Plant People: Share the Interiorscape Knowledge
There was a time when I would distinguish between plant people and non-plant people.
I admit, I was raised in a farming family where everyone had an interest in growing something—and an opinion about the process and plant before, during, and after. I was never without a plant to care for.
The “Info” Booth
In the early 80s, I worked Monday through Friday for a large, independent retail nursery as the bedding plant manager. But every Saturday, it was my job to sit in what we called the “Info Booth.”
The booth was a tiki hut-like structure with a roof that sat inside the main building. It was located between all the fertilizers, pesticides, agriproducts, and supplies of the day. From 9-5 that day, people bombarded me with every imaginable kind of leaf, branch, patch, and piece of grass. They presented baggies filled with insects and fungus, plus an assortment of soil samples. Some of the issues were obvious: this plant just needs water or more light. Others were not so obvious. The visuals helped. (But many times I would utter to myself, “You are clearly not a plant person …”)
I loved the challenge of trying to figure out X, Y, and Z. I was even more pleased when I would find out that my advice had been helpful. Slowly, I was turning “brown thumbs” into green thumbs. The “Info Booth” was an evolving education for both parties. And the more confident that people became, the more plants and products they seemed to purchase. I doled out plenty of encouragement too, reassuring people that plants take practice. “Don’t give up!”
What makes someone pursue a horticulture vocation? Plant people are pruned from the same tree. Not only do they LOVE plants, they love the natural world. These people have a thirst for knowledge. They are creative. They are problem solvers. Most importantly, they are curious, and I believe that’s what keeps them coming back and tolerating more. Despite all the challenges of running a business involving plants, for me, the core reason for being a plant person has always been the universal good benefits of plants and their many intricacies. The colors, smells, shapes, growth patterns, oxygen, and smiles created.
I always knew I would be around plants when I grew up. I couldn’t imagine a house not filled with plants. So, I was thrilled to learn about the interiorscape industry and the chance to incorporate plants, not only into people’s living environments, but also into their work spaces!
My time in the industry has been a remarkable, rewarding journey. And it never ceases to amaze me that I have made a decent living doing what I love.
Spread the Plant Love
I often remind myself and my coworkers that, at times, we tend to take for granted how we’ve acquired all this valuable information, not to mention all the hands-on knowledge, over the years. I’m pleased with the resurgence and interest I’ve seen especially with the younger generation and particularly with houseplants.
It is vital that the exchange of information continues so that this industry and future generations don’t give up on horticulture as a profession.
Most days, I feel like I’ve never left that information booth. And that’s a good thing. My advice to you and to anyone starting in the plant world: Don’t give up!
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