Mon | Nov 19, 2018

Turning hobby into a thriving business

Published:Saturday | January 24, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Karrie Williams, Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:Madge Neil-Burnett, or 'Miss Pat' as she is affectionately known, is not your average managing director.

Though she currently sits at the helm of Greenwood Plaza Company, it is in her garden that her passion for life blossoms.

After years of attending horticultural shows, both locally and overseas, and flexing her green thumb at home, Miss Pat finally decided to take her inborn love for plants a step further by establishing the Peace of Mind Plant Nursery.

In fact, she told Western Focus that what began two years ago as an extension of her hobby, has now materialised into a thriving business, and the latest department to be added to Greenwood Plaza Company.

"Peace of Mind Plant Nursery encapsulates my love for plants and, by extension, every living thing," Miss Pat said.

many rewards

"I get many rewards from being around plants. They are my natural remedy for peace and tranquillity. I really love to come and sit in the garden and just look around at all the plants in bloom. In every direction I turn my head, I see something beautiful, and that makes me very excited," she added.

Currently, there are more than 100 species of flowering and non-flowering plants in cultivation at the nursery, which sits on approximately one acre of land, adjacent to Greenwood Hardware, located at Greenwood, St James. Some of the species featured are poinsettia, crown of thorns, desert rose, duranta gold, and several varieties of palms, orchids and dieffenbachias, among others.

The nursery also cultivates ornamental plants which include pepper and banana. Ever the passionate gardener, Miss Pat shared a number of hints and tips on how to care for plants to make them grow well.

"The way in which a plant is cared for is very critical to its survival. There are some plants that do not grow well in excess water or plant food, so you have to be very careful how you care for those. Then you have others that do not like to be given plenty sunlight, like some orchids, so it's best to keep those indoors. It's all a matter of learning about each respective plant and its requirements for growth and nourishment.

inspect the plants regularly

"It is also important to inspect the plants regularly to access how well they are growing. I check all my plants on a weekly basis. I normally search for those tiny ones that look as though they are about to die, and I pay much attention to those. I treat those plants as I would a baby, just to ensure that they thrive and do well, as all the others," she said. In addition to growing and packaging plants for resale to the public, Peace of Mind also offers a range of floral decor services, catering to weddings, business functions, parties and funerals. Its floral products include corsages, bridal bouquets and reeds, all of which are done to order. The nursery also facilitates school tours on weekdays.