Fabulous Hot House Horticulture with Josef Montilla Sagemüller

A one-man zeitgeist – Josef is a plant obsessed mountain of information capable of applying cultural fashion and historical trend into bigger social and stylistic patterns that tell incredible stories of the plant kingdom – especially specific to the island of Negros in the Philippines.

Josef is a lover of many creative interests and pursuits. Plants - decorative and edible, endemic and exotic, their history and influence. Food – local and not, tropical and continental, homegrown and labor intensive, closely guarded heirloom recipes of countless generations. Bijoux – gems and baubles, design and setting, where they come from and how they are traded.

Josef generously feeds us encyclopedic knowledge, in bottomless informative detail, peppered in rip roaring humor filled with salty high jinks, revealing scandalously secretive sources, he eagerly shares.

Historian, critic, and avid accumulator of much on garden history and design, Josef has seeded many gardens, homes and events with his unique plant and landscape designs. His mestizo heritage and deeply rooted local lineage mix and blend several influences that impact and contribute to his uniquely flamboyant style.

Josef has accumulated enough opinions and enthusiasms to give any audience an entertaining ride filled with swerves, gallops, and nostalgic digressions that make him an incredible and influential storyteller.

Josef and his garden are a carefully cultivated and curated living and thriving tribute to his personal great love, his parental guidance since early childhood, and the lingering influences of highly admired family and friends borne of years of travel.

Gardening is not merely the lay out and care of a plot of ground devoted partially or wholly to the growing of plants such as flowers, herbs, vegetables, shrubs, or trees. Josef’s gardens are a mixed wild world of poetry and biography breaking out of bounds.

Planting is both a carefully balanced creative art and disciplined science. Concerned with arranging plants harmoniously in their surroundings and incorporating the principles and techniques of plant cultivation.

What are your thoughts and ideas about all this? Plants make our lives possible in so many ways. They help provide the air we breathe. They sustain us to feed, shelter, and clothe us, as well as providing constant inspiration.

They have provided a large part of medicine and healing practice for generations. The conservation and regeneration of plants is incredibly important to our biosphere and planet.

By taking care of plants, they can continue taking care of us. Tropical places are home to the highest diversity of plants. These places are also some of the most threatened in the world. We can all do our part to protect tropical and other plants.

Think of all the happy passive therapy we get from grounding ourselves onto our land – cultivated or in wilderness. Learn more about the how and why of our plant kingdom through Josef and his fabulous plant creations.

Written by: Issa Urra

Photos by: Grilled Cheese Studios

Design and Architecture

Cultural Experience

Art and Craft