Ask Me About My Plants – Bre Barnum

Shylah Statler

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Ask Me About My Plants – Bre Barnum

Learning the personal, funny, and quirky stories about the relationships we have with our house plants.

Photography by: Ryan Damman
Learn more, about: The Barnum Factory


Bre Barnum is a driving force in our creative community. One of the many hats she wears is the Factory Curator for The Barnum Factory- a cultural hub dedicated to building spaces for a vibrant community of makers, musicians and business owners in the Des Moines area. 

This month I met up with her to get personal about her space and the curated collection of plants she's brought into her home and work space. Photographed in her office at The Barnum Factory, and her home in the Des Moines River Bend neighborhood by Ryan Damman. 

"The first plant I got- I picked because I liked the name Peperomia and the shape of the leaves. When I kept that one alive- I knew I needed more."

"The second plant I picked was a birds nest fern because my grandmother had these. They were a trendy thing in the 50s and she would macrame and put these in it. They were kind of all over the house. So this plant is a throwback to her."

"I like to pick plants that vary the texture of what I’ve got. I’ve especially fallen in love with the cement planters - they have that raw material connection to The Factory because it’s a concrete warehouse."

"The weird aloe on the corner of my shelf. I love it. It was in the shop and you two were babying it. It was the weirdo misfit, it was trying so hard - so that’s who I’ve always felt that I am. The culture that was created down here at the Factory is giving place to the misfits."


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"This Terrarium was my first gift from you guys that was for our Grand Opening last October that Andrea put together for me."


"I am a crunchy plant lady - and I do believe in the science of touching plants and that they respond to that interaction. The reason I believe that because we were gone for a couple weeks working on another project. I talk to my plants, touch them, and mist them every day - and came back after that two weeks after someone else was watering them for me and they were all very sad looking. I made sure to interact with them extra after returning to cheer them up again."



"The palm in my living room was the first plant I had delivered by Andrea. I came into the shop one day to get my hair done at Elevencherry - I always walk thru the Terrarium…. it caught my eye and I was torn because I was about to leave town. That’s when I found out you deliver. Andrea told me she’d take it to my home and I was like YES - if I didn’t get it immediately I knew someone else would buy it."



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