When I arrived at Dig Nursery, I expected to hear some quick and vague pointers that would leave me still feeling unable to manage indoor plants. See, I have a confession. I kill indoor plants. I always tell people to use them in their homes because I know the health, aesthetic, and mental health benefits of keeping them. Regardless, I had two houseplants. Both that were gifted to me and I look at them in fear daily, wondering when the day will come that I kill them.
My arrival was greeted with a friendly shout, "Hi Rachel! Take some time and look around, I'll be right with you". So, I began to wander and touch the leaves gently, wondering if I should keep my horrid black thumbs away from these wonderfully healthy plants. I started looking at the outdoor plants and realized right away that this was not your typical nursery. I felt like I was in a magical place. Plants aren't treated like commodities here, they are life. Winding, wandering, exploring life. Exactly the impression nature has always given me. Little vignettes with decorative outdoor sculptures made the space feel like a garden, rather than a place of sales.
It was a chilly day, so the warmth of the greenhouse was very welcoming. Even more than the warmth, the aroma was so pleasant. Have you ever walked into your home after baking something and wanted to go back out for a bit just so that you can walk back in? That's exactly how I felt. I've always loved nurseries, and I know the typical smell of the greenhouse. It's a little like manure mixed with "green". It's almost pleasant, but in the same way smelling a horse is almost pleasant. This was entirely pleasant. Sylvia has these amazing planters that look like they belong in Ursula the Sea Witch's cavern. Some were hanging, some resting on the counter, like an upright squid.
Inside her small office, plants hang on the walls, like pieces of art. They sit in large terrariums, in seashells, on rocks, and in sculptures. The artful arrangement of each space, outside and in, confirmed that Sylvia Matlock is an artist.
I wanted to meet with Sylvia so that I could be more confident with my own indoor plants, helping homeowners that I work with to feel that same confidence. When she caught up with my aimless wandering, I admitted my black thumb affliction right away. Sylvia did something no other nursery has done for me, she educated me. She showed me tropical plants and let me know that most people feel they have more light than they do in regards to a plant's needs. Cacti is often thought to be a great indoor plant, but it needs a lot of sunlight and very little watering. I always understood that very little watering was needed, but to me this meant a good dose every week or two. Sadly, this also meant rotting cacti. The tropicals, however, are hardy and can survive in shadier areas. That said, it's nice to move them into the sun for a little "spa time" every now and then. Great examples of these tropicals are the spider plant and philodendron that we've all heard of. They are popular for a reason!
I was also introduced to air plants. And here is where I fell in love. Air plants do not need soil, and need very little water. In fact, a spritz once a week ought to do it. Place these little lovelies in the kitchen or bath, and the humidity alone will almost take care of their needs. Pick up a large spray bottle from the local paint store and let the water sit in it for a day to clear out any chemicals and you have your perfect spritzer. Of course, if you'd like something a little more decorative, the vintage style copper misters are gorgeous when left out and functional!
Air plants can be hung on the wall as art, placed in a terrarium, placed gently in a seashell, or in your funky sculptures. With fall in the air and Halloween approaching, I was in a macabre mood and couldn't resist this adorable, yet creepy baby head sculpture with its little nest of air plant hair. Speaking of nests, did I mention that air plants multiply by creating little nests that can be removed. Those little nests develop into another lovely air plant!
Sylvia mentioned that she likes to keep her plants high and let them dangle and wind their way down. It seems so natural to do this, and yet we're always looking for an open floor space or table space. Free up that horizontal display space, and hang plants to get those wonderful natural benefits.
One more thing. Let's talk about the window herb garden. I admit, this is something I was sold on. I love the look, and what could be more convenient than herbs sitting right in your window sill? How about herbs that live a healthy abundant life? Yeah, that was more appealing. Herbs will thrive much better in a pot on the deck than they would in the garden window. Instead, use the garden window for clippings with little glass jars filled with water. Place your clipping in the water, and there is your beautiful window sill full of herbs. Add an aloe plant and you have a happy plant and a healthy kitchen!
I could not have enjoyed my visit more. I learned a lot and met a friendly, fun, and quirky woman who is truly an artist with unique and insightful methods. Her personality truly sparkles in this magical place.
Dig Nursery offers floral services, the nursery for your shopping needs, and amazing landscaping services, which I have had the extreme pleasure of witnessing first hand. Sylvia and her husband, Ross, offer every service you could need for your landscaping. They create retaining walls, hardscaping, planting, floral, and even unique decks sculpted out of metal and stone. Need a garden bench? A unique outdoor table? Add that to the list of creative services provided.
And, with that, here are some fabulous spaces with many of the plants mentioned above!