Change Up Your Interiorscape Client Holiday Gift Routine

The season for giving, is almost here. The next couple months is the perfect time to show clients your appreciation without looking like you’re trying to bribe them.

With us being in the horticulture industry, the typical client gifts are flower arrangements, potted plants or dish gardens. After all, that peace lily that’s been sitting in the greenhouse back corner for over a year needs to go somewhere. I’ve also had many foliage gifts backfire on me. Either my client has no desire or feels burdened to maintain a living thing. Most often, the plant or dish garden remains in their office and now, I feel obligated to start caring for it when I see it’s going to die soon. However, I’ve discovered another foliage gift that doesn’t get left at the office. Plus, it will set you apart from the rest – create an arrangement for their pet.

Animal lovers think of their pets as part of the family. According to the APPA (American Pet Products Association), statistics show in the United States alone we will spend over $60 billion on our animals with $14 billion of that amount spent on health and medicine.

Clearly, we are extremely attached to our animals. Sometimes more than other humans. I had one office manager that barely said two words to me when I watered her bamboo palm every week. I noticed several pictures of two bulldogs covering a shelf in her office. Finally, I decided to break the ice by asking her about the dogs in the pictures. For the first time, her eyes lit up as she told me all about her “boys.” I could relate to her dealing with their skin issues since my mixed breed had the same problem. I asked how she managed two big dogs all by herself. She responded by telling me her husband takes them out during his lunch hour and after work. I had assumed she was single since there wasn’t one picture of her significant other in her office. Makes you wonder, who came first in their family.

Knowing her dogs suffered from allergies like mine, the next time I came to her building I brought a container with barley grass and rosemary for her to try mixing in their food. Those two plants along with burdock made a big difference with my mutt’s irritated skin as well as reduced fur loss due to obsessive scratching.

You would think I gave her pieces of gold by the way she reacted. Then I realized, when you appeal to a person’s pet, it makes them feel more connected to you. They can share in your love for animals. I call it the “perfect customer bonding kit” that can connect you on a different level. When you have to compete with several other vendors vying for the boss’ attention and business, it’s more likely these executives will prefer to be around someone they can relate to. Being able to open up and share in these happy experiences can be a nice release in an otherwise stressful, cut-throat corporate world.

Here are some top herb choices for dogs to include in this year’s client holiday gifts.


Burdock seems to have the most medicinal effects. It’s good for a dogs allergies, skin, kidneys and their digestive track. But you might want to save some for yourself, because it’s also good for human joint pain, gout, skin problems, high blood pressure, liver disease, bladder infections, sex drive and more. I personally take capsules of dried burdock every day for my intestines.


Peppermint is very easy to grow and spreads fast. For dogs, it’s good for stomach issues and indigestion. For human use, and I can testify, there is nothing better than a mojito with freshly picked peppermint leaves.


As a young girl, I always wondered why our sheep dog would chew on the grass outside only to throw it up ten minutes later. Now I know. Garlic grass, barley grass and rosemary have additional benefits for a pet’s immune system and helps with stomach pain.

What if your client prefers the feline species over the canines?


Everyone has heard catnip is like crack for cats. While getting dried catnip at the store may satisfy some cats, giving fresh catnip from the garden will make even finicky cats come running to their bowls. I took in an abandoned neighborhood cat and thought giving her the packaged catnip from the pet store would make her do backflips. She wouldn’t touch it.  On a whim, I decided to get some fresh catnip plants from the nursery. She will eat every tiny piece of those leaves and come back for more.

Make your appreciation gift stand out from the crowd. Think of those clients that talk about their dog, cat or canary. Any office you see picture after picture of their dog in Halloween costumes or their cat curled up by the window, is bound to be the perfect candidate for an herb planter designed specifically for them.

Featured image by JD Hancock

Sherry has been part of the interiorscape industry for over fifteen years, starting at an entry level job at North Florida's largest greenhouse and currently owning two horticulture companies. At UMaine, Sherry majored in English where she worked part-time writing scripts for a local college TV studio.

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