For the last year or so, I’ve been trying to transform my bedroom into some sort of botanical/tropical haven (I previously wrote about it here).  Then life got in the way of such trivialities (our four year old was seriously ill in hospital for a couple of months and our lives were truly turned upside down).  During the summer, I started to draw breath again and get back to interiors stuff, but then along came the breast cancer diagnosis and normal life was once more put on hold.

Tropical dreams – my bedroom on a good day


Wild thing – and I’ve got a thing for monstera shadows

However, once I realised I would be on chemotherapy for several months, I decided there was no better time to fill my bedroom with nice restful things.  My course of chemo finished just before Christmas and I’m not going to pretend the bedroom is exactly the botanical oasis I envisioned as my energy levels don’t currently permit much tidying up but the shelf is up and there are plants on it!

From my bed, you can look out of the window on the left and see for miles; first you see chimney pots of my primarily victorian and georgian neighbourhood, then some fields and the canal and finally rolling hills in the distance.  Most days when I’m lying there, the view is enough, but I also wanted ‘something’ on the wall facing the bed.  Normally, I’m all about the big bold artwwork/vintage fabric but for the bedroom I wanted something more discreet and restful.  The perfect solution seemed to be a high shelf across the top of the wall: high enough so that no one banged their head as they walked past (space is a little tight at the foot of the bed) and on the shelf would be some interesting plants in beautiful pots.  The area of wall underneath would remain plain, save for the monstera shadows which are cast across the wall during late morning on sunny days (I never, ever tire of a monstera shadow!)

Bit cheesy, but still very pleasing to look at
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Room with a view – even when lying down in bed!

Anyway, and so to work on this shelf.   Just after my penultimate chemo session in early December, I ordered a length of iroko (a hardwood) from a local timber merchants and then went on a hunt for shelf brackets.  I loved the brass ones I spotted for sale in Anthropologie but the budget didn’t stretch (and once I realised I needed three instead of two due to the length of the shelf, they were even more out of reach).  Then I found the perfect ones at All Things Brighton Beautiful – simple brass wire triangular forms, and sold as a set of three for £16.95!

The very beautiful but unaffordable Anthropologie brackets


Brackets by All Things Brighton Beautiful: affordable and all mine!

Once the shelf was up (thank you father in law, with the drill, stepladder and spirit level), I had a couple of plants to go up there but the rest I bought from new.  One arrived by post and the remainder were bought on a christmas eve trip to a local garden centre.  On this day, I was barely well enough to leave the house as had had chemo a couple of days earlier but suddenly only the Bloody Plant Shelf mattered and so plant shopping it was.

Strings of pearls in a H&M pot, with an air plant and fishbone cactus (I’ve wanted a fishbone forever)
An aporocactus in matching planter at the other end of the shelf
Fishbone cactus
Pachyphytum oviferum or Moonstone
That tall one is a Sansevieria cylindrica

I love the end result; as I lie there (and there will be plenty more hours of lying due to upcoming surgery and subsequent recovery), I look at the textures and shapes and the shadows which fall at certain times of day.  In time I hope to see growth too – just need to remember to climb up there and water them…

kalanchoe thyrsiflora


Air plant
Check out that fishbone shadow
Terrarium – one of my garden centre treats