Hanna Piippo, a Finnish florist living in Stockholm, understands the needs of houseplants and the importance of good tools. She selected Christmas gifts from the selection of Finnish Design Shop for her nearest and dearest, and provided tips for plant lovers.
How do you plan to spend this Christmas?
“I have lived in Stockholm for seven years, but always return to Helsinki in good time for Christmas. Before then, I wrap my godchildren's gifts by candlelight, setting the mood for Christmas and the coming holiday. I'm not a night owl, but as Christmas approaches I like to stay up, particularly if it snows – snowfall at night is always magical. Even the airport has a special atmosphere at Christmas.
Before Christmas Eve, I meet both of my godchildren and their families, and have a 'traditional' mulled wine evening with old friends. I spend Christmas Eve quietly with family: we eat plenty, visit the cemetery to light candles, read books and watch Christmas classics on TV. On Christmas Day, we visit relatives and play board games until late at night. On Boxing Day, I usually visit friends or go on an outing. Early December is busy for florists, with Christmas wreaths, vines and other Christmas flowers, so I welcome the holiday and a chance to rest my hands and head.”
Have you received any particularly memorable Christmas gifts?
“Years ago, a friend and I bought each other trips to Reykjavik, Iceland, where we went just after Christmas. We stayed in a lovely hotel, enjoying wine by a fireplace and bathing in a spa. In addition, we saw Iceland's amazing natural scenery and the Blue Lagoon, which became one of my favorite places. We ate lobster soup and drank beer among fishermen at the harbor. It was an unforgettable trip, despite Reykjavik's being so cold. The people were exceptionally friendly and the food was good.”
For the lover of houseplants
“I would give a Svante watering can to a friend in Zürich who loves houseplants. I love its practical and functional design. A beautiful watering can, which can be kept on show, is a reminder to water your plants more often.
It is often said that plants should be given oxidized water, which has been left to stand at room temperature. On the other hand, over-watering is the most common cause of drooping houseplants. In winter, plants are dormant and need less light and water, so it is often sufficient to water them once a week at most. Tropical plants also need to be sprayed, because indoor air is so dry.”
For my goddaughter's family
“On occasions, my friend and the mother of my goddaughter invite mixed groups of friends and relatives over for a visit. I love to help out by arranging flowers brought by the guests but, due to lack of vases, I end up putting flowers into any jars I can lay my hands on.
This Aalto vase would be great for my friend's bright home, which provides the perfect setting for the vase's moss green shade. In height, it would also be suitable for easily available and long-lasting cut flowers, such as carnations and lilies. A single, large, cut amaryllis would also be perfect for the vase. The classic Aalto vase is beautiful even without flowers.”
For home movers
“I like the design and color of the Hexagon pot. Houseplants go well with the powdery rose shade, but the Burgundy and pink colors are the perfect match for coleus plants. There is always room for a few distinctive or colored pots among classic terracotta models.
If a pot has no hole in the bottom, remember to add light gravel for drainage, so that the roots don't rot due to excess water. I would place a houseplant in a Hexagon pot, or make a cut flower arrangement as a gift for my friend, who'll be moving home before Christmas: either of these would make a great housewarming present!”
“Ferm Living's Plant Box can accommodate a wonderful collage of plants of various sizes, shapes and textures. My mother could also use the plant stand on her balcony in the summer. I would have at least one plant hanging over the edge, like a silver vine, and then something taller such as a pointy-leaved snake plant. Both are good houseplants because they purify the air so effectively. A coleus would also fit in with these plants. It is worth combining plants of different shapes and sizes to create an interesting arrangement.”
“I admire the fabulous work of Klaus Haapaniemi. I already have Haapaniemi designs at home, such as Taika tableware, a dressing gown and cushion covers. The purple Rabbit throw is perfect for snoozing on a gray sofa. I'm wondering what color to paint my living room wall and dreaming of a work of art. The throw, which I think is a work of art, could be hung on the wall like a rug. Both wool and silk are my favorite materials and, since my nickname is Pupu (Bunny), a Rabbit throw would work well for me.”
For the home cook
“I never imagined being excited about knife designs, until I saw the Fiskars Norden collection! These knives would suit relatives who cook a great deal and value quality. They are extraordinarily beautiful and ideal for everyday use. Norden knives add a touch of luxury and beauty to everyday activities such as chopping ingredients.
As a florist, I understand the importance of good tools, such as sharp and high-quality secateurs. I often compare flower arranging to cooking – both tend to succeed when you use the best utensils and ingredients. Another pro is that the knife is made in Finland.”
Editing: Mikko Vaija and Laura Hallikainen Images: Kreetta Järvenpää and manufacturers