Indoor plant event beats expectations

Mother and daughter Sarah Ladbrook and Jade Aitken showcased their sculptures and home-grown...
Mother and daughter Sarah Ladbrook and Jade Aitken showcased their sculptures and home-grown plants alongside 32 other stallholders at the Southland Plant Event in Invercargill on Saturday. PHOTO: ABBEY PALMER
It started as a way for Southland plant enthusiasts to connect.

A year and a-half, nearly 600 members and a packed-out Southland Plant Event later, the Southland Indoor Plants group has exceeded its founder’s expectations.

South African national Caitlin Harvey describes herself as an introvert.

However, her love of plants and handy-woman skills have connected her with people from across the region since her move to Invercargill about three years ago.

"The group started as a way to sell plants and share knowledge with like-minded people.

"It was a way for people to connect with people that they maybe otherwise wouldn’t interact with."

On Saturday, members turned an empty gym at the Invercargill YMCA into a jungle.

With 32 stalls run by people from different backgrounds, ages and genders — the Southland Plant Event was decorated with a plethora of greenery.

From hanging plants to herbs, kokedama, crystals and plant-holding sculptures, the list of items for sale was extensive.

For the apprentice tradie and owner of the business Tradie With Plants, it was all about community.

"A lot of people here are introverts but it’s a chance for them to put themselves out there and showcase their stuff," Ms Harvey said.

As for the future, she hoped more indoor plant enthusiasts would join the group and the event would be held twice yearly.

The stall of mother and daughter Sarah Ladbrook and Jade Aitken, of Invercargill, was just one of those showcasing plants and sculptures on the day.

Plants had always been a "big thing" for her, Mrs Ladbrook said.

In 2017, she won the South Alive Gardening Competition with her home-grown plants, she said.

Now it was just a matter of sharing her passion with everyone else.

"I try get everyone hooked".

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