Out of One Business, Into Another

Joan Rivers

It’s always strange to end one type of business, especially if you’ve been doing it for 25+ years. So here’s my official announcement that (with the exception of current and selected clients) we are going out of the Short Term Plant Rental business. I made this decision to open time and energy for expanding our GreenScaped Buildings branch to design and build more living walls and green roofs and to let our Good Earth Plants staff focus on new commercial and residential plantscaping accounts.

NOT an easy decision! But a necessary one, kind of like when you buy a new suit, you kind of have to donate an old one to make room in your closet. Otherwise, you end up on TV with well-meaning family members looking sadly at you while a cleaning crew backs up an excavator to “tidy” your backyard.

My first rental job was a memorable one. Comedienne Joan Rivers was in San Diego as part of Joan Riversher comedy tour and she wanted to rent some big trees and buy some smaller ferns and mums to decorate her stage. It was pandemonium looking for enough inventory for this last-minute rental event. I was pulling houseplants from  my living room and trees from the back of the greenhouse I didn’t even know I had.

I was lucky enough to get two tickets to the first of her two shows. So there I was enjoying her humor and funny Joan was picking on certain members of the audience. Pick pick pick. Bald men, redheads, sluts – you name it.

To atone for her sins, Joan apologized at the end of her show to those who had been her targets and she went offstage to get a t-shirt for each person she had rattled. Oops! No t-shirts. So “sweet” improvisational Joan began making gifts of the lovely six foot trees I had brought, dragging them to the edge of the stage and giving them away. What I had momentarily forgotten was that my Mom had given me one of the rental trees to me 15 years ago and it was a possible target for the later show!

Luckily, between shows I got back to the production manager who told me “let’s just talk to Joan!” and I was ushered back to her dressing room with my tale of woe. Joan Rivers is great. She understood completely after I explained that one tree had to go home with me for sentimental reasons. For the next half-hour before her next show, I hung out in her dressing room sipping Diet Pepsis and laughing about fake boobs and such. We kept in touch and she sent me a signed poster. What a nice person she is!

This first encounter led to many more gigs through the 1980s decorating the stage and dressing rooms of all the shows that came to town. From Madonna to Neil Diamond, Jimmy Buffet and Oingo Boingo and many more, we were the “florist of the stars.” Maybe I’ll share some more fun stories in future blogs.

So from the beginning to the end of the rental business. In just 25 years. Here’s a bonus: if you need to purchase a slightly used and beautiful tree and/or decorative pot or planter for your home or office, we’ll be selling them for peanuts at the Open House and Plant Sale Friday April 19 from 11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Ask for Danny, he’s giving fantastic deals when you buy several items.

And my “family” can call off the TV crews about my “collection” of rental pots and planters.