It really does not matter whether it is a toy truck, bird cage, camping pot, porcelain container or even a large bolt. Hal Veerkamp and Teresa Sumprer are looking for anything unique to build miniature gardens, and the creations that they make are distinctive and stunning. Their miniature gardens are so intricate that many of the succulents they used have to be handled with tweezers. And this green thumbed team is each creative in their own way, creating a multitude of ideas from whatever they find to plant in.
It really does not matter whether it is a toy truck, bird cage, camping pot, porcelain container or even a large bolt. Hal Veerkamp and Teresa Sumprer are looking for anything unique to build miniature gardens, and the creations that they make are distinctive and stunning. Their miniature gardens are so intricate that many of the succulents they used have to be handled with tweezers. And this green thumbed team is each creative in their own way, creating a multitude of ideas from whatever they find to plant in. Each piece is unique in its plants, the container and design, bringing it to the level of a piece of art and moving from piece to piece is as enjoyable as an art show. And people are taking notice. What began as a fun hobby is now a young entrepreneurial venture for this sister and brother.
Working out of Sumprer’s home in the La Mesa area, business is growing and Verdigris Greens to Go is working the craft shows and farmer’s markets. What began at the El Cajon Farmer’s Market and Dinner and a Concert is moving forward, expanding its services to custom orders, special events and educational fun kits for children.
Veerkamp is a landscape architect by education and had his own business for several years before heading to New York for other work. When the economy busted, he moved back, and his sister, now retired, said she was in a position to help. Sumprer said when he began making these arrangements that she began helping him, and everyone in the family has always had a green thumb.
“We both have completely different styles, so we make different things and it broadens the selection for everyone,” she said. “And it reuses things, so that is a good thing.”
Their team mentality that another man’s trash is another man’s treasure is paying off and she said the more they work at it, the more things they find that can be used to fashion a different type of arrangement.
“We go to garage sales and other stores to look around for different things to use for containers. We really like to find something unusual. It’s always a question does the plants come first or the pot? Sometimes it’s the plants and sometimes it’s the container we’ve chosen for the pot. You never know what you are going to find,” said Sumprer. “We’ve even found a set of ladles and figured a way to make it work.”
Working with kids in creating their own little garden is something that Sumprer said is extremely satisfying.
“It’s another way to introduce children into growing something,” she said. “They learn responsibility and care and learn how things grow. The kids come back to make another one or to tell us how their little garden is growing, and this is one of the fun parts about doing this.”
Sumprer said remembering working with their grandfather in the garden is a huge influence in loving what they do and are now looking to turn Verdigris Greens to Go into a full-time job. She also said that moving to succulents was a smart move with today’s water shortage. Most designs will last more than a year in most cases if you cut them back, but eventually can be repotted or have a permanent place in a home garden.
Creating a business from scratch is not an easy task, she said, but they are working on the tools to get the business to the next level. Verdigris Greens to Go now has a Facebook page, an Instagram account and is working on building a website, but Sumprer said it takes a lot of effort and time to put all of this together. But they both understand that this is a beginning. They began putting out a newsletter to customers on how to care, propagate and to let them know where they will be working next.
She said with the tools they have in place now, they are ready for custom orders, larger special events and are ready to keep moving forward in making this small family business a success. With Veerkamp’s specialty in landscape design, he also offers personal consultation in dealing with designing yards with water saving plants, something that is strongly needed with the drought.
With the diversity of the things they find to use as a pot, these miniature gardens provide garden art for any decor, which widens the clientele potential. To see the possibilities that Verdigris Greens to Go can arrange visit www.facebook.com/giftsofgreen4u/ or on Instagram at verdigris_greenstogo.
To contact Verdigris Greens to Go call (619) 741-2865 or email at Verdigris_greeenstogo@yahoo.com.