With spring officially in full bloom, The Plantery, a family-owned, interior plantscaping business, is using what is typically considered outdoor vegetation to decorate many local homes and offices.
Pat Irving, founder and owner of The Plantery, operates the business out of her Gig Harbor home, using plants, flowers, and even trees to decorate the workspaces and private homes of her clients.
The Plantery’s main goal, said Irving, 58, is to beautify spaces and make her customers excited to be at home or go to work.
“Sometimes people will say that our plants look so beautiful they thought they were fake,” said Irving, “but I think that live plants are more beautiful.”
Irving notes that in addition to aesthetics, plantscaping has other benefits. In 2007, for example, NASA produced an article that explained how plants can clean air and kill toxins in indoor environments.
The live vegetation used by The Plantery not only improves moods, but can also help with productivity, creativity and reducing allergies.
Irving’s daughter, Kelly Burris, 33, who does plantscaping design for the business, said many people who occupy office spaces often want to keep their plants with them when they change locations.
People become attached to the plants in their cubicles. Some even name them.
Kelly Burris, 33, plantscaping designer for The Plantery
“People become attached to the plants in their cubicles,” Burris said. “Some even name them.”
As a child, Burris often worked with her mother back when Irving owned a plantscaping company in California. The work comes naturally to them, she said.
“For as long as I can remember,” said Burris, who recalls helping to put soil into pots, “Mom has been doing this.”
Irving started her first plantscaping company in 1977, but sold that business in 1990 when she and her family moved to Gig Harbor. After a few years, Irving realized the work still called to her.
“I thought I was done when I sold my business in California,” said Irving. “But I missed it. I love my job so much. I love what I do.”
Irving started anew in Gig Harbor back in 1997. In fact, The Peninsula Gateway was her first local project.
Over the years, The Plantery has grown, mostly through word of mouth.
Irving has worked with many local companies, including car dealerships such as Larson Volkswagon, Mercedes, Toyota and Audi, as well as area architectural offices.
In addition, Irving has also worked with the Gig Harbor Green.House Restaurant, and a DuPont retirement community called Patriot’s Landing.
Although Irving’s home base is Gig Harbor, she has clients throughout Washington in Tacoma, Seattle, Issaquah, Bellevue, and Olympia. She also hopes to further expand The Plantery’s reach, particularly on the Kitsap Peninsula.
I love my job so much. I love what I do.
Pat Irving, founder and owner of The Plantery
While many of Irving’s designs can be found in offices and other work spaces, she also works for private homeowners.
Roughly $80 will buy six plants or trees, said Irving. That price includes a 24-hour guaranteed replacement of plants if they are unhealthy, or clients are dissatisfied.
The Plantery also offers free consultations and estimates, as well as bi-weekly and monthly maintenance services that include pruning, watering and cleaning. Only organic and natural pesticides are used on the plants, said Burris, emphasizing that the goal is to have the least possible impact on the environment.
While The Plantery’s services are meant to beautify and improve spaces, some of the company’s services also have practical uses.
For instance, a greenwall is an entire vertical plane covered in plants. These not only help clean the air, but also serve as sound barriers, which can be significant additions to shared office spaces.
Using greenwalls and other techniques, The Plantery customizes each design for the spaces in which they work. Designs are even modified to reflect different months and seasons.
“We make sure to stay on top of design trends and what’s new to the industry,” Burris said.
During the holidays, The Plantery decorates trees, and color bowls and other circular arrangements are filled with poinsettias and other seasonal flowers.
Both Irving and Burris have a passion for interior plantscaping, and each of them have favorite plants and flowers they like to incorporate into designs.
Irving likes the fishtail palm, a tree with leaves that resemble fishtails. She also likes to work with bromeliad, a tropical flower whose color is almost always a vivid red.
Burris, however, enjoys the neon pothos, a bright green vining plant. Another of her favorites is the anthurium, whose red leaves take on the appearance of hearts.
An online portfolio featuring some of these plants, as well as The Plantery’s design work and plant studies, can be viewed at ThePlantery.net.