Plants need care, love and warmth, but sometimes we lack to take care of it and plants are easily thrown up to the street or to the trash bin. A young entrepreneur Aiste Virketė was concerned about “homeless” plants and decided to open the very first plant shelter in the country with a window of life.
Within a few months from various places, nearly 400 different plants were collected. But the rented office in the old building is too small so Aiste has already looked at a more spacious office in the suburb. However, to move plants to another place there is a need for a help.
An unexpected abundance of “homeless” plants
The elevator opens and a small girl is carefully stretching out of it a huge plant. “A new resident!”, — says a smiling girl and invites to enter a small cabinet. After stepping inside you can really lose your breath: in a small room fits couple hundred of plants, some of them are stretching out to the ceiling, classical music is playing inside while creating a cosy and calm atmosphere.
Aiste greets with all plants while we are preparing for the conversation. She whispered quietly to them: “What a beautiful coffee tree!”, “Grow, thyme, grow!”, “Well, pelargonium, where your beautiful petals are hiding?”. The plant safer says that everything started last winter when she began to look for a green space what could be good for a photo shoot. Unfortunately, she did not find anything similar. “In our botanical garden it is forbidden to spray a hair pray and to behave free, and the officer rampage’s orangery is extremely uncomfortable. So that’s how born an idea to open my own orangery!” — shared memories the founder of the plant shelter, VšĮ “Mes Žydim” manager and “Flora Ikona” photographer A. Virketė.
She immediately began to think where to get all the plants. Firstly, she collected them from yards and from containers. Soon her acquaintances began to offer their unwanted plants. Finally, she began to browse the internet and to write ads online that she is looking for “homeless” plants. Aiste was really surprised when a well-known restaurant instead of throwing out the flowers after the summer season decided to present them to Aiste and her shelter.
Gradually, the work started to be in the full swing and Aiste began to collect unnecessary plants from different parts of the city. Soon she had 400 plants and founded a plant shelter. Here you can see various types of flowers and more rare plants like a banana tree, citrus tree, mandarin tree, pineapple tree, coffee tree, eucalyptus and many others. In the future, they will all have their own documents of origin with the name and the story of appearance.
Aiste pointed out that there are three official orangeries in our country, but the plant shelter — is the very first one. “I have never header about the plant shelter before. I knew that the closest one, founded by two sisters is in Belgium”, said A. Virketė.
Love for plants is inherited from the ancestors
I love every plant. In the morning I say hello to them and on leaving, I say goodbye as well. If plants feel love and care they will lavishly grow. The treasury tree bloomed, even though it was already shrunk and did not seem to recover. There is also a plant incubator. If the plant has a chance to survive, I do not throw away a single leaflet”, — said the founder of the plant shelter. “I treat plants like my friends or family members. When I’m between plants, I go into deep conversations with them and forget all the problems, worries and stress. After the plant therapy, I feel ready again to conquer the world!”.
It takes a long time to take care of it. Only watering takes about 1 hour in the winter time, and 3 hours in the summertime. Of course, we cannot forget a regular re-planting, protection against parasites and so on.
A dream orangery
A. Virketė said that she dreams to open a special orangery that would not have any analogues in Lithuania. According to her, this orangery will be different: people will be able to touch the plant, water it, choose the beloved one, come with families and see how the given plants are growing up.
Plant therapies, yoga lessons, health workshops, rock massages and other events will be host at this public plant shelter as well. On weekends or on the business day you can come to relax, read a book and drink coffee. She also plans to host a plant blooming observation nights.
“Plant therapy heals stress, helps to solve psychological problems and improves blood circulation — it is a natural remedy for exhaustion. This space would be a perfect choice for those who work with a computer. When the harmony is around you — the “inner you” harmonize as well”.
So far these are just plans. “Due to the extraordinary expenses for the rent, which I myself have to pay, I have to move out. All this beauty would have been condemned to be outdoors but at the moment I’m moving to the suburb and temporarily taking all the plants to my house”.
“Lithuanians have lived in nature since ancient times. It’s in our blood. When a person moves away from nature, he begins to accumulate serious diseases”, — said A. Virketė.
Waiting for help
A dream orangery needs at least 1 thousand square meters in the area of 1 hectare. “I saw these spaces in the advertisements and went to see it. It is outside the city, I just need to collect the amount for the rent”, explained Aistė.
Right now the room is far too small and not as bright and warm as the plants need. I cannot take all the plants into the house anymore. I appeal to everyone who wants to contribute to this beautiful project and would help to raise the necessary amount for a new and large space for plants that we all use”.
The founder of the plant shelter informed that the care of the plants costs around 300 euros for a single month — land, fertilizers, water, electricity, heating, special care products, expenses for the rent and much more.
You can support the plant shelter here: VšĮ “Mes Žydim”, LT487300010154150719, purpose: shelter support.
Find out more about the initiative here.