• Avant Gardener Profile: Nicholas Rogers

    Clara Mary Joy

    Join us as we sat down with Tottenham based craft expert and plant lover Nicholas Rogers back in 2022. An avid ceramicist, Nicholas works with local crafters from around the UK to create bespoke pieces for the contemporary home, the influence of which can be seen throughout her apartment. The symbiotic nature of Nicholas’ two passions is perfectly embodied in the vegetable themed ceramics that line her kitchen shelves.

    Nicholas, could please tell me, in your own words, a little bit about who you are and what you do?

    I currently work for The New Craftsman, specifically in home and craft furnishings. I’m a creative person, which means that's a really good way for me to be in touch with people making things, as well as, you know, discussing with people their aesthetic preferences and the kinds of crafts they like.

    So where do you call home?

    I would call home the northeast of England, where I came from. Durham, primarily, because my parents still live there.

    That’s quite serendipitous that you now live in the North East of London…

    I know. It’s the new Newcastle here!

    I’d like to thank you again for welcoming us into your home, which I have to say has such a calming atmosphere! What is your current state of mind?

    I’m not sure. My state of mind… is quite relaxed today. It’s my day off, so I have been able to take care of my house and my personal life.

    Does plant care come under that umbrella?


    Have you always loved plants? Have you grown up around house plants or greenery?

    Yeah! I’ve got an aspidistra which came from my mum, which she was given by my Grandma. So, in answer to your questions, yes we’ve always had plants, my mum loves gardening. And I’ve always had plants in my London flats since moving down here, space allowing!

    So, you’ve had your current collection for a while. Can you remember the first plant you got in London?

    Yes, but unfortunately it’s no longer in my current collection. Originally, moving to London, I lived in a basement flat which had one ceiling light, and I bought one of those IKEA trees that had a braided trunk, but that’s what you do when you're a student, you buy everything from IKEA. And that sadly died, when it was moved to a better lit area it withered, it was used to the basement flat! But, of the ones I still have now, and continue to try and nurture, the oldest are my spotted begonias, which that I’ve carried from house to house across London.
    What dedication! Do you have a routine to care for your plants?

    Yes, it’s usually every Sunday. Sunday consists of house cleaning and plant replenishing. They receive really good care when I’m having a holiday from work, they each get a new pot and a little more attention. But ordinarily, every Sunday is for watering and cleaning.

    What's the most important lesson you've learned through the trials and tribulations of raising plants?

    Try not to move them around too much! Usually, it takes a little while for a plant to get used to an area, or for them just to kind of get their boundaries, especially if you move location. For a period of my life, I moved every year in London, and they suffered. So I would advise trying not to do too much to them, they just need to settle and adjust.

    Where do you look for advice on your plants?

    I look online mainly. I try to research into what plants I'm getting to make sure that they fit in with my location. I tend to head Instagram for more specific advice from plant carers, and then I go to Google if I can’t find the answer there.

    And how do you feel like plants have integrated within or compliment, or even challenge, the aesthetic of your space and your interior design?

    I think having plant life in a room, especially in the city, is super important. I think it makes every room feel like it is a little bit more clean, a little bit more fresh. I think that will immediately elevate any sort of interior design. Other than that, I think it's a challenge to find the time sometimes, but if you make a schedule for yourself and really spend the time looking after them, they're only going to get better over time and, ultimately, improve the aesthetic of your home. It's all about having a routine. It’s the only way to do it. People get distracted, and get busy going out and enjoying the green spaces that we have in London, when they really could be fostering their own green spaces at home…

    Totally! So, how do you maintain your green space when you leave London?

    Ha! I usually have a cat sitter, who very kindly waters my plants as well. But ordinarily I’m not away for very long, so usually I can water and take care of them before I go away. Also, I love the slow feeders, the ones with the glass bulbs at the top, although I think I may have broken all of mine… But I think they are so beautiful, like a piece of jewellery for the plant, but I don’t have any at the minute.

    I guess that’s just an inevitable symptom of moving so much!

    Totally! I’ve only just got shelving to put my ornaments on, and ornaments are such a huge thing for me!
    I see that! I was actually just about to ask you about your vegetable ceramic collection…

    Yes, so most of them I have collected, but some of the ceramics I’ve made myself, from when I travel back home to see my mum for my Christmas. She is a fuse glass artist and a stained glass artist, so she has a small gallery and some kilns, and she has moved in to doing ceramics as well. I love going for Christmas because we sit in the greenhouse and it's this really old kind of wooden Victorian greenhouse, and it’s freezing because you're up north and its absolutely dire, but she has a potter’s wheel and a kiln in there. So last year I made something like twenty to thirty different pots and painted each one (and you can tell mine from within the collection because they’re always the misshapen ones), and I gave them as gifts to my friends.
    I just love novelty homewares and novelty handbags too, so I have quite a few, some with flowers on. I collect things from car boot sales and vintage markets, I like a variation, and some my friends have bought me, like my tangerine mug, from markets in Brighton.

    So, it’s really like a working collection?

    Yes, totally! And I’ve finally moved out of a kitchen and living room combo, and now that I have a separate kitchen I can finally display my utensils on their own shelves! So yeah, a weird collection of ornaments.

    They're perfect. They're very idiosyncratic, which is such a nice touch. Your home has a lot of personality!

    Thank you! When I first moved in, I had all my plants on a table in the front room getting the most sun possible, trying to propagate them so I could have as many lush plants as possible around the house. And then I was like I really need to move everything off my dining table so that I can eat…

    There is such a feeling of calm and peace in settling into your own home, can you describe to me your idea of perfect happiness?

    I would say that my idea of perfect happiness at the minute, is having time to see friends and family, and also having the time to work on yourself. I think that’s the main thing. I also think that a lot of people are coming out of lockdown with the realisation that material happiness is not interesting, and for a lot of us the most valuable thing is having the time to spend with people you love, doing nice things and making memories!

    Do you have a trait that value most in your friends?

    Honesty. Honesty is the main one. You never want people around you who are dishonest, or don’t have your best interests at heart. And to be reliable. Reliability is very important.

    Other than a supernatural green thumb, are there any talents you wish you had?

    Oh, yes, I would love to be able to sing, or play an instrument. My brother is very musical, and I’ve always been very, very jealous. But then again I am very creative, which is a nice balance.

    Do you have a motto?

    Not yet, I’m working on it.