South Taranaki Star
Indoor plant trend keeps growing in Taranaki
Debbie Sybrandy remembers every grandmother having a hoya plant in the 1980s, and now she’s a part of the indoor plant resurgence and sells them from her custom-built barn in Taranaki.
Her new business, Brandy’s Botanicals, is located inside a black barn with views out to the ocean.
The barn sits in front of Sybrandy’s home, which she shares with her husband, Andy, and where they raised their three children, Renee, Louise, and Jay.
Sybrandy has a history in horticulture having trained at Duncan and Davies in New Plymouth, which was founded in the late 1800s, and worked at Fairfields garden centre before meeting her husband and moving to the outskirts of H‘awera, where they have lived for more than 30 years.
‘‘I had a garden centre for quite a few years doing perennials and outdoors as we’ve got seven acres here then I had three children, who are now in their 20s, so I closed up the garden centre and concentrated on the kids and did my husband’s books, and accounts and all that,’’ the 53-year-old said.
‘‘But I always had wanted to continue with horticulture so I started importing and selling seeds online.’’
Sybrandy said her daughters had been helping her with marketing, getting the word out on Facebook and
The money she earnt through selling seeds, especially during lockdown, was enough for her to invest in the new business and build the barn.
During lockdown people became more focused on sustainability and gardening, she said.
So she began switching her focus from her garden outside to the plants inside.
‘‘I filled the shed, filled the house, and kept growing and said to my husband ‘what if we built a purpose built barn? I’ve done retail before, so I can still have a seed room and fill the barn with houseplants, gifts and goodies.
‘‘Houseplants are such a big trend, people are so passionate about them, and I’m a kid of the 80s so I had all the houseplants when I was knee high.’’
Sybrandy and Andy found some bargains on Facebook Marketplace for building the barn, such as 100-year-old villa lead light windows for $20.
They also used rustic power poles Andy had access to through his contracting business, as well as a door and a ladder from a church demolition.
A feature wall was created using recycled bricks, to which they hope to add a fireplace for the winter.
‘‘Everybody pulled together.
‘‘We had an amazing builder, a brilliant electrician who just went above and beyond for any little thing, a wonderful bricklayer, and an excellent brother-in-law who did the engineering and built the barn doors.’’
They began the build in August and opened Easter Weekend.
‘‘It’s my passion and 99% of the things in here I grew myself.’’