Edmund Lim, Chief Butler of @leafmebroke

Plant Parents of Southeast Asia is an initiative dedicated to celebrating the greener side of life in every plant parent's journey. Because behind every plant parent, is a story of growth. This article covers Edmund Lim who is the owner of Instagram handle, @leafmebroke.
Darren T'ngFri Jul 02 2021

Plant Parents of Southeast Asia: Edmund Lim, Chief Butler of @leafmebroke

Plant Parents of Southeast Asia is an initiative dedicated to celebrating the greener side of life in every plant parent's journey. Because behind every plant parent, is a story of growth. Know an inspiring plant parent in Southeast Asia? Nominate a plant parent here.

Edmund (@edlwk) is the owner of the rapidly growing Instagram handle, @leafmebroke. You can check out Edmund's plant collection on his Instagram, follow his underwater adventures on his personal account or on Porchbuds. This is his story:

What does this photo mean to you?

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EL: This is where I spend most of my evenings these days – a place to reflect and where I find peace. It was once an under-utilised space but the greens have since added warmth and helped bring the family closer together – where we gather, celebrate and bond.

Tell us what inspired you to start and continue caring for plants

EL: I’m one who can’t typically sit still. Like many other plant parents out there, the pandemic led me to explore alternative ways to direct my energy. Pre-pandemic, I used to enjoy active nature holidays, either immersing myself in the mountains or scuba diving. Those really helped cure any potential ‘burn-outs’ at work as they were excellent opportunities to re-calibrate my mind and go ‘offline’.

It all started with the humble Monstera Deliciosa which I bought at World Farm. Watching how quickly that fella grew gave me the confidence to try my hands at other plants (I guess that’s how it all begins – into the rabbit hole we go!). Before I knew it, I had created my own little plant sanctuary at home – one which had the mystical power of stopping time, clearing the mind, and preventing all digital devices from working!

Tell us about your most memorable plant story

EL: This is a tough one as there have been so many memorable plant moments - from having creepy lizards jump out of pots just to mock you, to going against what your parents taught you as a kid and meeting random strangers to trade plant cuttings. One funny incident was how I killed my first bare-rooted plant – an Alocasia Macrorrhiza. I got a pot, threw in some soil and positioned the plant perfectly in the pot. It was a proud moment indeed! 12 hours later, all 5 huge leaves were kissing the ground. I had forgotten to water the dry soil!

What's a misconception about plant parenthood?

EL: “It’s a stress-free activity for old people” - Tell that to my back every weekend which gets sore after watering plants one pot at a time. Gardening can sometimes feel like a full-body workout! (Ok, maybe I’m just not as fit as I used to be). While staring at plants can be relaxing, maintaining and keeping them looking great is a whole different story. From providing the right balance of water and light to pests and fungal issues, these drama queens can sometimes add a whole load of stress. But that’s really the challenge that makes this hobby interesting.

How has plant parenthood changed you?

EL: My Instagram handle says it all – It has left me broke! My wallet’s now empty but my heart is full! On a more serious note, plant parenthood has not only taught me to be patient but also to accept imperfection at the onset. I started off only wanting to buy plants that looked somewhat ‘flawless’. However, I slowly learnt that ‘perfect’ leaves never last and what’s more important is the care you provide to ensure that the plant stays healthy and pushes out nicer, larger leaves with time. (I guess this also applies to real life?)

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Darren T'ngDarren is the Founder of Porchbuds, a technology-enabled plants and gardening marketplace aiming to make the world a greener place.See More Articles By Darren T'ng