About to cut the ribbon at the Grand Opening of The Peacock Cottage Fancy Plants shop.
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What a wonderful start to 2016 Frank and I have had so far! Frank is about to go back to school teaching -- it’s hard to believe the summer is over and a new year is starting with the sweet students. This year Frank will teach dual enrollment seniors at our local community college. He’s excited about his new location and change of curriculum.
After teaching 11th grade American History for a decade, I “retired” from teaching in 2015 to focus full-time on The Peacock Cottage and expanding/ strengthening what we offer. It was a hard decision to stop teaching -- I truly enjoyed the kids -- they were very kind, optimistic, and funny! But it was time to see where else this plant venture could take me, and there was just not enough time in the day to do both. I am pleasantly surprised though with the teaching opportunities I have through running the business: speaking with garden clubs, hands-on activities at retirement communities, and our Fairy Garden classes at the shop.
We have seen some change around here at The Peacock Cottage. In November of 2015 we opened our first Plant Shop. While attending pop-up Garden Shows and Farmers Markets for the past 10 years, many people had asked if we had a permanent plant shop, and now we can answer in the affirmative! The hiring of our first employee accompanied the opening of the shop, and we are so happy to have Sierra working with us at the shop -- she does a wonderful, thorough, and cheerful job!
The last couple years unfortunately saw the passing of both Frank and my fathers. We are both so lucky to have known them for so long, but we do miss them. We still have our wonderful mothers thankfully. This past December we took a cruise with Frank’s family to celebrate his father’s life and to spread his ashes. It was a wonderful family vacation with lots of great memories.
Frank and I also got to travel this summer to Portland, Oregon to visit a dear friend and her husband for a week. What a fantastic time! The lavender was in full bloom, the cherries were thick on the trees, the natural beauty out there is amazing! This was our first visit to the Pacific Northwest and we will definitely be back. And the roses! Oh, the roses!
If you still have not stopped by to see the shop, you have to come see! Frank personally picked out the lavender wall and blue floor paint colors. ‘Tis pretty bold, but it sets a nice backdrop for all the colorful items in the shop. We offer a lot of cool things made by local artists. It’s been a lot of fun setting up, figuring out advertising, hiring an employee, understanding taxes, sourcing materials, meeting new customers, seeing old customers, teaching classes, and developing systems and procedures that work. It’s so much fun to learn all these different aspects of business and wear these various hats. This shop has consumed copious amounts of energy, capital, and creativity, but it’s all been very exciting and a great learning experience so far. You could say that Frank and I are ‘Proud as Peacocks.’
Enjoying the water garden and koi pond at Portland's Japanese Garden.
Frank and Laura at the Blarney Castle walking through the Poison Garden
after kissing the Blarney Stone on their Anniversary.
Last summer we officially started manufacturing and distributing Dandy Pots
and the Peacock Cottage continues to grow. After this initial year, we are
particularly grateful for our core retailers. Dandy Pots are now for sale in
over thirteen different states across America from Holm Town Nursery
(Alaska), to the Flower Bin (Colorado), to Lyndon Lyon (New York), and back
home in sunny Florida at Foshee Jewelers.
Thanks for all the comments and advice. Growing our business,
we consider our options with responsibility. We have been
fortunate to move at a tempo that allows for thought and conversation.
Our inventory of Dandy Pots is fully stocked in three different sizes in
12 different colors made locally in north central Florida. Over the past
year, we have added a greenhouse to our property and increased our
storage garage. Looking to next year, we are developing a showroom
gallery and design studio.
Crocheted quilts and blankets cover the base of a tree in London’s Kew Gardens.
Our involvement--mostly Laura’s--in garden clubs strengthens our commitment
to quality in environmentalism. Whether as part of the Violet Club of Ocala, or
the African Violet Council of Florida, or the African Violet Society of America,
we know that support of houseplants is part of a bigger philosophy. Enthusiasm
for plants includes caring for nature, caring enough to know how it works and
including it in your home as much as fostering it outside. Micro-gardening may
be the future, but until then we continue to improve water conservation efforts.
Simple and precise watering systems are at the conceptual roots of Dandy Pots.
This takes tree hugging to a whole other level. Keeps ‘em nice and cozy!
Education includes visiting stellar Botanical Gardens. Over the past year, we visited
Atlanta’s Botanical Garden, Massee Lane Gardens in Georgia
(home to the American Camellia Society), and dozens of extravagant gardens across Florida.
In June, we traveled around the British Isles and explored a range of enthralling parks.
The Botanical Garden of Belfast in Northern Ireland was free and open to the public,
bordering a college campus; it has a spectacular rose collection. Northern Scotland also
had picturesque nature venues open to the public. While in London, the public parks are
as impressive as the best of them, whether paying for admission or not. Kew Gardens’ rose
collection was bursting with broad arrays of color, scent, and shape.
Finally, we attended the World Flower Show in Dublin, which is like the World Cup of blooms.
View our latest YouTube video to see more. Through learning about new designs and picking
up gems of wisdom promoted globally, we sharpen our practice. Here’s to year two!
Frank Perdomo – Summer 2014
Trellis after trellis of climbing roses awed the senses at Kew Gardens.
My husband Frank and I have been involved in African violets since our days
together in college. We started selling strictly African violets in 2007 at the Ocala
Master Gardener Spring Show since we had so many violets and I thought it would be fun.
Since then we have expanded to selling all kinds of Gesneriads (the larger plant family
that encompasses African violets), local honey, handmade jewelry, roses, baked goods, and
of course-- Dandy Pots. Not only have we expanded our repertoire, we have also expanded
to selling at 10 flower shows a year.
I have always been attracted to selling. When I was in school as a kid I sold candles, rocks,
candy, hand-knit bags, home-made purses, stationary, golf balls and zinnias. I always loved
the thrill of inventory, pleasing the customer, planning, and the sale.
I met Diane Heras, the original developer, maker, and distributor of Dandy Pots back in 2008
and quickly started selling her Dandy Pots, enjoying the extra color and whimsy they added
to my booth at flower shows. These pots are so pretty and eye catching. Since we have been
selling them for about 5 years now, we have had the awesome experience of people coming to
a show the next year and explaining how they had always killed African violets, but they
purchased a Dandy Pot and this was the first time they could keep a violet alive. So they come
back for another plant to add to the original purchase, buy one for the office, or purchase one
as a gift now that they know Dandy Pots truly work.
When Diane and her family decided to sell Dandy Pots earlier this year, Frank and I were so
excited to be in a position to purchase the business and be able to stock all the colors and sizes.
I know as a Dandy Pot customer, I was so sad to hear from Diane that she was not able to keep
the business going- these are great pots! So I am excited to be able to continue offering them
The Dandy Pots are still made in Florida, in a factory in Zephyrhills where Diane had them made.
John, the owner of the factory, does a great job and works hard turning out so many pots for us!
Whether you are purchasing a Dandy Pot for yourself, as a gift, to sell in your garden shop, or to
sell at a farmer’s market or plant show, we are here to make that work for you. We will provide
you with prompt and courteous service, a fantastic product we take pride in, and materials to
help you be successful. We want to go above and beyond for you because that is the way we like to be treated.
Laura Perdomo - Summer 2013