Gardening expert set to spread her roots

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A Newmachar woman is fast becoming known as Aberdeenshire’s plant doctor after launching The Potting Shed last year.

Fiona MacDonald set up The Potting Shed in April after gaining advice from Business Gateway Aberdeen City & Shire.

Since then her reputation for selling houseplants has grown, with followers on social media and customers at farmers’ markets throughout the Shire not only buying plants from her by asking for guidance on how to keep their house plants healthy.

Fiona said: “I’ve always loved gardening, and after having my children I didn’t want to go back to my old job so went to Business Gateway for advice on how to get started in business. My adviser was really helpful and offered me a unique opportunity to exhibit at Granite Expo 2016, where I met another local enterprise who I hope to collaborate with moving forward. I’ve also completed a lot of the free courses. Each one has offered practical advice and made me think.

“House plants are increasingly being used as style accessories that not only brighten a room but make a space more interesting. Selecting plants for the home is a case of knowing the right place for the plant. Some plants enjoy sunshine and others prefer some shade and humidity. When people buy plants from me, I can advise them on the right plant for the situation and for them, and I’m planning to start a blog that will provide a bank of useful information for people to pull from.”
The former IT expert, who is soon to complete The Royal Horticultural Society’s gardening course, is looking to expand The Potting Shed into the commercial arena, providing local businesses with plants that will thrive in office spaces.

She’s also looking to spread her roots into the wedding market, providing happy couples with handtied succulent plants that will make unique, living wedding favours which guests can take home and watch grow.

Gillian Macdonald, Business Gateway, said: “With the knowledge gained at our workshops, Fiona has managed to turn a hobby into a thriving business, gaining a strong reputation for sourcing classic and unusual houseplants and advising on the plant that is right for each customer. Branching out into both the commercial and wedding markets is a clever move, which will open up new avenues for growth. Future plans for the business include potentially launching an e-commerce site, with the ultimate aim being to open a shop. Whichever direction Fiona wishes to grow the business we will be on hand to provide advice to help make her plans a reality.”

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