The Jungly Minimalist Home of Brenton Beggs

Ok friends, we are bringing you some light lockdown reading with the next instalment of our Wild Ones series. We interviewed Elwood local Brenton Beggs on his epic plant filled mid-century apartment in all of its minimal glory. 

Where is your gorgeous plant heaven located?

The jungle is in a mid-century apartment block overlooking a shared garden in Elwood, Melbourne. Since moving from the inner north late last year, we like to call Elwood ‘Sea change light'. It’s a friendly, quiet pocket of Melbourne by the bay.
My Instagram handle is @thejungleminamilist

So, who lives here? And what do you do by day when not playing with indoor plants?
I live with my very clever wife, Katie, and goofy groodle, Arnott. Katie and I are both landscape architects by day, and Arn is our honorary office manager since we’ve been working at home. 

When did your passion for plants come about and how? 
I caught my passion for plants from my grandpa, who was a keen gardener and plant nerd. I would sleepover at my grandparent’s house and spend all day in the garden and the greenhouse with him, stopping for regular tea breaks and episodes of Bourke’s Back Yard in the evening! He helped me discover a real joy in learning about the weird world of plants, and before I knew it, I was propagating plants in my bedroom and paying extra attention to everyone’s gardens.

Your plant collection. How many are we talking?
To be honest, I hadn’t counted until you asked! Apparently I have about 90 plants at the moment, which is a bit of a shock! 

How would you describe your interior style? Tell us about ‘the minimalist’ bit :)
It’s important to us that we’re intentional about what is in our space. We try to pair things back to only the things we love, leaving plenty of room for white space and light. This approach also means less clutter and time spent looking after things we don’t need or appreciate. It just so happens that I really enjoy learning about and looking after plants… and, luckily, Katie is happy to live with them too! Hence, jungle minimalism!

What was your first indoor plant and what was your most recent purchase?
My first indoor plant was a venus fly trap that my grandpa gave me when I was about seven, my most recent purchase was a Stephania Erecta (I’m quietly obsessed with Caudex plants).

Do you have a 'Drama Queen' plant?
I don’t have time for drama queens. I try to stick with plants that I know are happy to grow in our space. That said, I do try to grow many unusual plants inside! If a new plant species is problematic, I’ll troubleshoot for a season or two, and if that doesn’t work, I’ll find the plant another home. At the moment, I’m testing Caladiums – quite a few have gone dormant for winter and I’m waiting to see what happens next!?

We’re not one to play favourites…BUT, do you have a fave indoor plant and if so why?
I love all Alocasia’s, but particularly the plain-old Alocasia Macrorrhiza (Giant Elephant Ear). It’s not particularly special by most people’s standards but it readily grows in Melbourne’s climate and has beautiful giant green leaves that only increase as time goes on (I get a real kick out of growing enormous leaves inside). I have at least 5 in my collection.

What is your number one tip when it comes to indoor plant care in Winter? Can you share your secrets to keeping all your tropical plants happy in freezing cold Melbs?
Water sparingly, and use a humidifier or spray bottle for plants under your heater’s blast zone! But most importantly - accept that some of your tropical plants will lose foliage through Melbourne’s winter; some will even go dormant. The seasons still apply inside, and it’s much more fun to go with it rather than stress over every lost leaf or two. Spring will arrive eventually!

What’s next on your shopping list? Plants, not groceries.
I think fluffy, weird conifers like Araucaria heterophylla (Norfolk Island Pine) would be amazing inside – I’ll be experimenting with them over the next 12 months.

Favourite plant-y inspo (Instagram) account/s you follow?  

July 21, 2021 — Emily Deneys