I’ve often wondered what the next big hipster fascination will be after artisan food, coffee and cycling.
Sitting in a hipster coffee shop in Brixton, enjoying two of the above, I realised the next is highly likely to be gardening.
We already see many of these cafes turning into semblances of Victorian conservatories bedecked with ferns, palms, cactis, terrariums and so on.
This particular hipster haunt also had gardening tools on display while books on botanicals were available for customers to dip into.
Meanwhile pop-up market, Brixton Botanicals, sells pot plants to people interested in creating ‘home jungles’ – extreme house-plant cultivation which will see your furniture buried in webs of deep green like some ancient, forgotten civilisation.
According to Guardian journalist Simon Osborne, the house jungle is currently a major trend amongst Millennials right now.
One of his interviewees, Annie Dornan-Smith, speculates that her generation need something to nurture as other life options, especially home-buying and having children, seem increasingly out of reach.
Other cultural forces may also be afoot here.
- Demographics are breaking down. People are experiencing a new freedom to engage in pursuits previously culturally taboo for age-related reasons. Gardening, like knitting before it, is no longer an ‘older person’s thing’. These demarcations are weakening.
- Beards and cycling tap into a retro Victoriana that finds a natural continuity in the house jungle. The connection between beards and house plants is particularly strong – it’s about organic growth.
- Gardening requires kit – and hipster trends thrive on kit. Getting the right tools will be a major precoccupation once this passion becomes fully embedded.
- City dwellers yearn to breathe. Green plants signify a breathable world.
These factors seem to point to one thing: the triumph of the extreme house plant is just around the corner.