Planting the Seed: The Beginning of Plantscapers

Seacliff Country Club 1984

Every plant starts with a seed, and Plantscapers is no different. This year we mark our 40th anniversary. This huge milestone has made me nostalgic for our humble beginnings, so I thought I would share our origin story. 

In 1981, I was a senior in high school with big dreams of becoming an actress or a famous interior designer. I had always been an overachiever, so I finished high school early to start my education and career. Patience isn’t always my strong suit! 

I come by my work ethic honestly. My grandfather told me that if you work hard, be honest and ethical, good things will come your way. He was right. I have kept that philosophy at the core of our business, and it has proven true. 

But how did I get from interior design to plants? It’s not a long jump. I had a friend who had a landscaping business. One of his clients requested interior plants in their lobby at E.F. Hutton in Long Beach. He asked me to help out since he saw this as a job better suited for a woman. Since I was already studying interior design at Orange Coast College, I volunteered to help.

I love a challenge. I researched plants, placement, and care, found a local wholesale greenhouse and the seed of Plantscapers was planted.  His client loved what I did, and so did their neighbors—my business spread by word of mouth. 

Quickly, they asked me to maintain the plants, so after school each day, I’d do my route while working two other jobs. I eventually needed a larger car, so my grandfather gave me $5,000.00 to purchase my first truck, a white Nissan with a camper shell on the top. He was my first and only investor. Plantscapers was born! 

It was a one-woman show: design, installation, maintenance, billing, and all the sales. It was so fun and each day brought new challenges. I loved meeting new people all the time. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I expanded my education by adding business courses and horticulture classes to my curriculum. I tried to learn as much as possible to grow this business. 

Then came my first yellow page ad; I was so proud, and the jobs just came flooding in. Between word of mouth, a little advertising, and riding the greenery in the office trend of the 80s, I was busy. It was time to sprout. 

Roughly three or four years in,  I needed some muscle to help me out. I asked my then-boyfriend Mark to help me install a huge job where we rented a truck. I remember it like it was yesterday; he went to a payphone and called his boss at the moving company where he worked and quit. Just like that, we were partners in a company that has sustained us now for 40 years. I like to think of us as the perfect pair, the beauty and the beast. I made all the sales, and he did all the heavy work.

Proudly, Plantscapers has grown organically through the needs of our clients. We now serve all Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego counties, and the Greater Palm Springs area. Plantscapers has over 400 clients, both corporate and residential, that we maintain regularly. We have installed thousands of gorgeous projects throughout the country. I have traveled to do some unique projects and have had the honor of designing amazing spaces in corporations and high-end homes. This work has been a true blessing.

It’s not just the work itself that has inspired me. Our team is remarkable. Each one of them is talented, committed, and keeps us going every day. Of course, there have been challenges, triumphs,  and let-downs, but there have been so many wins. But I can honestly say that our passion for our craft and clients is stronger now than when we started 40 years ago. 

It’s a thrill to be able to transform spaces with plants. Bringing biophilia into the common language is our mission, and we’re honored to collaborate with the architectural and design community to create these spaces. 

Look for more details showcasing the past 40 years in our blogs throughout September as we reflect on the years past,  what has brought us to 2021, and what we see for the future! 

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1751 McGaw Ave
Irvine, CA 92614
Phone: (949) 486-1495
Toll-Free: 800-PLANT13
Fax: (949) 486-1499



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