EASY MAGAZINE: Sowing seeds of success
How does your garden grow?
Just ask Alistair Griffith who has used his green thumbs to make a plant business bloom. The co-owner of Plant Nation Garden Centre told EASY magazine he never had an inkling of becoming a horticulturist.
But the first time he planted a seedling and watched it mature into a fully fledged plant he gave up his suit and tie for rubber boots and gardening gloves.
“I wanted to a marketer and brand specialist so prior to this that was my life. I got my CXCs in management and I got my degree in marketing at Cave Hill. Gardening was never really a passion mine at first,” he said. “I never saw myself becoming an agriculturist, but now I love horticulture.
“As a child I used to watch my mother do a lot of planting . . . .
She would always decorate the house with flowers and have the place look beautiful. The house always had plenty fruit trees and from age 12 I would help her on evenings after school with landscaping. But I never thought of it as a profession, it was just something to help out with at home.”
The Deighton Griffith alumnus said life seemed like a reccurring pattern and the splendour of marketing had reached its peak and started to dwindle. Then one day he found himself without a job and unemployment sent him soul-searching. He resumed gardening with his mother Magdalena Griffith and soon realised his life had meaning again.
“I don’t know how but I just got this inspiration to do more than my personal garden. July 4 was when I bought my first supply for the business and that was the day things really turned around for me. My best friend Terry Straker encouraged me and said he would help me and now we both own our own plant nursery.
“Funny enough my mum has pitched in too and all three of us are obsessed with horticulture and supply the nation with medicinal herbs. And that’s how the name of the business was developed.”
The 26-year-old told EASY his mum and Terry play pivotal roles in the business. Magdalena brings creativity and “a mother’s touch” while Terry brings his agricultural science expertise.
A special type of soil is required to nurture the business. Alistair said a mixture of art, science, technology and passion was the right bedding for the roots of the business. There are wide varieties of fruit trees and vines, flowers, shrubs and medicinal herbs in the plant nursery. The picturesque floral haven calms the soul. It’s healing aura and sanctifying force stimulates tranquility and evokes a sense of peace and serenity.
“The business is only six months old but we are focused on providing unique and exotic plants along with the regular indoor plants. We try to keep a good variety because we know everyone has a different taste,”
“Right now we have a great supply of medicinal herbs and we know the older generation was big on cerasee bush so we have tried to accumulate as much as these things to keep Barbados in tune with the old time remedies. We also have herbs such as blood root, which is great for blood pressure, moringa and panadol plants.
“We also have a variety of garden herbs to make tasty salads and grapevines and strawberries.”
Every business has its ups and downs and this is no different with Plant Nation Garden Centre. Alistair confessed that some plants take ‘forever’ to grow but it has taught him a lot about patience.
Alistair added that he has tanks of guppies to rid the area of mosquitoes and
to give the nursery a more “sanctuary feel”.
He said he was extremely grateful to Terry and his mum for their help and encouragement, especially when times were hard.
“People actually cried me down because I gave up my office life to grow plants and said that a university graduate should be doing more but I always had my family support to keep me going.
“I love what I do now even more than what I did before,” Alistair said, “When I am in the nursery I feel joy and happiness. I am especially excited when a seed germinates and springs up suddenly.”
A big fan of music, he can play the keyboard and guitar and even had a dream of being a top gospel artiste. He is still on a journey to fulfil his childhood dream.
However, the St Patrick’s, Christ Church resident is currently working on applying his marketing skills to the company to stimulate more business.
He added that he was also interested in creating cosmetics from the “special plants” in his garden. (SB)