Olena Shmahalo of The Operating System

Olena Shmahalo Tropical jungle

Sometimes you just need a dreamy feed that’s covered in plants. A feed that can give you hope and inspiration that even you too can fill your home with happy and healthy plants. This week look no further than Olena Shmahalo of The Operating System! Her Instagram is covered in close-up details showing off the different textures of leafs and simply styled plant portraits. Her crazy plant obsession is sure to rub off on you! 

What is your favorite kind of plants?

What is plant best represents you?
Philodendron gloriosum

Tell us about when you first fell in love with plants?
I've always been in love with the idea of plants: having plants everywhere, overgrowth on buildings, etc. I used to play The Sims as a kid and make crazy greenhouses, tropical outdoor baths, etc. But it wasn't until a few years ago that I really started my own collection.

Olena Shmahalo Houseplants

Tell us about your favorite ways to decorate with plants?
All the ways. Hanging plants, terrarium plants, window plants, plants in unusual containers (like growing out of a shoe) — I love them all.

Why do you feel houseplants are necessary for your home?
They're more lively (literally) than static decorative objects. They make my apartment feel more fresh and comfortable. They also give me a sense of peace: occasionally, if you're in a strange place mentally, caring for something outside of yourself can help. The fact that they'd all die if I don't attend to them sometimes is a motivator!

Olena Shmahalo Urban Jungle

What are your must-have accessories for the perfect plant corner?
I like my wall-hanging towel rack with multiple bars, which I use to hang plants, naturally. The secret to great plant accessories is that they're usually repurposed objects that were made with something else in mind, entirely — be creative.

Olena Shmahalo green plant in terracotta pot

Have you noticed any trends in houseplants?
Yes, everybody has them, suddenly! I think houseplants as a trend, in general, have blown up, probably thanks to Instagram and Pinterest.

What's the next plant you want to get?
Lepanthes calodictyon. I have a search for it open in another tab as I write this. It's a weird one, which is my favorite kind.

Olena Shmahalo photographing giant palm

Do you have any tips for aspiring plant lady?
Get a plant. Do some research. Get a few more. If one dies, it's ok – try again! Experiment: evaluate what went wrong the last time and try to improve upon it if you can. Just try to practice on the cheap ones, first ;D

Learn more about Olena below


Check out last week's Plant Lady: Kristen Wiltshire of Kristen Aleida Art 

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