I grew up with parents who are very talented Green Thumbs. Both our family homes boasted beautiful gardens and manicured lawns. You would think I would have inherited their knowledge and skill HOWEVER I am a self-proclaimed plant killer in recovery. I know there must be a few of us out there so I decided to have a chat with Plant Queen Meg Gizuk of Oliver and Rust for some tips and tricks to turn us into full-fledged Green Thumbs.
Oliver and Rust is an upscale lifestyle and plant specialty shop located in the heart of the growing Fonthill core in Ontario. The retail store has been open since April 2015 with a wide array of vintage items, pillows, home décor, planters and a large unique selection of plants.
Oliver and Rust began as the brainchild of owner Meaghan (Meg) Gizuk when she started a blog under the same name to chronicle the renovations of the home she shares with her husband Trevor. What started as an idea from watching Julie and Julia blossomed into a home décor blog having their home featured in numerous national magazines and online lifestyle blogs. The business of selling pillows and vintage items began in their garage with twice a year shows to a blossoming crowd. Eight years later, Meg left an 11 year career in dental hygiene behind to sew thousands of pillows, and indulge her love of all things plant!
Indoor Plants for Beginners
The first plant Meg suggested for beginners is actually one that I started with myself – the Snake Plant. Snake Plants can live in low to high light and really only need watering every 2-3 weeks depending on the light you put them in. They thrive on under-mothering (PERFECT) and neglect (BINGO) and don’t require any extras like fertilizer or misting.
The second indoor plant Meg suggested is the ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas Zamifolia). This plant is glossy and fabulous! The ZZ Plant is a quick grower and they can get large fairly fast for their low maintenance properties. This plant is also works well in low to bright light and requires water approximately every 2 weeks. Just remember to allow your plant to dry fully before watering again!
Let’s Take This Outside
The Boston Fern is Meg’s suggestion for a great outdoor plant for us beginners. This super friendly plant can handle sun AND shade and is a great option for making your planters look lush and full. You can even go one step further as most indoor plants can go outside when you know your light requirements. Make sure to ask when you are buying your plants if they are able to transition to the outdoors. However – if you are grabbing plants off the shelf at the grocery store, the staff may not have the information you need so Pinterest, Google, or Instagram are good fill ins for all your burning questions.
Tools of the Trade
Now that we have the plants we need to have the right tools to keep them happy! Meg suggests a good watering can and a mister – whether it be a simple plastic bottle from the dollar store or a lovely leave out glass or metal version. Plants LOVE humidity and this can be difficult to provide especially when we get into winter months and our furnaces are sucking all the humidity out of the air trying to keep us warm.
Advice From Meg
Live and learn! Try to not get too wrapped up in the fact that you are or aren’t a Green Thumb. The process is all about learning and adjusting. The great thing about plants is that they don’t have to be a lifetime commitment and if you remember that they can be a lot of fun! Obviously no one wants to throw their money away but in the same breath a lot of us tend to forget how much we spend on lattes, entertainment, clothing etc. That plant you invested in made your space pretty, gave you some fresh air and made you smile when you looked at it. Remember that having a plant die or fail doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t keep plants alive, it just means that maybe the plant didn’t love its spot. So dust yourself off and get excited about another planting adventure!