• Avant Gardener Profile: Geoffrey & Mathias

    PHOTOGRAPHY:
    Louisa Ben

    Meet Geoffrey Justeau and Mathias DĂ©on, a pair of green-thumbed Parisians with an infinite curiosity for everything botanical. Join us as we spend some time in their 11th Arrondissement apartment, talking to them about their journey with plants and how they incorporate them into their lives.

    In your own words, can you introduce yourself and describe what you do professionally. What is your place of residence? What is your current state of mind?

    Geoffrey Justeau, Copywriter

    Mathias DĂ©on, Communications Director

    We both live in Paris. After 8 years in the 11th arrondissement, where these photos were taken, we have just moved into a new apartment in the 12th. On the 7th floor, bathed in light, with two large balconies (to put even more plants!) and a view of the Coulée verte.
    A pot of Chinese money plants and Tradescantia purple passion grows from glassware on the fireplace frame next to a collection of Polaroid pictures with a mirror behind all.
    Mathias and Geoffery move pots of plants in their living room with a shelf of books and a buttock-like sculpture with books above it.
    A pair of hands plant a plant into a pot with gardening tools, a mini shovel and a mini rake with a blue book around it on a brown marble table.
    On the table, there is a bowl of fruits with bananas, grapes, plums, pears and kiwis, a white radio, a head statue, three plants growing in different shapes of glass vases, a ceramic-like jug and a calendar. Also a framed black and white picture on the wall shelf.
    A photograph of Mathias and Geoffery with a collection of their house plants in the room.
    A pot of Fiddle-leaf figs grows in a dark brown pot on the table alongside other stuff and a few pots of plants on the table. There’s a canvas art hung on the wall.
    Have you always loved plants?

    Both: Always!

    Mathias: As a child, my parents had reserved a patch of garden for me where I could grow, replant, and take cuttings from right to left. Having a balcony has become essential to us! We love spending time there, watching our plants grow and bloom again year after year. And we love houseplants a lot too!

    Geoffrey: During school holidays at the grandparents, I kept a herbarium and kept seeds in notebooks, like precious stones. I remember my grandmother would proudly offer the dahlias from her garden to her guests, and to this day we still have flowers in our house, whatever the season. It is a pleasure to go and choose new ones every week.

    Why and when did you start collecting plants?

    Geoffrey: Mathias and I have a tradition. We always bring back seeds or small plants during our weekends or our trips, just wild plants found on our way. We find it is the best memory of a place. We are very attached to a cactus that we picked by the side of a road in Puglia during the summer of 2021.

    What was the first plant in your current collection? What is your most precious plant to you and why?

    Mathias: There are several: outside is our Virginia Tulip tree, the first tree we bought, found at a florist at Porte de Clignancourt. A real favourite because of its large stem (which has grown quite a bit too!). We brought it back by motorbike, it was an epic journey. We also really like our Indian lilac, a gift from Geoffrey's parents. In summer it makes beautiful pink flowers!
    Tradescantia purple passion on a shelf of books and there are a few books displayed on the wall shelf.
    A blue-grey cat on the bed with a light greenish blue duvet cover and pillows. Next to the bed, there’s a black bedside table with some books layered up and a pot of plants on top of it.
    Mathias standing in front of a white wall holding a pot of Tradescantia purple passion flouring in front of his face.
    A photograph of Mathias and Geoffery’s balcony filled with plants and the city buildings as background.
    Mathias sat on the sofa reading in the living room which are filled with a lot of books, plants, pieces of furniture and other decorations.
    Geoffery standing in front of the white wall holding a pot of Fiddle-leaf fig and staring at it.
    Do you have a routine for taking care of your plants? How do you use Sowvital products in this routine?

    Mathias: I love taking care of our plants. Every week we offer them the Sowvital 3 step kit: cleanse the leaves, nourish with watering and finish with the Sowvital Spritz. The effect is clearly visible. Some of our little plants have doubled or even tripled in size in 2-3 months.

    Which plant(s) do you plan to buy soon?

    Now we want bigger plants, trees! We would love to have an umbrella pine, a cypress, and we dream of a weeping willow!

    Has anyone in your family or a friend passed on their taste for plants to you? How did this transmission go?

    Geoffrey: My paternal and maternal grandparents were all growers, some full-time, others in addition to their profession. Flowers and vegetables only came from their plot, it seemed crazy to them to go and buy some in the store. I would love to have the luxury of growing everything myself, but in Paris having a balcony is already unexpected.
    Mathias standing in front of the white wall holding a pot of cactus in a terracotta pot.
    A pot of plants next to a red table lamp and a few box-like objects on a white cupboard. And there is a framed poster hung on the wall.
    An arm holding a pot of cactus with a terracotta pot in the air with a blue sky and buildings in the city as the background.
    A pot of plants is in the bathroom next to the bathtub and there are shower products soaps next to it.
    A photograph of Mathias holding their blue-grey cat while Geoffery holding a pot of plants with a collection of house plants surrounded in the room.
    5 pictures of Polaroids on the mirror box with a dried leaf in a sample-like packaging.
    Do you share cuttings with friends or family?

    Mathias: Yes often! We babysat a neighbour's plant while on vacation. He lived in a very dark apartment and she was wasting away. With us, in a month, she had regained her strength and we returned her to much better health. To thank us, he made us a cutting. I also have a tradescantia that I cut and offer to my friends as it is so easy to grow.

    Do you eat or cook some of your plants?

    Geoffrey: We love using our own herbs like thyme, parsley or chives. We would love to get into bigger ones, like tomatoes, or salad leaves, but that takes up space.

    A huge thank you to Geoffrey and Mathias for inviting us into their home and sharing their own botanical world with us.
    Mathias and Geoffery were in front of the white wall, while Geoffery squatted down holding a pot of Fiddle-leaf figs above his head and Mathias helped him balance it on the top.