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Enjoying the 'plant boom.' New Glass Garden store feature cool plants, hot glass

By The Repository,

2023-03-15

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PLAIN TWP. − Stepping into the Glass Garden store is like taking a mini tropical getaway.

The shop at 4330 Avondale Lane NW off Whipple Avenue NW features thousands of plants and ornamental glass gifts made its glass-blowing studio. The operators will host a spring open house from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday (March 16).

"It's been great, a lot of excitement," co-manager Kenny Freeda said. "We're right in the middle of plant craze."

The relatively new business is the brainchild of owner Jack Baker, who combined two of his hobbies.

"We put it all together to make a business," he said.

Pandemic effect on plant sales

Freeda and Glass Garden co-manager Nicole Rasmussen said the timing for the store couldn't have been more perfect given the current "plant boom," a residual effect from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It jump-started people getting into plants," he said.

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Rasmussen said it's much different from the macrame plant-hanger boom of the 1970s.

"It's a whole different crowd," she said. "There are plant 'pop-up' stores today."

Rasmussen majored in greenhouse management at the Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute extension in Wooster and is an avid gardener.

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The Glass Garden, Rasmussen said, has about 1,500 plants consisting of more than 200 varieties; most coming from Florida.

They include such rarities as albino hoyas, Thai constellation monstera and the prehistoric-looking cryptanthus bromeliad or "Earth Star."

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Rasmussen's favorite plant?

"I absolutely love orchids," she said. "Even in college that was my favorite."

Freeda said he's partial to the calathea, which features spiky leaves with a soft purple underside.

'Plants can't swim'

On Saturdays, the two offer assistance with repotting. Freeda and Rasmussen said they welcome questions about plant care, noting the most common problem is overwatering.

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"You can put more water in, but you can't take it out." Freeda said. "I have to tell people all the time, 'Plants can't swim.' That's our favorite part of the job, plant advice."

Rasmussen said they also work with other local plant shops. For example, they purchase succulents from a vendor in Wooster.

"Our competition is the big-box stores," she said.

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Professional glass blower Sebastian Shepherd operates the store's glassblowing studio and offers workshops at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays (limit five people), and demonstrations from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays.

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"It's a good time," he said. "It's something everyone should try. A lot of beginners catch the bug."

The studio features furnaces that reach 2,100 degrees.

Shepherd, a graduate of Kent State University, previously worked for Baker for six years before returning to the area last year.

"It's perfect for me," he said.

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To learn more, call 234-360-3611, or visit them on Facebook.

This article originally appeared on The Repository: Enjoying the 'plant boom.' New Glass Garden store feature cool plants, hot glass

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