PUP: an urban jungle for plant fanatics
Plant lovers were on cloud nine with this year’s PUP event (Plezante en Uitzonderlijke Planten, “Fun and Exceptional Plants”), a traveling pop-up concept where you can score trendy houseplants. Starting Friday November 29, visitors could enjoy three days of green madness in Bar Chapel. “We have an immense plant community with more than 176 unique varieties”, says founder Roxanne Naessens. This is Antwerp started a treasure hunt in this immersive jungle to give you the full report of last week’s event.
We didn’t have to look any further when two guys managed to balance their weight with each a large plant attached to their bicycle. A small chapel, hidden in the streets of a vibrant city, Bar Chapel was the place to be for true plant seekers. Swing by to check out the location or to start your very own greenery hunt. One thing is certain: you won’t leave this place empty-handed.
The location itself boosts your mood within seconds. It is only a matter of time before we indulge in the colorful flora that is stacked all over the place. From small cactuses in the corner to large banana trees on the altar, PUP has exactly what you’re looking for.
“Our first pop-up was in Gent, not long after we visited Kortrijk, Ronse, Leuven, and Brussels”, says founder Roxanne. “It was only a matter of time before we turned Antwerp into a Walhalla for plant fanatics. Besides it being one of the biggest hipster cities in Belgium, it was certain that our event needed a local spot. We were over the moon when we found Bar Chapel on Instagram; it is the perfect scenery with the altar and workshop space.” Last Saturday, visitors could make their very own Christmas wreath with special flowers to give their own modern twist to this seasonal event.
The lush green houseplants in the building provide an instant wow effect. During your search, you walk through immense greenery with small pots hanging from the ceiling. Besides the great collection of high-quality plants, there is also a gift shop with a selected range of accessories and playful pottery which suits your home best. A few botanical trends at the moment are the Acacia, Monstera and the Zebrina. “My three favorite plants at the moment are the Homalomena, Strelitzia Reginae, and the Calathea, I recommend checking them out”, says Roxanne.
Sixty-five percent of all large plants from PUP’s event are cultivated in Antwerp by nursery Dirk Mermans; others come from our neighboring countries. “We try to bring the scarce species to the table because they often stay undiscovered. The Philodendron Pink Princess, for example, which we hid in the jungle on the altar but was sold out in a few seconds. In the early morning hours, treasure hunters swing by. The first ones to arrive often find the most hidden gems”, laughs Roxanne. At the same time, we bump into Eva, owner of 216 plants, ready to expand her collection. This is what experts would call ‘a real plant lady’.
“I was raised in the field. My parents were plant growers and owned a nursery with mostly blossoming plants and pot roses”, explains Roxanne. “They didn’t own any greenery back then, but this sparked my interest. I started a pop-up in Gent and received a lot of positive feedback. When PUP started booming, I decided to continue my journey in different cities. It was exciting to visit new places and meet a lot of plant fanatics who then became friends along the way.”
“That’s what makes every event even more special. For this weekend, we estimate at around two to three thousand visitors. Most of our varieties will be sold out after the weekend thanks to our great success. Amazingly, there’s such a plant hype at the moment. Our community keeps on growing every day”, says Roxanne proudly.
PUP is full of green inspiration, from styling your plants to how to make your living room more cozy with greenery. Even if you’re not the best plant caretaker, they’ve got you covered with handy tips and tricks to keep your plants alive and make them thrive. This event was the perfect time to discover that special finishing touch to your home interior. In case you missed this year’s event, keep an eye on 2020 because who knows what PUP has planned in the near future.
Text and pics by Anne-Sophie Verkoyen