Well! It’s official now. I’ve made an honest woman out of Plantedd. Our launch event was on Friday last week at the Glasgow Botanic Gardens.
Matt, who’s making a documentary for the BBC, dragged me away from the crowds at about 4 o’clock and pointed a camera at me and asked me what it felt like to see it all come together. I was running on adrenaline and 3 hours’ sleep, so I think I babbled and might have said something about how I wasn’t comparing the achievement of starting your own business with having a child… before going on to say that it was like having your own child.
Laura, Matt and me. Photograph: Jamie McHale
For most people, the words “launch event” don’t exactly conjure up a picture of gardens and bunting. Usually, it’s just the opposite. Launches are often in rooms tastefully lit in pink or purple, with a soundtrack of clinking champagne glasses. I didn’t want Plantedd to have a launch event where the guests felt like they couldn’t just turn up in wellies so the Plantedd Garden Party was a relaxed affair. In the end, I put on a suit and a pair of shiny shoes but I at least wanted the option of wearing wellies.
When you care about plants, and when you’re launching a website that sells plants, and when you’ve created this business for other like-minded people who spend the better part of their days thinking about plants, then your launch event needs to have plants. Which, luckily, we had.
We had a charity plant sale in the Kibble Palace glasshouse with hundreds of plants from nurseries across the country and no less than three of them were nurseries who were winners of gold awards at the Chelsea Flower Show. We also had gardening talks to learn about growing plants for when shopping for plants got a bit much – and out at a white tent on the lawn we had cookery workshops on how to prepare and eat plants (or vegetables, if you must).
That was the plan and that was how it unfolded on the day, and my wee Plantedd troop made sure of that. I have a lot of other people to thank for their kind words and good cheer, but I especially need to thank my Plantedd Magnificent Six for working with unflagging enthusiasm and for really caring that the garden party was a success.
And never let it be said that we didn’t think of those who were too young to have much of a view on plants. We indoctrinated the kids by first distracting them with face painting and clay modelling, then we had a reading of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Tiny Seed by Colin McCredie from the CBeebies show Woolly and Tig. All underneath a big beech tree.
I may have succeeded in indoctrinating the head of the Scottish Green Party, Patrick Harvie MSP, as well. He came to support Plantedd’s launch and left with a New Guinea Busy Lizzie for the office.
The day started with the kind of rain that even a hardened Glaswegian would have to tip their (waterlogged) hat to. The skies cleared up though and people came, spirits undampened.
What I liked most about the day was that the Plantedd website was not just mine anymore – it was a delight and a little bit momentous to be able to share it with so many other people at the Glasgow Botanic Gardens. And now, the next step is to share the website and share the plants on there with the good British folk of the interweb. Please head over to the home page – click on the link above, I’ll wait here… – and say hello in the comments below and tell me what you think.