One of the undeniable beauties of this job is the variety of people we interact with. As life often has it, some end up collaborating with us, some end up working for us, and some, like the central character of this story, tickle our imagination.
Plantismus is a one-man show that's a rare breed in our neck of the woods, even if it’s just another kid from the block. To call the entire concept a mini jungle in an urban setting would only partly describe it. That’s why we took some time to visit Plantismus and enter a world of exotic and lush plant life that’s unique in its own way.
“It all started with my mother,” says Mehmed Mešanović or simply - Meša, the man behind Plantismus, while serving us some delicious tea in his home, decorated by himself.
Image credit: Plantismus
“My mother, along with my grandmother, grew plants and we had lots of them in our home. The first plant I got was a gift from my mother. Then I got another, and another, and from there on, it turned into an obsession as it usually does with any type of collectibles,” he said while grinning. “I go to a couple of my favorite plant nurseries every week to check out if there’s a plant I don’t have in my collection.”
Image credit: Plantismus
“I didn’t embrace it immediately. I battled with depression in my teenage years and plants were my sedative, a therapy I routinely went through to calm down.”
And then Meša explained what’s so enticing about plant life and struck a chord with us.
“I love plants because they teach us how to be patient and that every living being, apart from basic necessities, needs love to grow and evolve properly. Modern life is fast-paced and hectic. Plants teach us to slow down, take a breather and look around ourselves and realize the world turns at its own pace.”
Meša is a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo, Department of Product Design. Besides being a plant addict (as he likes to call himself), Meša enjoys DIY projects and messing around with interior design, which makes it somewhat surprising to learn that Plantismus is still at its very beginning, recently celebrating its first birthday.
As of late January 2018 when the project started, it’s Instagram following grew to 2,6k followers that enjoy hypnotizing images of different plant life.
“Initially, I didn’t want to bother my friends with photos of plant life so I decided to create a separate profile where I could publish anything I want for my own satisfaction. People started to like it and it all felt natural.”
We were curious about many things, one of which was the name.
“I really made that up, it doesn’t mean anything in particular,” Meša said with a cheeky smile.
“I wanted something cool for the name and that’s what I came up with.”
There are close to 90 plants in the Plantismus collection, with different species collected in the past year. The number goes up and down as some expire and new ones take their place. Some come up as gifts and some end up as gifts.
“I’m constantly on the hunt for new plants so every once in a while, there’s something new on the shelves. I also love to gift a lot of plants, which is why a lot of my friends have their homes full of plants.”
What about limited space? What happens when there’s no room to accommodate the new arrivals?
“I add new shelves!”
It’s all about love
“I like to take care of sick plants and create a shelter for them until they get better.”
As he caressed one of his many prized possessions, Meša dropped a bomb on us (figuratively, we were good guests):
“It takes me almost a full day to water and care for all the plants.”
The look on our faces must have been priceless.
“I get up in the morning, start doing the rounds, and when I finish, it’s usually bedtime,” Meša said with a look of content on his face as if that was the only thing he ever wants to do for the rest of his life.
“Some plants need to be showered so I carry them back and forth to the shower. Ones that are too big and heavy get special treatment where I wipe and clean each leaf.”
Our eyes immediately turned to majestic adam (Alocasia), the largest plant in the room, as it was all its fault.
“It takes a lot of dedication and energy but at the same time, I really do enjoy it.”
He took a sip of his tea and continued to profess his love towards all plant life.
“I walk around, inspect and get super excited when a new leaf starts growing that I actually start talking to plants. It may look weird, but I like it.”
To us, it made perfect sense. Love is a key ingredient to any happy relationship, and cultivating a sense of unconditional love is extremely important for overall well-being, and not just yours. Our host agreed with us:
“I really do believe plants feel and absorb the positive energy you project to them.”
Educating people about plants
“Instagram has a huge plant community and I actually met some people there I now call friends,” Meša begins explaining what goes behind the curtain on Instagram.
“I never thought my obsession with plants would garner such interest. A lot of people reach out for a piece of advice, and I try to help everyone as much as I can. The majority of queries revolves around dying plants, at which point I ask for a picture and a few questions. I try to do my best and people seem grateful.”
At this point in our talk, it was time for Meša to share some wisdom regarding best practices of maintaining plant life.
“For plants, the most important thing is to provide the basics: light and water. As a general rule of thumb, every plant should be positioned to “see” the sky. Some like direct sunlight, others prefer a bit more shade. It all depends on the plant itself, watering included so make sure you first get to know your plant and what it needs are.“
“Flowerpots also have an important role because of the material they are made of: terracotta and plastic. Terracotta flowerpots are excellent for succulents and plants that require a dry environment because the pots “breathe” and allow the soil to dry faster. On the other hand, plastic flowerpots hold water better and are more suitable for tropical plants that prefer humid environments.“
As for useful resources, he had some recommendations.
“One of my favorite books on house plants is ‘The House Plant Expert’ by Dr. David Hessayon. It was a gift from a friend and I highly recommend it. As for websites, I frequently visit gardeningknowhow.com and homeguides.sfgate.com on useful tips and tricks about different plants and how to care for them.”
On a final note, we wanted to know about future Plantismus endeavors.
“I’d love to make a living out of this. We’ll see. For now, I plan to create more content for my social media accounts, with a focus on educating people about all things plants.”
Why we chose Plantismus
If you follow our blog and us, then you already have some idea why we did a piece on Plantismus. As we left, we felt a sense of awe and respect. We like sharing these stories about regular people that do what they love and inspire us in doing so. It fills our hearts with glee to see people as young and talented as Meša to follow the path their heart lays out and do what the love. We feel a connection with such people, which is why you’ll be reading a lot more about them in the coming months.
As for Plantismus, you’ll be seeing more of it here on Bazerdžan but we’ll spare you the details for now - let that be a surprise!