‘I rap to my plants’: Meet the Black plantfluencer with a fresh take on plant parenting
This is part of our series PLANT PPL, where we interview people of color in the plant world.
Courtney Warwick is a budding plant parent. It started during quarantine. She was perusing social media when she happened upon the page of plant and interior stylist Hilton Carter (@hiltoncarter). From there, she followed her curiosity and stumbled upon interior plant care specialist and designer Bri Saintt’s page (@eargardn), and that’s when she was blown away. She had been around plants before — her mom and sister owned some — but her research during pandemic isolation lighted a flame under her.
“I was so inspired and fell in love,” she says.
She purchased some plants and created the explosively fresh Instagram account @blkgirlgrnthumb.
Here at L.A. Times Plants, we love “plantfluencers” — people whose Instagram feeds and stories are abundantly verdant. We’ve launched a new series, PLANT PPL, where we interview people of color in the plant world, such as the voice behind @LatinxWithPlants, Andi Xoch of Boyle Heights.
@Blkgirlgrnthumb became her base for floral and fashion curation, and she has been expanding her audience by posting photos from her life with plants, including chic clothing choices, notable book selections and stylish plant arrangements.
“Plants just make our space look and feel so much better. We were definitely lacking their beauty and energy for sure. Everything has felt magical ever since we added them to the family,” she wrote in one post, exploring how plants have transformed her life and her household in Long Beach.
It also led the airline industry employee to her side hustle: I Rap to My Plants-branded mugs, canvas bags and T-shirts.
Tomatomania, Southern California’s harbinger of spring gardening for 30 years, is back with a traveling show of more than 200 tomato varieties.
She also blends her love for plants with her keen fashion sense in a photo series that highlights stylish plant parents of color with their plant babies. Sneakers and Plants is shot by Los Angeles-based photographer Kasey Stokes (@stokley.jpg) and will make you fall in love all over again with plant parenthood.
We caught up with Warwick recently to discuss how plants have had a transformative effect on her life.
How did you get into plants?
When I discovered my love for plants, it was as if the missing puzzle piece I was looking for was found. Being a plant parent is something I absolutely love, and I enjoy sharing this journey my way. I found something that I’m extremely passionate about and started a business aligned with that.
Known as “Mallory With the Flowers’’ on Instagram, Mallory Browne has virtually documented her journey as a self-taught florist.
What was the inspiration for I Rap to My Plants?
One day I posted a picture and my caption was, “Sunday Service Hip-Hop edition because I Rap to My Plants.” Instantly after posting it, I knew that was going to be my thing. I’m more than just a plant mom, I’m a cool-ass plant mom that literally raps to her plants every damn day, so it was a no brainer. Hip-hop is so important to me, so it’s dope that I could merge the two together.
In South Los Angeles, where it is easier to find fast food than an apple, master gardener Florence Nishida is on a mission to teach the community how to grow their own food. “There’s a lot more than peas and carrots,” Nishida says.
Fostering a sense of community among Black plant owners is front and center in your work. How did that come about?
It’s so important to have people who look like me in the plant community. That’s honestly one reason why I became intrigued with plants in the first place. Seeing Black kings and queens sharing their love for plants and gardening sucked me right in. I found my tribe of Black planters right away. This community is beautiful and so welcoming. I have received so much love and support, and that just pushes me to keep going. We all want to see each other win, and quite frankly it’s enough opportunities for all of us to shine.
I noticed lots fly accessories and fierce foliage in your IG feed. How do plants and fashion complement each other?
Plants just add that extra flair and pop. There are so many varieties of plants, and you can find them to coordinate with your outfits because they’re so colorful and vibrant. As of lately I have seen so many brands now releasing products in different shades of green because of the sudden interest in plants and nature overall. It was something I wasn’t seeing much of before. Plants can complement any outfit, and they definitely complement any space.
One of the best things we do is ask you, our readers, to send us things. Never have we been so delighted as when we asked you to send us selfies with your plants and tell why you love them.
Tell us about Sneakers and Plants.
Sneakers and Plants is a concept that I came up with to highlight wavy plant parents in “fire” [cool] shoes. It’s something I felt like I wasn’t seeing enough of, so I wanted to make it happen and bring it to life.
I sat on the idea for months. Then I started seeing people have shoots with flowers and sneakers and I knew it was only a matter of time before someone else would do it. So I did it!
I rounded up some friends and some plant parents that I have seen and are fly as hell and we did it. My friend Kasey Stokes was the photographer, and he really did his thing. This is something that I definitely want to keep doing, and would even travel to different states to highlight swag plant parents in other areas. I want it to be bigger than just L.A., I want it to be worldwide. That’s the goal.
What’s the best part about being a plant parent?
The best part of being a plant parent is actually being able to tend to my plants and keep them alive. It might be funny, but it’s true. Keeping my green bombshells lush and flourishing is a vibe and a huge accomplishment.
What’s your favorite plant?
My favorite plant is the Monstera deliciosa. Out of all the plants I have, my monsteras are the most loyal. I currently have three, and I’m making space to get at least two more up in here, LOL. The fenestration on the leaves is beautiful; I just love that plant. You might as well call me Monstera mami.
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