A Conversation With: Zilah Drahn
Meet Zilah Drahn, an LA based consultant of interior plant design and care, purveyor of rare plants, and owner of conceptual gallery, Plants and Spaces. Read on to learn more about her irresistibly passionate love of all things plants and community.
Tell us about yourself. What drew you to curating and specializing in rare plants? Were plants and important part of your childhood and youth?
Ahhh so much to say but yes, I grew up playing in the dirt, making mud pies, digging up random objects, picking flowers, and making bouquets for the neighbors. I always loved plants too. My abuelita would hold my hand in one and the other would be filled with seeds. For as long as I can remember, both my mom and grandma loved plants and had a deep connection. I think I could see that it was strong, and I wondered what the feeling was until I grew up and realized having plants in my space changed not only my atmosphere but my mental state. I got into plants probably in 2015/2016, and my love grew deep. I would spend time with the "plant department" workers at different hardware shops, then moved to nurseries, which then grew to finding the source (the grower) asking lots of questions and learning from doing. I ended up working in plants in 2017 and grew a deeper affinity and deeper knowledge. I knew it was something I wanted to pursue.
What do you love most about what you do?
Oh my goodness, ahhh I love sourcing. I love the hunt of the perfect shaped plant, and I love seeing my clients' faces light up after an install. I love working with people as well as reshaping their perspectives on these plants, as art pieces in their home.
What do you like to wear when you work?
On a sourcing day, I'm in a big sun hat and big boots. On a consultation day, I'm in a button up and some slacks. On a day in the studio, I typically love anything with pockets to stick leaves, cuttings, clippers, etc!
Can you give us a peak of your personal collection? What kinds of plants do you have? Do you continually bring plants home or are you conscious of separating your work from your home?
Hmmmm HAHA! I used to work out of a studio/work space, so it was really hard to separate and I actually loved it. It was this big beautiful south facing studio with beautiful light, and we had all of our plants lined up against the windows, kind of encasing my bed like a jungle.
In my space now, I am very conscious of the placements of my plants, just like my designs. I prefer to have each piece perfectly placed vs just having tons of plants. I think it allows you to really see the plant for what it is and appreciate its beauty and growth.
Do you have a favorite plant? What is it and why?
I have a few rare faves, a philodendron squamiferum - which I'm obsessed with. It has soft hairy arms and is planted in an Umlaut ceramics planter made by Patty herself.
A monstera thai constellation with creamy variegated leaves potted in a chrome vintage planter found in Pasadena and a philodendron Mayoi potted in a vintage foil cylinder with chrome and gold details, found at a vintage shop in Echo Park.
These are a few of my faves. I have a good handful of plants but not as many as I have had in the past. Plants require time and energy that I simply don't have a lot of right now while I grow with P&S!
What has been inspiring you as of late?
Honestly, old home books from the 80's.
What do you like to do to unwind and recharge?
I like to have a bath and get a massage in my neighborhood, then go for a walk. In that order haha.