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#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Houseplant Tastemakers, How-to, Interview, Plants on TV

Liz Kirby, Host and Author, The Indoor Garden

November 8, 2017

For our latest tastemaker series, we are so honor to introduce you to Liz Kirby. We were first introduced to her by a fellow workshop attendant, we were soon hooked on Liz’s genuine personality and informative plant care tips on her Youtube channels. Liz was in the plant world before the #urbanjubgle was even a thing. She is the plant lady you definitely don’t want to miss out! 

Meet Liz

 Name:  Liz Kirby

Location:  Arlington, VA

Occupation:  Realtor, Host of “The Indoor Garden” TV series and Author of the corresponding blog

Favorite Plant:  I have such a great appreciation, in general, for all plants that I just can’t say that I have a favorite. I have favored Aralias and orchids for my home.                                         

Can you share a little bit of background about yourself?   Like many eighteen-year-olds,   I did not know what I would want to study in college. Fortunately, after I graduated from high school, a friend of mine who sold wholesale plants from Florida had the thought that I might enjoy a job in a plant store and he found one for me.  So I did that instead of getting a college degree. I truly enjoyed working there with great people who taught me a lot about indoor plants. I ended up working in the horticulture and floriculture field for twenty-five years.

For those who haven’t watched The Indoor Garden on YouTube, can you share a little bit about the series?  The idea was conceived around 1988. For a long time, I felt that the general public did not get very good specific instructions on growing houseplants. There were some books but  sometimes they just got vague or even wrong instructions. Lots of good experience and a few good  books were my best teacher.  I met many customers who truly believed they could not grow plants and I was sure they could. I thought doing a television series on the care and appreciation of indoor plants would be a great way to share what I had learned. It aired for three years on a local PBS station. When YouTube came along I saw the opportunity to share plant care all over again. The show was videotaped but translates pretty well to a digital format.

What’s a secret skill you have?   I don’t think I have any that I would keep a secret. One skill I have and wish I used more, is that I can very easily come up with a harmony to many songs. It’s one skill I couldn’t teach, it just comes naturally.

What’s the best present you’ve given or received?   Friendship

If your space was on fire, what’s the first thing you’d grab to save?   The living things

What’s on your to-do list today?   Some housekeeping, getting the hummingbird feeder out, finding a rental apartment for a lovely woman from New Jersey and to catch up on correspondence

What is your favorite plant and why?  It’s difficult to pinpoint one but since I began learning about them, I’ve thought that ferns were amazing. They make you think. As best we know, they have lived on the earth longer than just about any other group of plants. You can find them all over the world. They appear somewhat delicate and fragile, but are they?

Do you have a “green thumb”?  I do now. I had to cultivate it, so that enabled me to encourage others that they could too. I heard many times from others that they did not have a ‘green thumb” and I just don’t accept that. I truly believe anyone who wants to, can develop that skill.

Any plant care tips you can share?  Watering plants once a week is not a good rule of thumb. It’s usually best to start out with hardier varieties if you are just beginning to learn how to grow plants. Get good instructions and look for an expert if your plant is not doing well. Most plants will recover and thrive with the right instructions.  

What tops your houseplant wish list?  If I had the space, I would love a cymbidium orchid.

How did The Indoor Garden television series start?   I befriended a television producer who had a local TV series airing in the area. I had the thought that a television series could be a great way to teach what I had learned about indoor plants, so I started looking into how to make that possible.

Do you have a favorite episode or show memory?  I especially enjoyed having guests on the show. It was quite easy to work with them.

Do you think there’s been a resurgence interest of houseplants recently?  It seems to be going that way. There are many different types of retail outlets and online places that have been selling plants for a long time. I do believe they’d stop if interest was low.

