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The time I bought plants but received a box of happiness instead

After ripping out the pavers, the endless succulents, mondo grass and thousands (and thousands) of stones in our backyard we entered Phase Two of ‘Project Convert perfectly ‘low maintenance’ patio into totally ‘high maintenance’ weed trap.  Phase Two was to plant. Despite the cries of ‘oh, no…don’t use real grass – you want artificial turf!’ and ‘It’ll be the bane of your life!’, we embarked on my dream of rambling roses only to unearthing manholes; drainage problems; rotten sleepers – all the things that make you see the wrong kind of dollar signs and wonder if maybe this dream wasn’t such a great idea.

With the depressingly measly budget left, an order to a Nursery was placed. Twenty small perennials. When boxes arrived, stuffed to the brim, I instantly thought – just our luck, they’ve made a mistake.

But then…no. On the sheet, next to eight miscellaneous plants, was elegantly hand-printed: ‘FREE’.  As I divided the ‘Free’ from the expected order and set the delightful specimens on the wall I had an experience. What was it? Well, it started with surprise. It was followed by confusion. And there, in the midday sun, as I gave them a good drink and a pep talk a la Prince Charles (you know the sort: ‘Welcome to the garden, you look great and you’re going to do swell’), I realised that what I was experiencing was Happiness.

A Happiness from the realisation my rather empty borders were going to be filled, after all. Not stuffed to the brim, but just enough to look sweet and bright for our very first ‘sitting on the lawn’ for a very special two year old’s all-important birthday celebration. A celebration she has already forgotten except for the photos that will endure and become a part of her experience of feeling loved and valued.  Because, our ‘high maintenance garden’ and everything that goes into it, is for them: The ‘little’ people in our lives who look for ladybirds and butterflies; worms and beetles; hide painted stones and search for fairies. It is a place to shape their memories and experiences – and imprint on my experience of watching those two particularly beautiful flowers grow within that space.

This Nursery – who had courteously and personally emailed me to let me know the order was on its way (not the automated type but the one where an actual person types with two fingers) -THAT Nursery, well now, they’re my mates (as far as I’m concerned). They are the good guys who thought ‘these plants are probably just past perfection, I know, I’ll whack them in a box for this customer who is obviously fond of weeding’.

A really heartwarming customer experience that SO made my day after all the drainage gumpf; all the disappointment of losing our planting budget; all the night planting of trees in the dark and the rain. I was never buying plants. I wasn’t buying grass seed; bricks; trees; fertiliser. I wasn’t even buying 2 days of a burly bloke with a digger. I was buying a dream.

They didn’t give me plants. They gave me happiness.

And how they did it – well, that’s Good CX.

psst. That nursery? It’s called Parva Plants.  I’ll be using them again.

Liz R

Passionate about making, storytelling, creating and great experiences.

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