After many years designing for Australian fashion houses such as Camilla & Marc and Sass & Bide, Sonia Killmore decided to swap her pencils for secateurs and launch her own business, The Plantarum. It’s an online retail space for small-scale plants, and a greenery consultant for events and installations – The Plantarum is about “creating a harmonious space with plants”, and offering practical and stylish planting solutions.

Killmore was inspired by the growing urban demand for small living spaces. “We’re living in much smaller home environments now, which means we really need to rethink how we live and what we surround ourselves with,” she says. “Having plants in the home has so many positive benefits, it improves air quality and generally lifts your mood. I wanted to create a space where people could source really easy-going plants in beautiful ceramics for their home and work environments.”

Sourcing the plants is a very hands-on process, one Killmore enjoys because she is always learning. Picking from local nurseries and rural properties, she often comes across plants that have been nurtured and maintained by their owners for a long time. When sourcing plants for an event or installation, she looks for species that are really self-sufficient and easy to maintain, such as philodendrons and various succulents. Killmore has curated green installations for restaurants and product launches, working with local businesses such as Monster Children, The Broad Place and Vanishing Elephant, choosing plants that add a point of difference to each space. She is particularly fond of unusual varieties of ferns, plants that can add a dramatic aesthetic without the added high-maintenance.

Alongside plants, Killmore has plans to work with local ceramicists such as Anchor Ceramics and Week End Ceramics, to create custom pots and vessels. She is drawn to the tactile nature and practicality the ceramics represent, “I love the idea that the plants are celebrated in amazing handmade ceramics, as opposed to plastic pots. I like the weight and added texture in contrast to a living, breathing plant.” Her own home has both plants and ceramics in spades. Most of the ceramic pieces have been collected during her travels. “I love bringing back those odd ceramic pieces, gems found in the markets or antique stores.”