Along with becoming dog owners, many of us found ourselves transformed into houseplant parents over lockdown.
For those who are working permanently from home, it doesn’t look like the trend is going to wane.
That’s why green-fingered Sebastiaan Fluchard, 26, who was recently made redundant from his hospitality job, opened Seb’s Urban Jungle at 187-189 Leith Walk. This oasis among the tram works is in the former premises of a supermarket, which they’ve overhauled by stripping back the false ceiling to reveal the original cornices and brickwork.
There’s room to combine all of Fluchard’s passions - houseplants, gifts and food, with a shop adjoining the Brunch Room. At the moment, it specialises in casual dishes, cake and coffee with plans for a hot food and alcohol license next year.
“Boozy brunch and plant shopping is our 2022!” says Fluchard. “Currently, our most popular dish is our avocado and feta sourdough toast. We have a super exciting menu coming in the new year. There will be vitamin filled cocktails and our Monstera Mimosas alongside some original breakfast dishes that you won’t find elsewhere in Leith”.
This isn’t Fluchard’s first foray into the world of plants. He started out with an Instagram account (@sebsurbanjungle) to document his interest, then launched a web shop and opened the original Urban Jungle Coffee House at 101 Easter Road back in February 2020.
“My friend Lynds was the first to encourage me to create an online platform to share my plant journey,” says Fluchard, who imports plants from his home country of Holland. “After starting our Instagram page as a hobby there was a lightbulb moment when it became clear how many people were trying to buy our cuttings. Within weeks we had started building our own website and ordered our first little shipment of plants”.
During lockdown, their first shop survived by offering plants and takeaway coffee through a hatch, and they’ve continued to be popular since restrictions eased. Thus, they had to expand their leafy empire. As Fluchard says, “Our Easter Road shop will stay open, we now just have the luxury to get large deliveries sent somewhere that can cope in terms of space”.