Floral design to increase curb appeal

Designing and creating planters is a method of artistic expression that has become a unique business opportunity for Julie Cruz with Adorn Planters.

In the past, the former elementary school teacher has used her creativity as a vendor in The West Bottoms at Restoration Emporium where she has transformed furniture with paint and sewn pillows and table runners. She also uses her creativity in her own backyard by trying out new and unique plants. In fact, her favorite backyard garden is a sensory garden with a mix of annuals and perennials including lavender, lemon balm, lemon grass, curry and patchouli.

Given her interests, joining her sister Elizabeth in business with Adorn Planters simply made sense. Elizabeth opened the business in Oklahoma City five years ago while working a full-time job because she always wanted to start her own business, and this opportunity allowed her to have flexibility to spend time with family. It grew slowly, and Julie joined her and brought the business to Kansas City in the fall of 2017 because she is also passionate about gardening.

Julie said both women owe their love of gardening to their parents who are lifelong gardeners.

“I absolutely love curb appeal and the instant gratification that comes with planting,” Julie says. “To me, taking a space to its full potential and being able to use my creativity to make that happen for my clients is a dream job.”

Julie says she is able to help clients when they may feel unsure of the sizes of plants to use in the planters or when they may feel intimidated going to a nursery and picking out the best plants to use given the wide variety of choices.

“To me, planters are a piece of art,” Julie says. “I love picking flowers and plants that work well with my client’s space, the shape of their planter and the color of their home. I enjoy the way I can use plants as a creative outlet. With plants, I can add a pop of color or texture to take an ordinary space and add drama, serenity or even whimsy. I thrive on the instant gratification from the transformation of the planters and the added curb appeal.”

Three components of an eye-catching arrangement

In her planters, Julie likes using flowers that she calls thrillers, spillers and fillers. Here’s what that means:

  • The thrillers create height and become the focal point of the planter. Good examples of summer thrillers include Kimberly queen ferns, caladium and majestic palm.

  • Spillers are used to spill over the side of the planter and add extra drama to the arrangement. Some of her favorite spillers include sweet potato vine, fan flower, vinca and wandering Jew.

  • Fillers are used to fill in the space between the thriller and the low spiller. Her favorite summer shade fillers include impatiens, begonias, caladiums and coleus.