Any words of advice for plant novices?   Don’t give up if you aren’t very successful at first. There are many easy-to-grow plants and you may want to buy your first plants at a plant store, garden center or nursery where someone should be informed enough to help you choose a plant that suits you. For example, a busy person may want a large plant that doesn’t need water often. Make sure your plants are placed in the best light situation for your particular plant. Find out how to water them properly.  Those two aspects of care, light and correct watering, are most important to success.

Thank you so much, Liz!

PS: Check out more of our tastemakers series here 

 

 

 

#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Plants on TV

Plant Pokemon!

July 30, 2016

It’s safe to say that the early 2000’s are making a comeback. From the Gilmore Girls reboot series coming to Netflix to the reintroduction of crop tops and choker necklaces into the fashion world. One of the latest fads that is giving everyone nostalgia is the new Pokemon Go app! Pokemon Go is a location based reality game that lets you catch, battle, and train virtual Pokemon wherever you go. Our plant (and Pokemon Go) experts have picked out our favorite Pokemon that have an uncanny resemblance to some of our favorite plant picks!

1. Tangela

250px-114Tangela

Looks like:  Monstera

Personality:  Crazy and fun!

2. Oddish

250px-043Oddish

Looks Like:  Snake Plant / Air plant

Personality: Cute and shy

3. Bellsprout 250px-069Bellsprout

Looks Like: Pothos/Philo

Personality: Steadfast

4. Exeggutor

250px-103Exeggutor

Looks Like: Ponytail Palm

Personality: Moody but fun

5. Ivysaur

 

250px-002Ivysaur

Looks Like: Fern

Personality: Any

Browse our selection of Pokemon inspired houseplants on our website!

#PlantsMakePeopleHappy, Interview, Plant History, Plants on TV

The Martian: Q&A with Andy Weir

October 2, 2015
The Martian - All Rights Reserved 20th Century Fox.

The Martian – All Rights Reserved 20th Century Fox.

Without revealing too much of the plot… could you discuss the origins or thoughts behind Mark’s botany background?

Honestly, I needed the main character to be skilled at growing plants. Rather than come up with some implausible backstory where he’s a gardening enthusiast in his spare time, I decided just to make it his profession.

In other interviews you mentioned the wealth of feedback that you received from the science community as well as models that you created to help make specific details as accurate as possible. Were there anything specific insights provided regarding plants, potatoes or bacteria that helped? Would you also care to share any favorite reference or reading material that you used for research?

I didn’t get much feedback about the botany aspects of things. I did get one bit of useful information that turned out to not affect the story. It’s dangerous to farm with human manure, because the plants will often have human pathogens on or inside them from the humans that generated the manure. Thing is, that’s not a problem for Mark, because he’s the only person eating the crops. It’s fine to be exposed to your own pathogens. You’re already immune to them.

As a company that sells indoor plants, we often quote the famous NASA study on air purifying and oxygen producing plants. Since publishing the book and working on the movie has NASA or other space agencies shared any neat space plant programs, studies or opportunities?

Not much, no. To be fair, my main interest is in propulsion and mission architecture stuff, so they tend to focus on that.

Recently astronauts ate the first ever vegetables grown in space. When do you think plant life grown in space will play an important role in sustaining life in space?

It’s absolutely imperative if we ever want to colonize other worlds. And with that (this is just my opinion here) we will need to create GMOs that are able to have a much higher calorie yield per volume. Any space colony will have severe volume constraints. We need plants that can feed a population without requiring millions of square meters to grow.

 

Plants on TV

Mad Inspiration

June 25, 2013
In honor of Sunday night’s Mad Men season finale – which drew 2.7 million viewers! – we’ve pulled together a plant-focused inspiration board directly from the TV series. Most aspects of the show, including set design, costume design, and props, are highly acclaimed for historical accuracy. Our hats off to Mad Men for getting the houseplants right, too!
Our favorite 60s houseplants: rubber plants, snake plantsphilodendron, and monstera and 60s planters: white or red ceramic pots, terra cotta, and mod ‘bullet’ planters.
(check out AMC’s Mad Men page)