Our green adventures started back in 2009 when we moved into a garden flat in East London. We renovated a Japanese and Italian water garden from it's overgrown past but with no prior garden experience we got stuck into the books and learned everything there was to know about pruning shrubs and planting. After the first year tidying the space up we were asked by a friend to join The National Garden Scheme. The scheme recognises gardens of quality and raises money for charity. It was a scary prospect of opening the garden to the scrutiny of the public. So we opened up for the first time and it was so exciting, we received some great positive feedback and some helpful tips from the seasoned gardeners! Subsequently, we opened our garden every year.
We have since been featured on the BBC Great British Garden Revival, The Sunday Times, Abigal Will's The New London Garden book amongst other publications.
Inspired by what we achieved with our garden, we decided to broaden our horizons after a trip to Ben's homeland, South Africa, where we discovered a liking for succulent plants and container gardening.
On returning to London, we thought it would be good idea to build a miniature garden in a fish bowl. We found it to be quite addictive and relaxing, so we made several fish bowl gardens to display at our garden open days which received some encouraging comments from our visitors. One day, Darren took some into his office, when he worked as an IT Project Manager, and they quickly gained attention. People in the office loved the idea of having more plants about the space and in particular terrariums.
Ben and Darren started building terrariums in their dining room in the evenings after work and set up a workshop on Airbnb experiences platform. In no time we had people booking to join a workshop in our home. It was all a little strange at first having strangers in your home but we really enjoyed the idea of teaching a botanical workshop in our spare time which felt like a million miles away from sitting 9-5 in an office all day long.
So in September 2016 we established Botanical Boys and formalised a plan to run terrarium masterclasses in our spare time. That spare time quickly began to feel like a second full time job, but was something we actually enjoyed so much it become something we felt passionate about over the 9-5 day job. By connecting people to nature in these workshops bought us so much joy and happiness seeing how people reacted was so rewarding. So in Feb 2018 Darren quit his job in the City to work full time on the business. By August 2019 Darren had opened up his first shop in the new trendy district of Coal Drops Yard allowing him to expand on his botanical offerings and focusing on connecting people to nature.
Our inspiration from our trips to Africa is our next big goal through 2020/2021 in the botanical journey of offering hand made natural products each having unique stories to tell.
Connection to the natural world is crucial more than ever and in a fast paced fragile world we live in today we need to just slow down sometimes and observe nature it's the one thing that keeps us alive. It is incredibly important that each and everyone of us finds the time to connect to nature in some way and by doing so also positively impacts our own wellbeing. So whether it be building a terrarium garden or building a collection of plants for your home or supporting local African villages with our natural range of products, you are helping to make a difference.