|Some Tips for Home Gardening
from Julie Davis Farrow
1. Most people kill their plants with kindness.
Ignore your plants. Let them talk to you.
2. Typically brown means too much water
and yellow means not enough. Farrow
allows many of her plants to almost start
to wilt before watering them.
3. Know which plants to put where.
This is very important.
4. Keep plants trimmed, keep them clean
with alcohol and water and keep bugs away.
5. Don’t overfertilize indoor plants because
it makes them grow too fast.
Thirty years ago Julie Davis Farrow was an 18-year-old Huntington Beach High School student who aspired to one day make it big as a model and actress. Today she sits in her brightly lit and colorful Irvine office as the founder and president of Plantscapers, Inc., a business focused on providing customers with the best in interior plant design.
“This is not what I had planned to do at all,” Farrow says. “But life is what it is. An opportunity opens and you just kind of go with it.”
The Mission Viejo resident credits a friend who owned an exterior landscaping company with matching her to her future profession. One of their clients wanted an interior decorator to put up plants and her friend, shrugging off the job as a "girl thing," recommended Farrow for the job.
“I put plants in their lobby and they loved it," she says. "Then I started doing the interior design for the CEO’s home and that’s how it all started.”
When Plantscapers, Inc. first started in 1981, Farrow was the sole employee of the company. She gathered potential clients, made the deliveries and installations, dealt with the billing and other business duties – it was a one-woman business. Today, the company has grown enormously and has taken on many more employees and clients. “I laugh now,” Farrow says, “because I think I was more profitable back then when I didn’t have any overhead. It is not what my dream was, but I feel very blessed to have done this for 30 years.”
When a potential client calls Plantscapers, Inc. looking to add a touch of artistic greenery to their home or office environment, Farrow or another salesperson goes out to the location and evaluates the surrounding environment, lighting, colors, and personality of the room before meeting individually with the client to mull over all of the potential plant and container selections that would best fit the area. Besides choosing the most appropriate plants for a specific area, Plantscapers, Inc. offers maintenance services for its plants.
“We have these wonderful technicians that go around weekly and they water, trim and maintain everything we put in," Farrow says.
Farrow didn’t have any extensive business plan when she first set out to start her interior plant design company. Instead, she let the company evolve and grow on its own. She now runs the company with her husband, Mark, who is in charge of installations and maintenance. Her children, Courtney, a student at Saddleback College, and Trevor, a senior at Capistrano Valley High School, help out in the family business as well.
“I think the goal is to have a profitable company but yet be able to manage my clients well and have employees that are happy. I want to grow at a good pace. I’ve seen a lot of companies that have grown way too fast and the quality is bad, plus the employees aren’t happy. I don’t want that,” she says.
Besides her love of decorating and designing is her love of people. “I love my clients. I’ve known them forever... It’s fun hearing how we transformed their environment somehow,” Farrow says. “And the other thing that I love is being able to see my employees grow as human beings. That’s just a thrill to me.”