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Because the website is an integral part of the rest of my project, I went ahead and created a site w/out getting feedback on my wireframes. Instead I will get feedback on the launched site and make changes. Here is a link to the website and to the Instagram account for my project. I started these in order to have something ready for my first plant therapy session which I did today.

In preparation for the session, I reached out to a couple of horticultural therapists that I had interviewed and asked them what some good activities would be that could be done quickly in a mobile situation and what tools I would need. One responded and suggested I use plant cuttings, a basin of soil, and small pots that people could plant the cuttings in and take home for them to root. So I gathered my supplies and took cuttings from my boyfriend’s plant Baxter. I created a sign for my cart and little plant tags as well.

Cuttings from Baxter the pothos plant.
Cuttings from Baxter, the pothos plant.
Markers for the plants with instructions and the website and Instagram.
Prototype one of plant therapy on the subway on the way to the train!

The sessions went well. I started out on the Jay Street Metrotech platform and then got on the F train going into Manhattan. Everyone who participated responded positively and many who didn’t participate also had positive things to say. Included below is a gallery of photos from the session. I rolled the cart through the car asking people if they wanted a free plant (“free” was important to say). If someone wanted one, I then told them that they had to put it together themselves and instructed them how to use the planter to scoop up dirt, create a hole with a chopstick, and put the end of the cutting into the hole. 18 people in total participated and I was doing this on the train for a little over an hour.

I answered questions about care for the plant and also about why I was doing what I was doing. Some things overheard or spoken directly to me:

“So random but so cool.”

“I’d take one but I’m on way somewhere. I love the idea.”

“I love what you’re doing.”

“Is this the website [referring to the signage]? Can I learn more about it?”

After completing my first session there are definitely ways to improve. These notes and observations will help to inform my next session:

  • It was important to say that the plants were free. It was also important that there was a takeaway. I don’t think as many people would have participated had they not gotten to take a plant home with them. This limits the variety of horticultural therapy activities I can do on the subway. I’m sure I can come up with different activities but it likely won’t involve only smelling or only looking at something. It needs to be hands-on and there needs to be a takeaway.
  • If people who take the plants away post progress updates to the #plantsforall hashtag, that would really help build a community. I could speak more about that when talking with participants and include it on the signage and markers. I could ask them to track their plant’s growth process and include a photo of the plant (Baxter) that the cuttings are from. All of these things would help illustrate the sense of community this project is going for. 
  • I need more tools. People weren’t quick to understand that they could scoop soil up with the planter.
  • I could use a premade plant cutting in a pot so people could see what the finished product was. 
  • This was the opposite of what people are usually being accosted by on the subway. Many people had their NYC blinders up, but many people smiled or acknowledged me. 
  • My boyfriend told me this is enriching people’s commute and I like to think that it does. 

In addition to improving the plant therapy sessions, I still want to tell plant parents of NYC stories. I’m having a little trouble with that at the moment as some initial interviewees are no longer responding to me but I will keep trying.

I also want to prototype a few wearable plant ideas that I will have a few people test out for a couple days. In addition to the subway being a place where all people of NYC going, and it being a mode of transportation that most people use on a daily basis, having a plant or natural green piece on your person doesn’t make you go out of your way in your day and it can always be with you. I’m curious to see if my prototype-wearers feel like it’s beneficial. More to come!

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