Greenway avenue pop up

Forest Flora Plant Stall (AKA Plantaholics Anonymous)

Forest Flora’s first foray into plant sales was a resounding success proving that plants really are a growth industry.

We were all set to sell plants at Walthamstow Pride in July, an effort to raise funds for our brand new website. For months we had propagated a huge array of plants and were looking forward to a heady day of hot air and waxing lyrical about what to plant in a tricky spot. In addition Lyndon Osborn had very kindly donated a batch of stunners to pimp up the eye candy.

As man makes plans, thegods smile. On the day it had forecast rain. As a gardener I am made of sturdy boots and a decent pair of shorts (skin dries quicker than fabric). And my two comrades in arms were more than up for a bit of drizzle, but that morning the rain was biblical. I mean Hollywood movie worthy.

Plant sale in Waltham Forest
Forest Flora Plant Sale

For shelter, a nameless committee member promised us a flimsy gazebo. I was handed said gazebo, it’s poles held together with elastic bands and a deep lack of conviction that all the pieces were there. An arc would have been more apt. We loaded three cars, set off with blurred window wipers and met at Walthamstow Market Square....

.... Only to be told that that market was cancelled. CANCELLED!! The brief relief that we wouldn’t have to struggle for forty minutes trying to find the lost gazebo pole was quickly over shadowed by the realization that we had an awful lot of plants to find a home for. But then a small miracle happened and we were offered an alternative pitch at the St James Street Big Local. That bloody undoubtedly incomplete gazebo was scooped up, dragged back to the car (which of course had a brand new parking ticket flapping from the window wipers) and thrown in the boot. A three-car convoy whipped along to Lloyd Park To join the William Morris Big Local Green Together event.

We were given a prime pitch and... oh joy, oh rapture... a double width gazebo that Laurence of Arabia would have been proud of. Gazebo envy aside, we set up in record time. I was wetter than an otters pocket and I had to dry everything I wore under the hand driers in the café loos. It took a while!

On the way back I saw our beautifully inscribed A-board that completed our stall. A double take and the realization that the what we had cheekily written for Pride was completely inappropriate for this family event meant that the board was snapped shut and hidden from view until it could be wiped clean (though it will never be pure again). A hasty, arty re write and we were back in business.

A steady stream of punters snapped up bargain plants that would have pleased Percy Thrower. Plenty of free advice was dispensed by the resident garden designers manning the stall and Jo, our glamorous none horticultural assistant, bigged up and bagged up the bargains. We made a cool £700 from plant sales, which wasn’t bad for a last minute pitch on a (very) rainy day in Walthamstow.

Keep an eye out for our further endeavors on our plant stall. We are using these funds to help support our local horticultural community.

Mark Cummings
Clive Meredeen
Sarah Purchase