24 July 2015

Columbia Road; Why I'm a Sucker for Succulents

Ok, I am a hoarder. I feel so much better with that off my chest. I'm nowhere near as bad as my mum (she has an entire python skin in the loft from her day's in Africa, Lord knows why she kept it) but I collect things. Shells being the main hoard as discussed here, but also jars and bottles (because you never know when you'll make a jam or flavoured gin), almost 30 house plants, and lots of recipes I've never made but have torn out and kept from various magazines. Oh and then there's the one thing I haven't mentioned which is photos.

Believe it or not I've narrowed done the amount of photos in this post. I know you're shocked, I'm shocked, this blog has almost frozen in shock from having too many photos to load but it's true. I take hundreds of photos when I'm out, I'm officially the definition of snap happy. I'd be embarrassed but there are worse obsessions...a lot worse.

These photos were snapped before I went to meet my friends Alex and Janet for a bit of retail therapy and doughnuts, Crosstown doughnuts to be precise, which you can drool over here. I initially took a trip to Old Street to go photograph some street art but then I realised it was a Sunday, and Sunday's mean Columbia Road's flower market is on and that means more plants to indulge my house plant obsession so I went there instead. It's pretty easy to get to, just follow the route the stream of people with flowers are walking away from.

I've written about Columbia Road before, you can see it here if you fancy more flower photos and the ones in this post are not enough. Before my friend Emily and I went for a stroll around Columbia Road, bought some herbs (which by the way are still going strong except the thyme...) and ate brunch at The Breakfast Club. Back then, I was mucking about with my friend's old Olympus DSLR and I think you can tell I was a big old newbie when it comes to taking photos. I mean I'm still a newbie now, but I'm throwing myself in the deep end and trying to learn more about photography.

This Sunday I had one thing on my mind going to that market and that was succulents. Succulents have been super trendy for the last couple of years, they require very little care and are happier indoors (mostly), plus they replicate like crazy so you know if you or someone else breaks one (which you might because they're really fragile) it doesn't matter because you just take the leaf, water it a little and it'll grow another one.

I'm always on the hunt for new types of succulents and Columbia Road has a lot, alongside all the cut flowers, of which the peonies and hydrangeas are the most popular. This year there's been a lot more plants on offer as opposed to just cut flowers, which is a nice change to stall after stall of peonies. I love peonies as much as the next person, although hay fever sufferer and man friend Dan calls them instant headache so I rarely (if ever) have them at home, but it's nice to see a bit of variety.

With all the succulents and cacti on offer, it was hard to narrow down which ones would come home with me (it's always hard to narrow down). This is the one obsession Dan lets me go wild with, he hates my jars, recipes and, in particular, shells. However, show him a plant and he's all 'is one enough'. Let me just say one house plant is never enough.

The worst thing is I've become a crazy plant lady. Not just because we have loads, but I'm also turning them constantly so they get an even amount of light, replanting them every month or so, and the worst of all I worry about them when we go away. It's all has it got enough water, what if it hasn't got enough light, will it be ok? I have to lay wet towels in the bath and sinks, and pile all the plants in before long weekends, and I've even asked friends to come and water them. Reading this I am 100% crazy, but there are some pros about having plants, they never cover me in hair, I don't have to worry about what their doing when I'm at work and whether their destroying the house, and my house never smells of cat or dog...just soil. I realise I'm likening my plants to pets, but Sally the succulent means a lot to me. 

Judge me all you want but I'm not changing. It was a good job I had a limited budget of £8 at Columbia Road Market, ok I had more but I spent it on cake and tea. The result was three new succulents, although I had my eye on the blossoming neon cacti, Dan would not have approved of their fake coloured blossoms. I'm all about a bit of fakery but I have to share my house with Pod (if you haven't seen Snog, Marry, Avoid you need to correct that right now). I sacrifice a lot for Dan; peonies, fake coloured cacti, it's too much I tell you!

I love Shoreditch, yeah it's full of hipsters but we all have a little hipster inside of us. I love the markets and the pop up restaurants, the graffiti and the buskers. I particularly liked these guys who were playing some cool Persian style folk music, and there was another man down the end doing some sad indie ballad (cry me a river). Columbia Road is definitely worth checking out next time you're round there even if the flower market's not on to check out all the shops and grab a bit of brunch/lunch/dinner/drinks. 

A word to the wise, if you fancy heading to Columbia Road Market DO NOT:

- Go if you're an agoraphobe. You're packed in to the road with flower stalls on either side tighter than a tin of sardines;

- Get there late. The flower market winds down at 12am and gets super busy so head there for 9am to escape the masses;

- Eat breakfast before you go. I would 100% recommend grabbing coffee or a juice while you're there, and sampling some pastries in the cafes on either side.

But do buy lots and lots of flowers, succulents and plants galore, and stand around swaying to folk music, we're pro being a hippy here!

If anyone has any recommendations on any London garden centres or where to buy more succulents drop me a comment below. Do you think I'm a crazy plant lady or are you also a crazy plant person, if so what's your fave? Although I've talked about how much of a sucker I am for succulents in this post I'm also a keen herb gal (legal herbs only readers). 


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