Lisa ‘Lee Lee’ Winkels is the green thumb that keeps the walls alive at the Rafter & Rose coffee shop.
A laneway on Ellenborough Street covered in leaves big and small with smatterings of colour, leads to the entrance to Rafter & Rose.
The cosy interior is filled with natural light which floods in from the front windows, falling upon hundreds of plants, succulents and jars filled with homemade jams and chutneys.
It didn’t always look like this
When Lisa’s daughter, Elle, and sister Candy opened Rafter & Rose in 2015, Lisa had grand plans of how she wanted it to look.
“I had in envisioned all these walls would be completely covered in growing boxes from the ground to ceiling,” Lisa said.
“With all the top areas where it has full sun, I spent three years trying to grow lavender, rosemary and I wanted to grow a lot of geraniums.
“It is so hot here and everything died.
“After two or three goes I came to the realisation that I need to just bring back my own philosophy that I use at home, if it doesn’t grow and if it doesn’t like you stop fighting it.
“Go with what likes you and grows well in the space.”
From little things, big things grow
Lisa believes anyone can have a go at growing plants at home.
“First of all, grow what you love, don’t mess around with what someone else is doing,” she said.
“Even if you start with one succulent on your windowsill and you end up getting another one, or dividing the one you bought already, eventually you will end up with a windowsill full of beautiful things in one space that brings you joy.”
Lisa also recommends not buying expensive plants and keeping an open mind when choosing what works best in the space you have to work with.
“Once you decide where you want your plants to be, get some advice,” she said.
“Don’t be frightened to ask questions. Let the space decide the plant. Is it light or dark? Say you want a palm inside, some varieties will work and others won’t.”
Let the seeds of an idea germinate
If you have ever tried to keep a plant alive and failed, never fear, you can visit Rafter & Rose anytime and get your indoor plant fix.
If you bump into Lisa, ask her about her plants and she will have you back to believing you can do it after all quicker than you can finish your cappuccino.