Fern’s Garden had the great pleasure of carrying some unique succulents by a local Belmont Shore resident, Donna. Everyone knew her as the “Plant Lady” and when you saw her creations you would see why. She has an eye for creating beautiful arrangements in unique recycled housewares with copper wiring and flower to enhance the overall feel of the plant. A few years ago, Donna decided to retire from making her plants to have more time to travel around the world with her husband Bill. We were happy to see her retire to travel, but sad none the less that Fern’s Garden was going to lose our plant artist.
Coming near to the first Mother’s Day without having Donna’s creations in the store, Ashley, the store manager, decided she could try to learn how to create some special succulents for the store. She asked Donna to train her on she creates such beautiful arrangements, and Donna was thrilled to share her knowledge! Over the course of a few weeks, Donna had shared with her the importance of drilling holes for drainage, how to care for succulents (as each one is unique), how to create copper flowers, and how to keep the arrangements looking presentable in the store. Donna shared stories with her and showed her where to find the unique planters and the best locally grown succulents.
Ashley learned all she could from Donna as well and taking some online classes on plant care. Then as that first Mother’s Day season approached, she created a set of unique succulents to sell at Fern’s Garden. She uses all the tools Donna had taught her, and it was a success! Every piece she made sold. She continued to make more arrangements for Mother’s Day and quickly realized that this should be done full time at the store so everyone can enjoy unique succulents all year long!
Learning about succulents has awoken a new passion for Ashley she never knew she had. “I always liked to look at plants and wished one day that I would be able to have a few houseplants or learn how to garden. Then once I started learning from Donna and understand how each plant grows, I started to propagate my own succulents and buy large amounts of plants. Not only do I have a propagation station in my yard for all the succulents, but I now have around 15 houseplants. They bring such a wonderful life to a home that I just cannot help myself!”
Ashley also always loved to go thrifting! “I love shopping at the thrift store because you can always find unique items, plus it is a great way to recycle unwanted items. Most of my wardrobe and tons of the pots for succulent come from thrifts stores. I even make it a point to thrifting when I go out of town to find even more unique items!” This new passion for making succulents helped her to stay creative and fueled her love thrifting. Many of her unique pots come from local thrift stores, flea markets, and estate sales making each one completely one of a kind.
Along with house plants and succulents, Ashley has taken on the air plant to create “Jellyfish” for the store. The air plants were more challenging to learn about than succulents. She had the green thumb when it came to succulents and house plants, but air plants were not as easy as everyone said they would be. After reading multiple blogs and articles and talking to local nurseries, she realized that she was in fact over caring for her air plants! She finally was able to learn that they just need airflow and some spritz of water once a week and they were thriving! Now you can always find the unique Jellyfish in Fern’s Garden along with her unique succulents.
As the manager of the store, Ashley is in a unique position to be able to care for the succulents and air plants daily to make sure that they are perfect and ready to be taken off to a new home. They bring that extra element of life to the store. “It is always nice to come into the store and have some green living plants! It just brings an element of liveliness to the store and really draws customers inside due to their uniqueness.”
We are happy to carry live plants in the store again, and even happier that we now have them all year long!