Top of our lists, always: impromptu trips, long-planned holidays, or weekend jaunts to the hills. We’ll take travel any way we can get it, and living, as we do, in urban jungles, instead of the verdant sort we’d like, we’re extra partial to trips (or holiday dreaming) that involve large expanses of green.
We caught up with a pair that are living our dreams, pairing travel with photography. Readers, meet Magnus and India, the twosome that run an über cool collective based out of Sheffield, England. They’ve spent a large chunk of their lives travelling to glasshouses, pavilions, orangeries and all manner of green spaces, and then they photograph them for the delight of those of us who haven’t gotten there (yet).
Here they tell us about their home, and monsteras and cacti so green that our treehouse is fading in comparison. Magnus and India answer the Nico Q&A.
Magnus and India, hello! Tell us about yourselves.
Hello! We live in Sheffield and we spend a lot of our time travelling around the UK (India is a photographer), and we like to visit greenhouses.
How did Haarkon come about?
“Haarkon” is Magnus’ brother’s middle name – it’s Danish and we wanted a name that could move with us and not be too specific. The whole thing started because we like to make the most of our travels and share them via the website or Instagram so that other people might follow in our footsteps. It’s a glorified travel diary for us really, allowing us to keep track of where we’ve been.
#HaarkonGreenhouseTour. Tell us more.
We’ve always visited botanical gardens and naturally gravitate towards the greenhouses – Oxford was the first that had a real impact on us and we figured that we can’t be the only ones that feel the same way. There’s something about the way that the glass plays with the light and the idea of a curated indoor garden that really appeals to us. We’ve kind of carried on that idea in our own home and surrounded ourselves with plants.
What’s next for Haarkon?
We want to see more! We’ve compiled a long list of greenhouses around the world that we’d love to see for ourselves. The great thing about greenhouses is that you see a lot of other things along the way – as you’ll know from our website, we like to explore.
Recommendations on infusing greens in tropical Indian homes?
The most important thing that we’ve found with our own houseplants is to know your environment and to do research before you commit. Plants have specific needs and if they’re not met they’ll not be very happy and that’s how people lose interest – they think that if they fail once then they’re not green-fingered and won’t try again. Some tropical plants can be poisonous if eaten so it’s really worth paying attention if there are small children around.
What colours would we find in your home?
Our home is decorated with a neutral palette; most of our walls are white, some are grey and our furniture is either black, grey or a pale beech. We shy away from bright colours so really the green foliage dominates and we choose plants that don’t really flower. Similarly when we visit other spaces we find ourselves being very aware of colour – we like our minimal colour palette!
India, we hear you’re the photographer in the pair; what made you take up capturing greens?
Hello. My camera usually comes everywhere with me and I believe that my best work comes from the level of engagement I have with my subject. Haarkon gives us an output for the images that I would normally take anyway and we always want to share what we are genuinely interested in. These places are places we find for our own enjoyment and the sharing bit comes as an after-effect.
Tips on travelling?
Get up early to make the most of the daylight – the best light is first thing in the morning or just before sunset. We find that being the first visitors to a garden/greenhouse means that we have the place to ourselves which is always a bonus. Don’t forget to eat!
What’re you listening to right now?
In the car we just listen to the radio and flit between various stations. At home I (India), work with all kinds of music and like to play it really loud whereas Magnus likes to work with his headphones in, but that could be something to do with my awful singing.
Books on gardening/general wildlife that you’d recommend?
We can’t walk past a charity shop without checking the shelves – we have a whole host of bargain books from past decades that are still incredibly relevant.
Place in India that you’d like to visit when here?
Magnus visited a long time ago but we’ve yet to visit together – we’d like visit Kerala for some wildlife and Chandigarh for the architecture. I think we’d very quickly get over our aversion to bright colours!
On your photography bucket list:
One of the many places on our list is Iceland and the Faroe Islands – we love a cold climate and the awesome forms that nature takes. We recently returned from the Highlands in Scotland and were astounded by the scale and colours in the geography.
A day in the life of Haarkon looks like:
If we’re on the road it normally starts with an early awakening and a Premier Inn breakfast. We would head to a greenhouse or two that we’ve had on our list and take our time to photograph it and generally drink it all in. We talk about our ‘favourites list’ and collate our personal notes on a place while we take the long route home. We do a fair amount of research before we head out so that we can take a detour to see something interesting along the way and really make the most of our petrol money.
Haarkon sent us a postcard from Edinburgh, here.