Toni Reale | File Photo

Quite often at Roadside Blooms, new customers will come in who have just moved to the area to rebuild or add to their indoor plant collection. We love learning about where they are from, what brought them here, and what plants they were able to bring and what plants were tough to leave behind. They all have stories and their faces light up when they talk about their plant collection and those on their bucket list. Frequently, we are asked how transplants can meet other plant-minded people so they can begin creating their new community here. 

Opportunities for plant-minded connections

There’s something so innocent about connecting with others over a shared love of plants. Discussions of plant care, plant issues, dream plants, plant sales, propagation techniques and more break down any barriers to otherwise connecting. 

A plant swap in Park Circle in North Charleston | Photo by Toni Reale

Facebook groups are plentiful when it comes to locals exchanging ideas. My favorites include Lowcountry Plant Hobbyists and Lowcountry Plant Swap. In these groups, people are kind and encouraging. There is no judgment on these pages and I’ve seen really beautiful connections happen. One example: Years ago someone lost their whole indoor collection due to a house fire. People came out of the woodwork to offer cuttings and whole plants to help them restart their collection acknowledging that plants do, in fact, make people happy and can help heal from traumatic events such as losing everything in a fire. 

Plant swaps organized on these pages typically happen on a single day where people bring a plant to the event, can pick a plant and meet other people. There are other swaps like this one organized and hosted by Park Circle resident Glenn Cabaley — a hand-painted kiosk that’s a take-a-plant, leave-a-plant opportunity.

If there’s not one of these in your neck of the woods, why not start one?

There also are Facebook garden clubs in many neighborhoods and parts of town sharing tips and plants for the outdoors. A quick search will offer nearby options. 

Opportunities IRL (In Real Life)

Newcomers frequently comment on how different the flora are here and how different it would be to start a garden in terms of planting times and seasonality. 

Clubs

If you are looking to start a garden here and the climate is different from what you are used to, we highly recommend Rita’s Roots Garden Grower’s Club. It is packed with so much content, opportunities to ask questions and chances to connect with a members’-only page that will help you start gardening like a Lowcountry native. Rita can also be hired for at-home assessments, consultations and even help build your vision. 

The Charleston Horticultural Society, founded in 1999, offers a lecture series, native plant sale event and an informative newsletter that tells you what you should be doing in your garden that month. 

Community gardens

Many neighborhoods have their own community gardens and what better way to meet new neighbors than to get involved, volunteer and share in the bounty. Search for one online or ask a neighbor.

The Green Heart Project offers many volunteer opportunities to help build and maintain urban gardens at schools. These gardens help enrich students’ STEM experiences and connect them to how food is grown. 

For indoor plant enthusiasts, Roadside Blooms offers an in-person plant series called Plantmate. It’s held twice a year and is a four-month plant club in which each class offers a new more challenging plant to help build skills and confidence. Participants learn about its natural history, how to care for and propagate it. Before and after class, participants mingle and get to know one another.  

Workshops

There are lots of opportunities for single-event indoor plant workshops. In addition to Roadside Blooms offerings that are held in-shop and at local breweries, Plant House in Mount Pleasant offers interactive workshops and walk-in DIY terrarium building. Abide a While also offers workshops of all kinds almost year round. 

Whether you are new to the area or were born here, it’s never too late to engage with your community and to meet new friends. Plant communities are filled with kind and encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds and would be a great place to build new friendships.

Toni Reale is the owner of Roadside Blooms, a unique flower and plant shop in Park Circle in North Charleston. It specializes in weddings, events and everyday deliveries using nearly 100% American- and locally grown blooms. Online at roadsideblooms.com. 4610 Spruill Ave., Suite 102, North Charleston.


Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.