One on One With Molly Wood


Molly Wood Garden Design

By Gina Dostler

The rain pattered on my window ever so lightly, a smooth breeze swirling its ethereal breath on the pane. I listened to the rain and its song and felt snug and cozy in my bed, nature secure outside taking care of itself in the depths of the night. But it’s that very nature that keeps me vibrant and alive when I walk on crinkly leaves that have fallen from a proud maple, or when smelling the fresh scents of the cedar pines lining the park.

We are nature, and bringing plants into the home to recreate a little of what happens on the outside of your front door balances our 21st century dwellings. And the person to bring some breath of fresh air into your home seems to have sprung from the very earth herself, a spirit with nature, an artist true to form in creating the right exposure of live decor to your interior.

Her name is Molly Wood and I had the distinct pleasure of listening to her speak of her garden works and love of nature. She has designed absolutely gorgeous outdoor spaces and is one of the West Coast’s most influential landscape designers. And her creative touch works magic on the inside of the home.


Q: When you look out into the world, what catches your attention first? How do you use that first impression to create your designs?

A:  Basically when I look out into the world I see forms, compositions of the world around me. I see how light and shadow plays on shapes and textures and the way it imprints on my soul.

An old piece of wood might have a twisted and gnarled body with rough swirls of ebony and cinnamon colored bark that catches my eye and fills me with nostalgia. I am fascinated with the beauty and simplicity of symmetry, the sense of place and permanence that structure provides, and the concept of creating spaces that bring emotions into play.

I use this in my design to create organic environments and utilize all types of shapes and structures such as furniture, pottery, plants, and other unique elements.


Q:  Describe interior plantings? What are the benefits?

A:  Interior plants bring atmosphere to a home. It is another way to live with nature and bring a bit of the outside inside to the home environment. Live plants breathe life into a room, take a dull atmosphere and make it come alive. Plants help clear the air and bring freshness to a room.


Q:  What are strategic places in the home to target?

A:  A blank wall can be filled with a beautiful tall plant or a lifeless room reinvented with a unique looking plant in the right pot.

Check how the eyes move around the room, find where it stops. If your eyes tend to be drawn away from the focal point, place a plant to draw your attention to the essence of the room.

Does the room need a little color? Maybe a plant with colorful foliage is the answer. Sometimes a certain vignette needs a finishing touch so add a plant to keep the movement of that scene in play. There are areas in a room you can see from another room and by adding a focal point with a plant this can draw you into that room.


Q:  Do you follow the interior design of the home to complement the surroundings? Or do you add a little contrast to spice up the environment? 

A:  A combination of both. I don’t want anything to disappear in the interior design. Sometimes the design needs to be turned up or turned down or taken in another direction.

There are times when I might push the fine line when working an interior.  For example, in an extremely modern home with its severe lines and contrasts, I might soften it slightly with a crusty old urn to add a bit of authenticity to it. I create contrast to the mood so as to break up the structure. Or if there is a smooth granite countertop I might put something with a rough stone quality, or maybe even a woven basket to incorporate different textures.


Q:  Are there any trends right now for interior plantings?

A:  Things with history, one-of-a-kind stuff, or anything that is truly unique. In this world of mass-produced products it is refreshing and comforting to be surrounded with things of character such as an old tree stump, or a slow growing plant that has reached its maturity through many years of growth.

Items like that are precious and represent a passage of time rarely felt anymore with the instant gratification so prevalent in our society today. I might select a tree for a client that I sense has character by the look of its trunk, the shape to the leaf, the unique qualities that nature created with her divine grace.


Q: What are the different types of plants available for indoors?

A:  The ficus family is a good plant for indoors. There are many varieties but the best and most hardy are the fiddleleaf fig, the weeping fig, and rubber trees. Dracaena is an indigenous African plant that can be grown both indoors and outdoors. Dracaena is usually grown for their unique foliage and colorful looks such as the Madagascar dragon tree, or the Corn Plant with wide leaves that arc gracefully from the stock. With good lighting you can place a potted asparagus fern on a table or add a bit of flare with a split-leave philodendron.


Q:  What about bugs? Is it inevitable to have them? How to eliminate if I do?

A: Bugs are definitely obnoxious critters. You want to keep the plant as healthy as possible so it can ward of any infestation. Also, having the right plant in the right spot is a key point to keeping a plant healthy along with giving it the correct nutrients.

I suggest you keep an eye on the plant, see if bugs do land on it, and then get a mild soap spray that is non-toxic to kill the bugs. Remember proper ventilation, good fertilization, and water will keep your plants happy. Also note that overwatering is death to indoor plants.


Q:   How can I get your help?

A:  There a two ways you can get help. You can call the office to setup a consultation. Either I or a consultant will come to your home, take photos, look at your interiors and ask questions to get a feel for what you need. Or you can bring a picture to our place of business and explain the situation you want to improve and ask us for a recommendation.


Q:  What services for indoor planting do you provide?

A:  Selection, placement and delivery. We match pots with plants and then come to your home to install them in the recommended places. We also provide in our showroom a wide selection of pots and plants and a room where you can actually get your hands into the dirt and plant your own creation. As for plant maintenance, we do not provide that service, but have several plant-care people to recommend for you.


Molly Wood, Owner

Molly Wood Garden Design