Hello! I'm Jeannie Phan, a Toronto-based illustrator working, living and growing in a little home studio. I'm a self-taught plant generalist, urban forest bather and passionate pursuer of daily betterment. I live with my partner and cat in our first true home that is sandwiched between the Lake and the Lungs of the City. We enjoy working on home projects, picking up hobbies and being outdoors in nature every chance we can. We are very much DIY folk.
My relationship with plants started in my mother's garden, which she nurtured throughout my childhood. Although uninterested in growing anything myself at the time, I played, with my brother, in the green oasis she kept in the heart of a crime-ridden neighbourhood in Winnipeg. She grew vegetables and morning glories vines that wrapped along our chain linked fences, and let mint escape from the garden borders onto our neighbour's patch. She annually tasked us to collect seeds for next year's planting. My father was a farmer in Vietnam before he immigrated to Canada. He developed an affinity for trees and in our backyard, planted an apple tree that would drop the most sour (but natural) fruit. My parents separately fled Asia as refugees for a better life in the West, but what Canada didn't offer was the fertile land they were used to. So to cope, during family vacations we would visit botanical gardens, went camping on weekends, and had road trips along rolling farm lands.
With houseplants, I have my friends Justine and Elaine to thank for gifting me my first succulents many years ago. I was a terrible black thumb when I started growing but eventually learnt to communicate better plants through trial and error. Now I grow mostly tropicals and experiment with indoor edibles in a house that homes over 100 plants.
Plants are incredibly giving and I like to enthusiastically follow along by passing on my learnings (and speculations) through personal Fieldnotes, which you can see here. I also love to photograph, document, and archive the other home projects we work on so I hope you take off your shoes and enjoy all the things we have cookin' up in this small corner of the city.
More Tidbits (Specs)
A compact dwelling equipped with unobstructed, medium-sized south-facing windows. Our space includes a home studio, bedroom and kitchen/living area spun throughout two narrow floors and is topped with a rooftop garden.
Zone 6 in The 6ix (Toronto, Canada) with a microclimate by the lake. This container garden sits on an urban south-facing rooftop deck receiving full sun, hot heat and moderate wind.
Odin is an ordinary Van patterned domestic shorthair currently in his prime years. A bush-dweller with a large frame, he is a gentle giant: a true pacifist. Chatty when he wants to be, he otherwise enjoys quiet company.
My day job is as a freelance illustrator, having worked full-time in the industry for a handful of years. I had formal training at OCAD University, graduating with distinction holding a Bachelor's Degree of Design with a major in Illustration. My editorial clients include The New York Times, The New Yorker, NPR, and The Globe and Mail. Book clients include Macmillan, Pavilion Books, and Penguin Books. I've done an ad campaign for British Airways, influencer content for Acqua di Parma, HP Canada and Sport Chek and have had the pleasure of working with startups OpenTable and Airbnb.
Sponsorships and Affiliates
Fieldnotes is a pure passion project! All the time spent photographing, researching, and writing for this blog is primarily done during my free time (I happily work my dream job as an artist the rest of the week). But for full transparency: it's great to be compensated for my time, so I recoup a modest fee through affiliate links and partnerships. If you purchase through a link on the blog, or use a discount code, the small commission I make goes right back into this blog. It pays for hosting but more impact-fully, it allows me to take a little extra time off from my regular gigs to create content! You directly allow me to write about things that I, and hopefully you, love.
If online shopping isn’t your thing but you’d still like to help, you can now make a direct monetary donation. All donations at this time will be used to pay for hosting (it costs me $216 annually for a Squarespace Business account) to ensure Fieldnotes stays online.
For business inquiries, collaboration ideas or review item/service proposals, please use the form! Unfortunately, at this time I'm unable to answer personal plant care questions.