IVY MUSE - Wellbeing With Plants: Alex McCabe

Please tell us a little bit about yourself...

My name is Alex McCabe and I’m the co-founder and creative director of Kip&Co, a homewares and apparel brand we launched seven years, motivated by the simple idea of bringing a little more colour and fun into every corner of the home, and every member of the family.


What do you love most about indoor plants?

When we renovated our home, a big focus for us was how to bring the outside in. The whole home is centred around the view out to the garden, but it's really the indoor plants that complete that goal of having a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor. Plants are like having living art to me, each one is different and I love being able to pick different beautiful pots and vessels to house them. 


How do indoor plants enhance your wellbeing?

I think gardening, including indoor plants, is a really good calming hobby, and a great activity to do with kids. So I love the manual side of it - although admit it is more my boyfriend Bobby who is Chief Gardener at home rather than me! 


In what other ways do plants nurture you?

My mum is a passionate and beautiful gardener and vigneron so plants hold a special nostalgia for me - a sense of home and memories of the freedom of childhood. Bobby and I have just purchased a small vineyard block and so hope to continue the tradition of being connected to plants for our own family. We’re also, like every man and his dog, bingeing on plant-based diet podcasts and trying to incorporate that a little more into our day to day lives. 


What's your favourite plant?

Indian rope hoya; I bought Bobby one last year! It has a single strand of leaves that are tightly curled up (on left below). Super cool. 


What do you find most difficult about plant care?

We have a small indoor garden bed over our kitchen bench that is almost inaccessible and watered on a drip. The tricky thing is that the leaves get that sticky spotty stuff on them from time to time and Bobby has to get the ladder up and precariously pluck them off and spray the whole thing with a natural leaf protector. Its totally worthwhile but having plants within arms reach would probably be a little easier on the stress levels.


Has taking care of plants taught you anything insightful?
Of course! Sometimes we’ve had plants that have been neglected (I’ll put my hand up!) and we’ve had to say goodbye. It's a good reminder that they can’t be ignored, they need to be nurtured and given attention.


What's another wellbeing practice you swear by?
No phones in the bedroom, daily meditation (I swing in and out of this but it's great when you can do it!), a cup of herbal tea before bed, dancing, and enjoying a good glass of champagne when the occasion calls for it.