IT started as a way for Southland plant enthusiasts to connect.
A year and a half later, with nearly 600 members and a packed-out event, the Southland Indoor Plants group had exceeded its founder’s expectations.
South African national Caitlin Harvey was a self-described introvert.
However, her love for plants and her handy-woman skills had connected her with people from throughout the region since her move to Invercargill about three years ago.
“The group started as a way to sell plants and share knowledge with like-minded people.
“It was a way for people to connect with people that they maybe otherwise wouldn’t interact with.”
On Saturday, members turned an empty gym at the Invercargill YMCA into a jungle.
With 32 stalls run by people from all different walks of life, the Southland Plant Event was decorated with a plethora of greenery.
From hanging plants to herbs, kokedama (Japanese garden art), crystals and plant-holding sculptures, the list of items for sale was vast.
For the apprentice tradie and owner of Tradie With Plants, it was all about community.
“A lot of people here are introverts but it’s a chance for them to put themselves out there and showcase their stuff,” Ms Harvey said.
As for the future, she hoped more planters would join the social media group and it would turn into a biennial event.
Mother and daughter Sarah Ladbrook and Jade Aitken, of Invercargill, were two of the stallholders showcasing their plants and sculptures on the day.
For Mrs Ladbrook, plants had always been a “big thing” for her.
Her daughter got pulled along for the ride, she said.
In 2017, she won a South Alive Gardening Competition with her homegrown plants.
Now it was just a matter of sharing her passion with everyone else.