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Styling tips from Baltimore's Instagram-famous plant guru

For Baltimore at Home

Some 300 plants star in the lush, green posts of Hilton Carter’s Instagram feed, which, with 160,000 followers, made him a social-media green interior design star, gained him residential plant styling clients and led to a book deal.

The Baltimore native, whose plants are split between his “Jungle by the Falls” studio in Whitehall Mill and his Hampden home, will launch, “Wild at Home: How to style and care for beautiful plants” on April 9.

We sat down with Baltimore-born Carver to learn about his eight-year journey in plant styling and got a sneak peek into the upcoming book.

How did your journey begin?

My journey in greenery started in 2011 when I went to a nursery-greenhouse-cafe in Glen Mills, Pa., called Terrain. Eating in that sort of space transformed my idea of what interiors could feel like and how I wanted my space to feel.

At that time, I was living in [Los Angeles] and I didn’t have space that would allow me to do that, and I also didn’t have the means to bring in that much green. In 2014, I moved to New Orleans, and moving there opened my eyes more to the idea of bringing in greenery. So, it was there that I started the process of bringing in plants and styling my home with them.

Why do you think the concept and the Instagram photos resonate so deeply with people?

Because everyone can understand being one with greenery. Bringing that sort of warmth indoors is inspiring and appealing. When people see it, they want that in their lives. That’s really what my account is: It’s inspiration and lessons on how to care for the actual plants that you are bringing into your house. I want to show people how it’s possible to have their space look, but also give them a bit of information on how to care for those things.

What’s a simple way for someone to bring the ‘Wild at Home’ concept to their own space?

The easiest way is to understand where your light is coming from and then understand what types of plants work best for that lighting situation.

And then having a keen eye for what looks good also helps. It’s not an easy thing to teach, so in my book I try to set up simple ways to place a plant in part of the room versus just taking any sort of plants or pots and tossing them in the room without any idea of where or how that placement affects the overall look.

What would be an easy way for someone to bring a little bit of style to their plants?

Adding in levels is the one thing people could benefit from, making it so that as someone enters the space, you’re making their eyes move up and down and side to side. You should have levels of heights of where plants function.

And one other small thing is, I don’t think people take into consideration the types of pots they are placing their plants in: Instead of just going for what is simple, like a terracotta pot, understanding there are so many different styles of pots they can work into their home.

About the book

“Wild at Home: How to style and care for beautiful plants” is available for pre-order from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. On April 9, it will be available for purchase locally at Trohv, 921 W. 36th St., Hampden.

A launch party will be held April 10 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 pm at Rawlings Conservatory, 3100 Swann Drive. For more information, visit instagram.com/hiltoncarter.

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