20 Cheeky Questions: Beci Orpin

Beci Orpin is a creative powerhouse. She’s a designer, illustrator and author and keen gardener. Beci reckons that if she weren’t doing what she’s doing now she would be a botanist or florist – she’s better at remembering plant names than human ones!

Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself, and your life with plants?
My relationship with plants is sporadic. When I am not too busy in the studio I love gardening. We have a small backyard with a veggie patch and many plants which I have put in over the years and a ton of pot plants, plus quite a few indoors too. When I am not too busy in the studio they get a lot of love and care, when I am busy they get very neglected. Mostly they survive though. My studio has a healthy amount of indoor plants too (thanks to Bree at Mr Kitly – who gave me great plant advice!)

What cheers you up?
A delicious dessert. Friends. Raph and my kids being stupid (i.e. I’m rarely sad)

What is the habit you are proudest of breaking or want to break?
I stopped sucking my thumb when I was 6. My reward was getting my ears pierced!

Have you ever been in love with two people at the same time?
Thankfully no. I had a close call though.

Name a skill you wish you had?
Driving. Stand up comedy. Making pastry from scratch.

What is the most played song on your playlist?
I’m not sure because I mostly listen to Soundcloud or spotify now. I think would be a 3-way tie between ‘Should have known better” by Sufjan Stevens / ’No Scrubs’ by TLC / ‘Army of Me’ By Bjork

If you had to make a garden with 3 plants, what would they be?
I’m not very good at putting plants together so it’s definitely an eclectic mix.

  1. Acacia Cognata ‘Limelight’ – I have one of these in my tiny backyard and it always makes it look green, which I love. It also looks like Casuarina ‘Cousin It’ which I also love.
  2. Japanese Maple – my granmother had pretty Japanese maples in her garden and it started a life long obsession with them for me. We have a coral bark one, which has such a great array of colours all year around.
  3. It’s hard to choose a third but I would say some kind of grey succulent. My favourite part of the RBG in Melbourne is the grey garden – I’d love to have a grey section of my garden one day.

What makes somebody sexy?
A sense of humour. Good cooking. Snappy dressing.

What do you miss most about being a kid?
A constant sense of wonder.

What’s the first thing you notice about people?
Their energy.

What is your favourite natural scent?
Rose  – there is a particular rose which used to be out the front of the commune I lived in as a kid. Its really distinct but I don’t know what it is. When I smell it, it brings back so many great memories!

What qualities in people do you admire the most?
Integrity. Dedication. Originality.

Who/what inspires you?
People with the above qualities.

What would you be doing in an alternate life or career?
A botanist or florist (and I’m not just saying that because you are interviewing me!) I have shocking memory in some areas – I am terrible with people’s names but I can always remember the names of plants and flowers, I think this is because I’m really interested in them!  My grandmother was a super-keen gardener so I think she taught me a lot of them, and they just stuck. My other dream career – a midwife!

What’s your perfect three-course meal?
Caprese salad / Anything from Ottolenghi / Banana Split with a really, really good hot fudge sauce (impossible to find in Australia).

What is special about where you live?
Good food shopping and excellent neighbours/friend near by. We also live across from a  few blocks of parkland – that’s pretty awesome.

What’s your favourite kind of weather?
I like all seasons, and the fact we get to experience all of them so distinctly in Melbourne (and yes – often in one day), but nothing quite beats mid-autumn crisp mornings and also when the blossoms start to come out in early spring. I can’t choose between those too.

How many people are you completely yourself with?
I hope everyone. But probably just  my husband Raph/my kids/my parents.

Image by Leanne Bertram

Beci is doing a crafty DIY for us later in the month! Stay tuned….It’ll be wonderful! In the meantime, check her out online: