Spring has arrived, and it’s time to get your hands dirty! As the weather warms up and flowers begin to bloom, we have the pleasure of introducing you to local home and lifestyle influencer Chelsea from Two Twenty One. She has a passion for all things gardening and is known in her online community for her beautiful dahlias, peonies, and succulents.
One of Chelsea’s favorite plants to grow is the dahlia. These stunning flowers come in a variety of colors and shapes, and Chelsea has mastered the art of growing them. Her dahlia storage system is a process to behold since these tubers are stored in plastic shoe boxes in her basement through the winter and are brought upstairs to a coat closet to begin the process of “waking up” in early spring.
In addition to dahlias and peonies, Chelsea has a collection of succulents that just keep multiplying. She is a thorough plant keeper, and she’s happy to share her knowledge with others who are interested in growing succulents. In fact, she’s even started selling her hens and chicks to her Instagram subscribers.
Chelsea’s passion for gardening has not only brought her joy, but it’s also brought her community together. She loves sharing her knowledge and tips with others and is always happy to answer questions from her followers. So if you’re looking for some inspiration for your own garden, be sure to check out Chelsea’s Instagram page to follow along with her ultra-engaged audience and learn a thing or two about gardening.
We were lucky to get to ask Chelsea a few questions about her gardening, so read below to hear directly from Chelsea!
How did you get started in gardening? What were your motivations?
I’ve always loved flowers. Growing up, I’d help my mom plant and care for the flowers in our yard, and I’d help my grandmas with their flowers. When we moved into our first house, I started planting peonies and other things because the landscaping was pretty bare. Almost everything I planted was secondhand. My mom and mother-in-law would divide peonies and bring them to me to plant around our house. After we moved into our second house, I wanted to add a cut flower garden so I could have fresh flowers in our house throughout the summer and so I could give flower arrangements to family and friends.
Tell us the story of your multiplying hens and chicks? Where did you get the first one and how did you get started with selling them to your followers?
Back in 2009, my mom brought me about a dozen of her hens and chicks. She got her hens and chicks from her mom, my Grandma June. They’re really interesting succulents because they spread rapidly via offsets. Offsets are the tiny babies (chicks) surrounding the mother succulent (hen), which are clones of the mother. I would share the hens and chicks in Instagram Stories, and people would message me, asking if I’d be interested in selling them some. In 2020, I sold and shipped out 60 boxes of hens and chicks. And in 2022, I sold and shipped 70 boxes.
What is your favorite plant to grow?
That’s like asking me to choose a favorite child. I like peonies because they require minimal attention. I cage them in early spring and basically let them do their thing. They’re gorgeous but short-lived. I like succulents because they’re pretty low maintenance as well. Dahlias are the most time-consuming in the beginning and end of the season, but they’re beautiful and bloom from July/August until the first frost which is typically in October. Zinnias are great because they’re very pretty and easy to grow.
Do you have a wish list of flowers you’d love to try to plant in the future?
I’m currently trying my hand at roses. I planted a David Austin climbing rose in 2021, and I’ve enjoyed it, so I bought more David Austin roses to grow this year. I would like to add more hydrangeas to our yard. This fall, I’d like to plant some tulip, daffodil and hyacinth bulbs.
We can’t forget about your cut flower garden! It’s so beautiful. What types of flowers do you grow in there, and what are you adding this year?
I started off with just dahlias in 2020. In 2021, I added zinnias. In 2022, I added zinnias, cosmos and a couple of celosia. This year, the plan is to grow dahlias, zinnias, cosmos, celosia, statice, bells of Ireland, snapdragon, dara, stock, feverfew, sunflowers and bouquet dill. But time will tell if all the seedlings will make it into the garden.
Do you have any tips for people who want to start growing a cut flower garden but have no idea where to start?
I’d start with some easy-to-grow flowers like zinnias and sunflowers. There are pretty sunflower varieties out there in various sizes (teddy bear, ProCut white lite, chocolate). Zinnias and sunflowers can be direct sowed, meaning you can put the seeds down, top them with a little dirt, water them a little, and they’ll grow from there.
Your online community seems really tuned into your gardening and flower love. What’s been the best part of sharing your gardening journey online? Are there any downfalls?
The best part is when people tell me they were inspired to start growing their own flowers. I wouldn’t say there are any downfalls other than some in my community might get annoyed with all the flower and succulent content in the summer. But that’s their problem because who doesn’t like looking at beautiful flowers and succulents?
We hope you’re inspired by Chelsea to consider gardening this year. If you need somewhere to start, you can check out this article that shares tips for gardening this spring or this post that shares 3 women-owned plant shops in Indy!