Graphic designer and blogger Judith de Graaff of Joelix.com is half of the founder duo behind the Urban Jungle Bloggers movement, which is taking the blogosphere by storm and making it an altogether greener place. Together with fellow blogger and plant lover Igor Josifovic of Happy Interior Blog Judith aims to highlight the beauty and benefits of houseplants and other greeneries in urban spaces.

Every month they, and a growing group of bloggers from around the globe, share ideas to create an urban jungle through styling ideas, DIYs, and green tips & tricks. For September’s Plant&Art topic the Urban Jungle bloggers community teamed up with our monthly #StyleAtMine competition for a plantastic styling challenge in our Urban Jungle category (check out the gorgeous contributions and join in by Sep-30!).

We took the opportunity to catch up with Judith to spread the botanical love.

Tell us a bit on how UJB came about

Two years ago, Igor and I met over coffee in Paris and were just chatting about life, our homes, our travels. We then realized we both really love taking care of our houseplants. As we are both bloggers we decided to start a little series on our blogs about those plants and we called it Urban Jungle Bloggers. We started a groupboard on Pinterest where we would pin inspiring green pictures and I created a logo to use in our blogposts. Our posts went live early September 2013 and in no time other bloggers felt inspired and asked if they could join the series. We picked a topic for the next month and sent it out to a handful of bloggers. And every month more bloggers joined, and our little blog idea grew and grew into a healthy green community of Urban Jungle Bloggers. Now two years later, we just kicked off our third season and more than 800 bloggers are joining in each month to create inspiring planty blogposts and Instagram pictures that we share in our community. It is so much fun to see how people enjoy having plants at home, even when they thought they really had a black thumb. Plants become part of their lives!


Judith’s Plants&Art for #StyleAtMine x #UrbanJungleBloggers

How important is it for you to have plants at home?
Very important: I’ve been collecting and growing plants for years and it’s wonderful to see them grow, change their shape, react to light and water. A few months ago I gathered all my plants (around 150) in one place for a photoshoot and my home looked so empty and without a soul. I missed them. Plants definitely add a lot of life and character to our home and are key elements in our interior decoration. Also, they purify the air, which makes our home healthier too!

Why do you think are plants so popular right now?
Taking care of your own plants is super relaxing: you just focus on one thing: your plant. It’s very therapeutic to unwind from a fast-paced life by pruning, watering, misting, taking off dry leaves, adding fresh soil or fertilizer. It brings us closer to nature, to our roots and helps us realize that the best things in life are free. So cheesy, but it’s true! It is so rewarding if your plant grows a fresh new leaf or starts blooming. It means you’ve done well.

Judith's 'Plantgang'

Judith’s ‘Plantgang’

Do you have some easy styling tips with plants?
I love to gather my plants and make little plant families in various sizes and colors. You can use all different kinds of plant pots for an eclectic or boho look, or make it very easy on the eyes with planters in the same colors. Also, I like putting plants in unexpected places: on the fridge where my cats cannot reach them or on top of a big cupboard. I recently put a few bigger plants in giant plant pots and it made my plants look like sculptures. Sometimes one plant can be enough!

If you had to keep only one plant, which one would it be?
Probably my big Euphorbia succulent. It looks like a cactus (but it isn’t, it’s a succulent) and has growspurts every summer. I love how the new “skin” feels very unlike the older parts, it’s very rubbery and has a different color too. Another favorite is the giant prickly pear plant in our greenhouse. I cut off a paddle from a cactus plant when I was on holiday and planted it directly in the soil at home. It grew like weed and has over a hundred of paddles today.

Judith's Greenhouse

Judith’s Greenhouse

Do you have a secret plant care tip? How do you keep your plants happy and thriving?
One of my secrets is that I tend to forget some of my plants and severely under-water them. One of the main reasons people kill plants is that they want to take really good care of their plants and water (too) often. Also, good drainage is key: simply put a layer of small pebbles on the bottom of your plantpot before filling it with soil. It prevents the roots from rotting. Another secret is that I almost exclusively own easy care-free plants like cacti, agaves, aloë veras, succulents, palm trees and philodendron. They are very forgiving when I don’t water them for a few weeks and I love their shapes and colors.

Thanks for having me at{mine}!

Thank you Judith!

// Step inside the iconic industrial building from the Sixties that Judith calls home: This way please! //