Hi, I am Jane Hall, owner of The Wicked Plant Shop! My story with plants starts way back in 1985 when I was starting my freshman year of college at Rockford University in Rockford, Illinois. I had an idea! I wanted to run for president of the freshmen class (yes even then I wanted to be in charge!). So my idea was that I would start a plant for each new freshmen entering school that fall. That was 500 little plants! Whew, if I knew then that I would be making a career in plant growing 35 years later, my life plans would probably gone a way different direction.
Any way, to keep the story going...I never did get the job of president! But I did earn a degree in Fine Arts and went on to pursue a life long career in sales. I sold everything - from shoes, to insurance, to houses & apartments, but what I learned along the way was how to help people. I learned that by listening, I could coach my customers to be better at what they wanted, whether that was the best home for their family or the right shoes for their outfit. I wanted to help make their lives better.
In 1989, I took a vacation from business and entered the United States Navy. I wanted to see the world! I wanted to serve my country and I wanted to try something other than sales. I loved the service, and I found a great guy on the bus to boot camp (ok, that's a story for another time or perhaps a book).
We bought our first home in Jacksonville Beach, Florida and my husband was deployed to the middle east for Operation Desert Storm. So here I was, I had a postage sized lot with a little house, an infant son and a lot of time on my hands. I went to work! I totally landscaped the front yard, the side yard and the back yard. I planted annuals, perennials, tropicals (remember this was Florida) and lots of trees. I had edibles worked into my designs, long before that was a thing to do. I had flowers my neighbors could enjoy, I planted for the butterflies, I did it all. Then it was time to move on to new horizons. We put that little house up for sale and it sold, within 2 hours of us listing the property! Why so fast, the new owners loved the landscaping, they loved my gardens!
Time moves on and we moved a few times, we had another child, a girl (that's my partner in plant crime, Alyssa - my best friend in life) and I kept growing gardens everywhere we set up home. Finally after too many hurricanes, it was time to get out of Florida.
We searched all over Tennessee for a new home - I wanted to set up a kids camp, a place where children could connect with the earth and get outdoors, get their hands dirty. I wanted a farm to raise animals, ride horses and grow food. I was a city girl who wanted to go country!
We found that perfect piece of heaven in Scott County, Virginia. We bought a 100 acre farm and started to set up that kids camp, then once again life took us in a different direction. My husband and I took separate paths. He moved on and I sold the farm. I purchased a 6 acres place just off West Carter Valley, moved the horses, pigs, goats, chickens, geese and all the dogs and started my life over again.
Somewhere in that time, I had the opportunity to work with a local garden center as the greenhouse manager and found my life time passion, PLANTS!
I have been playing with plants since my mom bought me my first cactus as a incentive to get my spelling grades up at 9 years old. My passion was seeded in those early days! Every time I had an obstacle to overcome, I bought a plant to make me happy. It kept me centered, taking care of another living thing. It made me smile when a tiny seed popped up out of the ground on its first day of life. It made me proud, when I could feed my family that perfectly ripe red tomato I had picked from the garden that morning. And it gave me great pleasure when I could share a plant baby with a friend.
Today at Wicked, I have brought all those memories, all those joys together to build a place where my friends can gather, pick up a plant to make them happy, gain a bit of wisdom and go on to grow their own stories and passions with plants!