While we were fortunate to flourish despite the pandemic at Good Earth Plant Company, it made me more aware of the importance of human socialization. We are pack animals and we do best when we interact, share ideas, and work together.
This lesson became even more vivid to me this week when I attended my first workplace greenery and horticulture conference since the shutdown early last year. It’s one of my favorite shows – Cultivate 21 held annually in Columbus, Ohio by American Hort, our national organization supporting and promoting the horticulture industry. Attendance was nearly as strong as 2019!
There are more than 650 exhibitors and 10,000 industry professionals like me from 30 different countries taking in the eight-acre trade show, four days of educational opportunities, and talking with my colleagues about the latest trends and solutions for our clients.
After four decades in business, you build lots of lasting relationships. It meant the world to me to see my colleagues, celebrate our industry’s survival – and the new and growing recognition of just how important healthy workplaces and public gathering spaces are to our wellbeing. We can help – we enrich peoples’ lives with plants in these surroundings!
But none of us should take those relationships OR our expertise for granted. It’s the business kiss of death. The minute you think you know it all is the minute you don’t. I’m a firm believer in growth as one of the key ingredients to success in nearly anything. And why wouldn’t growth be at the heart of working in a green business like plantscaping and biophilic design?
Then I can bring back these new ideas and put them into practice for you!
Relationships Can’t Be Replaced
Let’s get the bad news over first. The plant shortages we experienced over the last year will continue for at least another year, perhaps two years. Part of me is thrilled by the new interest in adding plants to indoor environments but it creates some challenges.
Fortunately, this is where longstanding relationships matter. We get great help, advice (and plants of course!) from Denise Godfrey (fellow Green Plants for Green Buildings board member) at Olive Hill Greenhouses in Fallbrook. Here in California, we can grow nearly anything. However, due primarily to environmental factors, most of the tropical plants we work with originally come from Hawaii or Florida. It’s hard to get tropical plants into California, mainly due to California Dept. of Agriculture restrictions. We will need to stay flexible about plant choices and work around what is available.
The rest is all good news. There is so much innovation happening. Automation and technology are providing new tools which are more efficient and convenient for us and for our clients. We’re streamlining a lot of our old processes. We’ll soon replace the last of paper-based reports with virtual and online reports. What does this actually mean? Our horticulture technicians will be able to perform their work more quickly and efficiently for our clients.
We’ve also decided to lean harder into our design work. Watch for our new creative design department. Our clients want us to push boundaries and come up with one-of-a-kind and innovative projects for them. It’s all about finding the best solutions whether it’s living plants, replica plants, or even preserved plants.
We’re working now with a well-known American DJ and producer and we’ve created some amazing custom containers using 3D printing which will be installed onto the wall. (Sorry, we can’t tell you who he is, but you’ll know him if you’re under 40).
Natural Materials Trending
We see a strong trend continue in decorative containers made from natural materials like clay, terra cotta, and wood. Even better if they’re made from repurposed or sustainable materials. Imperfections lend character.
One hot design trend for indoor plants and workplace greenery is to use the highest third of indoor spaces. Call it “overhead moments.” Plants are placed on high shelves, on ledges, or hanging from ceilings and skylights. Good Earth Plant Company has completed several projects in this category in the last few years, such as this dispensary – so we got a little ahead of this trend.
Hemp and cannabis as a business category is no longer in the shadows. Product brochures used to be hidden under the counter and you had to ask for them. Not anymore!
New Product: Preserved Plants
There’s also a relatively new product category we’re excited to explore further: Preserved plants. These are real plants harvested and no longer growing, treated to last and not die off like flowers in a vase. We’ve worked on some amazing projects with 30’ tall preserved palm trees and preserved plants in our moss walls, but now we can add smaller, delicate plants like ferns to planters and pots.
We have LOTS of new design and construction techniques we are starting to implement in new projects. There are improvements in fabrication we’re taking advantage of, especially in our popular moss walls. They’ll save time and money for our clients. BUT we aren’t going to give you any more details in case our competitors are reading this. (We know you are).
Best of all – I’m still excited to come to work every single day. It hasn’t changed since 1977. The entire Good Earth Plant Company team of Eco-Warriors is just as enthusiastic. What can we create for you? Challenge us! Hit us up here, or call 858-576-9300. Yes, an old-fashioned phone call is fine with us!