three to one that the Vanda Orchid would take first place and despite the Sansevieria looking a bit pathetic it actually tied for second place with the Ficus as we all agreed it does look great when planted en mass which is how it would be in an office situation and looks just as sleek and architectural as the Ficus does.
The main message for this process is to help people understand the health benefits of having plants in an office environment.
Plants are not there simply for aesthetics but to aid the purification of the air, reduce stress and anxiety, improve concentration and performance, affect our creativity and generally increase a good feel factor.
I suggested to Ian that next year the judging should take place in the South of France. Not sure I will get my way or even be asked back!