Hello everyone!

My regular readers know about my green thumb, and about how I use plants and flowers to decorate offices and homes around Albuquerque in my small business called Good To Grow.

I regularly visit the nurseries around the city, so I’m pretty well versed in their houseplant offerings, and most of their outdoor plants, too.

I don’t want to bash any of the nurseries or be mean to anyone, but I’m gonna go ahead and call it like I see it: Most their houseplant offerings are boring. There, I said it. They’re fairly healthy, and they’re usually pretty, but if you’re a plant enthusiast like myself, you’re not going to pay 20 bucks for a Philodendron. (I like Philodendrons plenty, but I’m not paying for one, I’ll just take cuttings!) Where are the interesting plants?

Also, most of the available houseplants were shipped in from either Florida or California. Considering how little diversity there is, it makes it even more disheartening that they had to travel so far.

I started thinking about growing my own plants. I wondered what would happen if I potted up some “normal” plants but in attractive ways, sold those, and used the money to start buying more exotic, more thoughtful plants.

I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try.

So several weeks ago I leapt into action. I looked at containers, quality soil, available plants. I applied for and received a grower’s license from the State of New Mexico. Before the first frost hit, I scooped up remaining herbs from various nurseries, because I thought herb bowls would sell well. Especially during the upcoming holiday season.

I planted cute little succulent bowls with seven to eight plants in each container. I planted various herb combos, like basil-chives-parsley or lemon balm-basil, then fussed over them while they grew bigger. I planted houseplant bowls with three to four plants in each container.

I worked on labels and care instructions that I wanted to include. I shopped at thrift stores for plates I could use as saucers (I believe they call that upcycling now). I watered and pruned and pampered my little brood in the spare bedroom.

In the middle of all that work, my computer died, promptly halting all labeling printing and various tasks. But I carried on, I was getting a lot of enjoyment out of growing the plants, so I figured everything would work out.

And now it’s starting to.

On Black Friday, I approached a lady named Stefanie, who owns a boutique in Nob Hill called Stilo. I’d been there several times before and everyone had always been nice. It’s filled with local items, like jewelry and clothes, purses, wallets. Stilo carries non-local products too, my favorites are Ties That Don’t Suck – gorgeous ties made in Detroit. It’s a cool shop.

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, houseplants for sale in Albuquerque

I showed Stef photos of the plants on my phone, and her reaction was to tell me to hurry and get them in the store in time for Small Business Saturday the next day. She said she loves houseplants and used to have someone who brought them to the store, but she’d lost track of that person and didn’t know anyone was growing locally.

Score one for Team Liza!

As prepared as I was, I still had lots of finishing touches. So I went home and started printing things (I had the new laptop by then, obviously). I really truly believe that an herb bowl is a very thoughtful gift for avid cooks – especially in December – so I wanted to write out something about that. I wanted to include my business card so that the buyer would be able to contact me if they had questions about their new plants – plants with service, baby! And Stef had something about big signage, which I didn’t have.

So after a flurry of activity, I came back later in the day with five succulent bowls and three herb bowls. Here are some of them in the store a couple of days later:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, houseplants grown in Albuquerque

(Hmmm…my business cards had been on each one.)

I’m hoping your first reaction is awwwwwww, cute! And not, dang that’s cheesy marketing!

I’m hoping that houseplant lovers will see the value in the pots with the multiple plantings. And the value of fresh herbs indoors in the winter.

Now I suppose I cross my fingers and hope for positive reactions. The comments section is a good place to start that – hint, hint!

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Good To Grow is an Albuquerque-based interior and exterior landscaping service. We use plants and flowers to decorate offices, homes and patios around the city. We also offer memorial garden services, meaning that when a loved one passes, we can plant a customized garden in his or her honor. If the person who passed was an avid cook, we can plant an herb garden to honor that person’s memory. If a Veteran dies, we can plant a red, white, and blue perennial garden. If you lost a beloved pet, we can plant a garden around the burial site.

If you’d like to know more about the landscaping or memorial garden services offered, please send an email to lizatheplantlady at gmail dot com. Thank you for your consideration.

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