In a mammoth warehouse on the corner of Queen Street and Dunning Avenue in Rosebery, James Stevens (who also founded delivery-service Roses Only) has spent the past year cultivating Mr Roses, an online business dedicated to delivering premium roses, champagne and Adora chocolate.

But the sprawling 1000-square-metre space had more potential, and when lockdown arrived, confining people to their homes, Stevens realised it was time to brighten up their living spaces.

“I don’t know about you – and I’m sure there are studies that prove this – but whenever I’m surrounded by greenery I just feel much more calm,” he tells Broadsheet. “I think with people working from home more, they realised their home office needs a bit more life, so a lot of people have been turning to indoor plants.”

The warehouse is now home to Plant Base, a new venture that’s seen it stocked with hundreds of plants in all shapes and sizes. There are indoor varieties to put in sunny corners; succulents that fit perfectly on your desk; larger shrubs for outdoors; and a limited range of flower arrangements, with a focus on Australian natives, oriental lilies, sunflowers and, of course, long-stem roses.

Ellie the Elephant (a life-size baby elephant statue with pride of place on the warehouse floor) watches over the ever-changing inventory. A shipment of hanging baskets could mean donkey’s tail cascading overhead one week, and large birds of paradise might transform the warehouse into a jungle oasis the next.

“It’s quite a tranquil space,” Stevens says. “I think people feel like they’ve walked into a bit of a sanctuary. It’s certainly not a rainforest, but it’s got a good, calm feel about it. I love seeing people’s faces and the feelings they get.”

Fiddle-leaf figs, golden cane palms and peace lilies are some of the more popular varieties in-store (and online, where a limited number of plants are available). There are also pots sourced from around the world, including terracotta from Tuscany and ceramics from local makers.

Will & Co has a coffee cart on-site, and there are also almond croissants and poached pear danishes from enormously popular Clovelly bakery Tuga Pastries. When the weather begins to heat up there’ll be chairs and tables set up out the front (though you’re welcome to wander the store while eating and drinking).

Stevens has been surrounded by flowers his entire life. As a kid his father would take him to the flower markets before the sun had risen, and he’d spend days helping out at the family’s flower stall near Town Hall. It planted the seed for a lifelong love affair with blooms, which has seen him expand Roses Only from Australia to the US, UK and Singapore, as well as launching Mr Roses last year.

Plant Base
57-59 Dunning Avenue, Rosebery
1300 677 673

Hours:
Mon to Sun 9am–5pm

plantbasesydney.com.au