Growing A Jungle In My New York Apartment

SUMMER RAYNE OAKES: I think my friends and strangers alike, like they come into my house
and they don’t even say anything at first, it’s just kind of like the jaw drop. SUMMER RAYNE OAKES: Hey there. Welcome to my apartment. COMM: This is Summer – an environmentalist, model and author, who has over 500 plants in her Brooklyn apartment. SUMMER RAYNE OAKES: So, when people come into the house, I like this element of feeling
like they are walking through a forest. My friends would always get like whacked in the
face with the branch, but I was like, ‘That’s the point, you’re like walking through the forest.’ COMM: Over the past six years she has amassed a staggering collection of indoor plants. INTERVIEWER: So how many different types of plants?
SUMMER RAYNE OAKES: I would say that this is a borderline obsession. SUMMER RAYNE OAKES: So this is my kitchen space and I love it because I love the green
on the walls and the green plants. This is kind of a cool plant. It’s called the toothache
plant and if you eat this, it’s kind of like getting a shot of Novacane with a little
Sichuan pepper involved. My mom and dad named me like Summer Rayne, like a lot of people
ask me if that’s my real name. My dad always jokes like, ‘You could have become a porn
star or an environmentalist.’ SUMMER RAYNE OAKES: And that’s my couch. Just like a little, just like a little place
to kind of just come and sit and rest and relax. SUMMER RAYNE OAKES: So this is the place where I kind of like work/sleep. SUMMER RAYNE OAKES: This is the first plant that started it all. This is my fiddly fig.
I grew up in the country, so it was so natural for me to have like plants in my life. In
fact like, I think it’s so unnatural not to have plants. In August, I converted this
from a closet to a kitchen grow garden. So I have everything from like lemon scented
geranium to broadleaf thyme, taro root, Cuban sage, bananas, have some pineapples, we have
some micro greens, this is peppercorn. That’s a sweet potato, this is actually what the
little slip of the sweet potato will eventually grow into, and you can actually even see the
sweet potato starting to pop out of the soil, so that will probably be ready for picking
in about a month’s time which is totally cool. COMM: Summer typically spends around $100 a month on plants and 30 minutes a day taking
care of them. SUMMER RAYNE OAKES: It’s hard to walk into a plant shop without wanting to buy a plant. It’s tough. MADELINE SACHS: Yeah, she is in here all the time. She is always buying plants or pots or dirt. COMM: And it’s not just money and time that she invests in her evergrowing collection. SUMMER RAYNE OAKES: This is kind of like whacky, but I started to read one of these books and
it talked about like plants and music. And wouldn’t you know that plants do have a preference
for different kinds of music? And I thought that was like pretty cool, so they prefer
Vedic chants. SUMMER RAYNE OAKES: And then it goes into classical music. SUMMER RAYNE OAKES: Then it goes into rock music. SUMMER RAYNE OAKES: And then it goes into heavy metal. SUMMER RAYNE OAKES: And then it goes into no music. So I thought like, ‘Wow, super
trippy,’ but then at the end of the day, like they’re living breathing creatures
and, you know, what’s great about them is they don’t like, talk back. Now that I found
out that plants enjoy the music too then I do play it a little bit louder than before. SUMMER RAYNE OAKES: I don’t really talk to my plants and in that kind of way, although
sometimes. Yeah, sometimes I’ll pass by and I’ll like touch a leaf. There’ll definitely
be like kind of loving energy. COMM: And Summer plans to carry on expanding her plant empire into the future. SUMMER RAYNE OAKES: So how I’d like to carry this on in the future would probably be getting
a plot of land in a community garden, continuing gardening and inspiring others to get their
garden on. SUMMER RAYNE OAKES: I mean I think the new cat lady is the plant lady. I’m gonna be
like crazy plant lady when I get older. I’m already the crazy plant lady.


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