I can still remember the excitement as a child of going to a garden centre and being allowed to pick out a plant from the swathes of greenery there. The curiosity of a sensitive plant, that flinched and closed its leaves at the gentlest touch. The slightly gothic nature of the venus fly trap, enticing flying creatures into its blush pink mouths. The lusciously thick petals of a begonia in full flower and the fancy, tropical purple and pink quill. We didn't have lots of money when I was growing up, but plants were always considered important learning tools! Here's me, aged six with a splendid new purchase!
Plants are proven to be good for our wellbeing. They clean the air, give us something to nurture, get us away from screens and look pretty too. The sense of achievement when a plant flowers or a seed sprouts is real! The pandemic has caused a surge in houseplant buying and my kitchen and bedroom windowsills are living proof. Easier than a garden, cheaper than a pet; what's not to like?
I still find that there's something really comforting about bringing green and growing things inside, and clearly I am not alone in this, as the houseplant trend is everywhere. My houseplant paper bunting is our current bestseller! One of our favourite makers, Jo Clarke from Toasted Crumpet has created watercolour illustrations of monstera and pilea plants and added them to her best selling collection of homeware.
There's a wonderful initiative in Cranbrook called The Glass House Botanics, who work in disused prison greenhouses and employ ex-offenders to grow and nurture the houseplants, gaining horticultural qualifications. They also assist with job placement and housing to ensure that their team have a secure, positive future. There's nothing quite like the healing power of green things!
If you live locally to our Cranbrook shop, you'll know that we sell real houseplants, locally grown by our horticultural department. (My Mama!) We specialise in cacti and succulents that require minimal attention, so everyone has a good chance of being a successful plant parent.
There's something really special and nostalgic about a small child coming into the shop to buy their first houseplant or terrarium; hearing them promising to take good care of it and seeing them clutch it reverently on the way out of the shop. It feels like coming full circle.