Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Go Go Plantzilla

Okay, boils and ghouls, I have yet another installment of my amazing featured shops posts! If you like unconventional plants or have a green thumb, you will love what this shop has in store!

The shop is called Plantzilla and is owned by a local gal! She has an awesome business going and her knowledge of plants will amaze you!

Some info about the shop owner:

Carolyn, but most people call me C or Carl nowadays, thanks to my roomie. I work as a cell culture scientist in Baltimore, so every day is an adventure into the weird, gross or sciency.

2. What kinds of items do you sell in your shop?

The chlorophyll having kind, mostly. I sell tillandsias or air plants in terrariums and laboratory glassware, moss and lichen terrariums, living planted displays, succulents, potted plants during warmer weather, and the occasional oddity I really want to share.

3. How did you get into making the glass gardens?

I've always liked air plants, but usually you only see the same one species in nurseries or greenhouses. I stumbled upon a few of the more colorful varieties by chance while plant shopping, and immediately became totally obsessed.

4. Do you grow the plants yourself?

I'm working on it! The mosses I find in the woods, Maryland keeps them happy for me until I want to make a terrarium :) Potted plants and soil having planters come from clones I make off my own specimens; I have well over 100 different plants in my home at the moment, including a 6 foot tall meyer lemon I've raised from a cutting and some dangerously large cacti. I have a little nursery started for the air plants filled with pups I've collected so far and should be able to raise more of them from scratch myself as time goes on. I really need a greenhouse, but MD weather combined with my townhouse backyard make that more of a future goal.

5. How did you get into growing tropical and desert house plants? and how long have you been doing this?

I've been growing, propagating, gifting, and collecting plants for over ten years now. They're my happy place. It all started freshman year of college, someone gave me a miniature rose plant as a welcome gift, and I was hooked.

6. How would you describe your process? How much time do you put into just one of your planted items?

It takes me about an hour a day just to water all of my plants, plus add on about 30 minutes of grooming, rearranging, inspecting... and that's not counting days when everything wants to be repotted! My air plants are raised in this ridiculous growing center I built out of floral wire, shop lights and industrial steel tables I salvaged from work. For them, it would be hard to estimate how much time I spend per plant, but they get a lot of attention. Moss terrariums are pretty labor intensive, depending on the size of the container opening. I'm picky, so I can spend hours on a small one, making sure the rock lines are even and the plants look their best!

7. Do you have a favorite item in your shop? If so, which one?

I always like the items that few others do, I don't know why, but I'll get really excited to list something and then... nothing. It's kind of hilarious. I really like items made with laboratory glassware and air plant terrariums with the xero x brachy species, it's my favorite tillandsia.

8. Are you working on anything new for your shop that you would like to share?

I actually just posted a ton of new items in the past week, so I'm mostly just working on raising my plant friends, and hopefully learning how to propagate the air plants as efficiently as possible. It's so much more rewarding to me to use plants I raised from scratch, but it's a learning process.

9. What is your most favorite type of plant? You can pick one for both tropical and desert since you grow both ;)

My favorite desert/dry plant is hands down the Euphorbia Crown of Thorns. I have four huge specimens in my home, and have been working on propagating them for years. I've got a good system down, but they are unbelievably slow growing so those plants are usually reserved for special gifts. Tropical plant would have to be hibiscus, though I like the hardy varieties as well and have a few inside AND outside my home. Their giant, gorgeous flowers are just amazing; I still can't believe they're real.

10. Is there any type of plant you haven't made a terrarium for yet, but would like to?

I would love to make a huge wardian case fern terrarium, like was popular in the Victorian era. I wouldn't have anywhere to put it, and couldn't ship it, but it would be awesome :)

11. Where would you like to see your shop progress to in the next 5 years?

If I could grow my shop just big enough to have a little greenhouse, and maybe hire my sister part time to help out, I would be perfectly content.

12. What advice would you give to a new seller on Etsy?

Don't expect things to happen overnight. When I got started, I was so discouraged because it took like a month to even get a favorite! I thought I had the worst, cheesiest, junky shop ever, but thankfully my friends were supportive and convinced me to stick with it. Joining a team (or 20) is also helpful, as it gives one opportunities to put their stuff out there, and get help from other crafters who have been doing this for years.

13. Since you are from Maryland, what is your favorite place in Baltimore to visit? If you don't go to Baltimore, you can name a local hag out.

Cheers lounge in Eldersburg, it's about 30 minutes outside the city. Horrible 70s wood paneled decor, the most random assortment of people in one place you'll ever see, and the best fried chicken in MD. Plus, they have Guinness on tap. I love that place.

 The next time you're on Etsy, check out Plantzilla. You can also find more info on Facebook.