Collingwood's industrial fringe is inscrutable. Sure, you can easily spot the usual players, such as panel-beaters and welders, but among the rows and rows of faceless warehouses, there are far more enchanting things hidden. Such as a jungle.
The jungle is Loose Leaf and is nothing like your average high-street florist. Loose Leaf is run by Charlie Lawler with his partner, Wona Bae. The duo met in Germany 10 years ago. He was working for the UN, she was doing her Masters in German floristry. She also grew up on a flower farm, and ran her own shop in Korea for seven years.
The front section of the roomy warehouse belongs to Bae, and it's packed with stunning blooms of all varieties. Her only dictums are freshness and seasonality. Alongside standards such as lilies and roses, you will find a hydroponic pineapple sprouting from a giant jar, plus blowfish-like Swan plants and small wire frames containing “air plants”, which grow sans soil, or any other substrate.
Lawler's no slouch, either. His grandparents owned a nursery in Hobart, and he has a background in permaculture. His share of Loose Leaf is populated by hardy, low-maintenance plants like the Rat's Tail Cactus, hordes of exotic-looking succulents, and intricate terrariums by Lulu & Angel.