20 Cheeky Questions: Haarkon

Words by
Sally Wilson
Images by
Haarkon
| July 4, 2016

Most weekends you’ll find India and Magnus of Haarkon on the road, or abroad, with a greenhouse as their destination. A bonsai nursery in Cornwall one weekend, perhaps Tropical World in West Yorkshire the next.

The pair take photos as they go, sharing glimpses from inside the warm, idyllic conditions of greenhouses, conservatories and more with their online audience. In this way, the Haarkon project is all about exploration, inspiration and the sense of focus that can arise when you’re in the constant company of plants. Here, India and Magnus tell us about the lifestyle that shapes Haarkon, greenhouse touring and their ultimate plant goals.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself, and your life with plants.
Magnus is a project manager and I’m a photographer, working mainly for editorial clients such as Kinfolk, The New York Times and The Telegraph. We live in a small flat in the North of England and have a growing collection of houseplants. Our plant family began around 4 years ago and we now have over 100 different plants.

Can you also tell us a bit about Haarkon and what role it plays in your lives?
Haarkon is essentially a website where we share photographs of places we have visited and other plant-based discoveries that we make. We shout about great accommodation that we’ve experienced or shops and products we’ve come across. It’s a cross-between a blog of our travels and a tool for others to find inspiration. We also have a map of where we’ve been to be used as a guide.

What does Haarkon mean?
‘Haarkon’ is Magnus’ brother’s middle name – it’s Scandinavian and we just liked the sound and look of the word. We wanted a name for our projects that would be adaptable with what we’re doing and something with a personal connection.

If you were a plant, what would you be?
Magnus
: A fern.
India: I reckon I’d be some kind of orchid or a high-humidity begonia; I’m definitely high-maintenance but a pleasure to be around when the conditions are right for me!

What cheers you up?

Greenhouses. We love finding places where man and nature meet and intertwine.

What is the habit you are proudest of breaking or want to break?
We’ve learnt to keep our heads in our own game and to not care too much about what others are doing – it’s so easy to compare yourself to others and think of yourself as insufficient. We constantly remind each other to stick to our own goals and not pay too much attention to what other people might be doing.

What is your favourite word and why?
We like the word ‘weekend’ because it’s usually the time when we find the best green spaces and we get to spend it together.

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Name a skill you wish you had.
Magnus
: I wish that I was better at spelling. Modern technology has made me lazy.
India: I would like to be able to teleport myself places, but I think Magnus would wish I could drive him somewhere without having a mental breakdown.

What are the three most played songs on your playlist?
We listen to the radio a lot when we’re in the car, so currently:

Desiigner – Panda
Imany feat. Filatov and Karas – Don’t be so Shy
And if we had to choose: Einaudi – In a Timelapse.

If you had to make a garden with 3 plants, what would they be?
So we’re answering this with a complete disregard for the actual conditions of the plants, we’re talking ‘ideal-world’ stuff, oh and our ideal garden is indoors so that we can live in the thick of it…

We’d have: a really mature Monstera with roots that twist and turn and grow up the walls, ferns that become a carpet of different greens and bamboo to give it a tropical feel.

What makes somebody sexy?
Intelligence.

What do you miss most about being a kid?
Lack of responsibilities!

What qualities in people do you admire the most?
Humility, a sense of humour, patience and common sense.

What would you be doing in an alternate life or career?
Our goal is to make Haarkon our life/career together – we’d love to be able to dedicate all of our time to it and to make our work not feel like work.

We really want to eradicate that ‘Sunday night’ feeling, to enjoy every second and to be happy.

What is special about where you live?
We live in an incredibly leafy part of Sheffield (England) that is a ten-minute drive from the Peak District. The best bit is that we’re surrounded by trees and rivers and greenery – we have birds in our small garden and our morning run takes us through the woods.

What’s your favourite kind of weather?
England has such changeable weather – especially in the north where we live, and so we are used to inconsistency. We don’t really mind whatever the weather is doing as long as we are prepared for it! That being said, we just returned from Spain and the heat was very much welcomed by us.

Tell us something that no-one else knows about you.
Magnus
: I was born in the Faroe Islands.
India: I don’t drink coffee.

What is your favourite natural scent?
Greenhouses! Each one is different but they all smell vegetal and warm (if it’s possible to smell warm?!) and we find it very comforting.

What is your favourite garden or greenhouse destination and why?
When we visit new places we always have a conversation afterwards to see if our favourites have changed and so far our favourite is the glasshouses in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. The structures there tick our architectural boxes (we like straight lines and more contemporary feel than the typical Victorian ones) and inside we feel that the planting has a really ‘wild’ feel about it – overgrown enough to feel real but also well-looked after. The gardens are huge and so when you visit you feel as though you have the whole place to yourself – especially if you visit in the rain!

Please share a quote with us that’s significant in your life right now.
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” – William Morris.

You can visit Haarkon’s website and follow along on Instagram to meet your daily required quota of greenhouse plants.

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