Highland Park -- Louis Easton had always wanted to start his own business. So in 2016 he started selling plants at weekend farmers markets.
Easton Garden Designs was a part-time gig for a few years. But after Easton lost his job as an instructor during the pandemic, the Highland Park resident had more time to tend to his weekend business, and it has since bloomed into a safe, contactless full-time job.
Easton, who is called “The Plant Mon,” offers free delivery services and payments through digital platforms, and spreads the word on social media.
Easton’s passion for gardening comes from his dad, who worked in greenhouses. One of the things he most enjoys about his work is teaching people about plants, how to take care of them and seeing the joy plants bring to people.
"I don't want to just sell you a plant. I want to make sure you get the right one for your home," said Easton, a Cal State LA graduate who studied television and film.
Easton shares his knowledge of plants and has DIY videos on his “Plant Mon” YouTube channel.
The care and respect that he shows "his babies," as he calls the plants, have helped him grow a fan base not just in his neighborhood but also across the country.
“The Plant Mon” Instagram account is one of only about 240 followed by Haley Helveston, an Atlanta-based sex and relationship coach with nearly 11,000 followers.
"I think he’s creating a massive impact by adding plants to people's lives in a time when people really need it,” said Helveston, “People need the connection and healing power of nature now more than ever.”
Back in Highland Park, resident Jennifer Banegas said she looks forward to buying one of Easton’s plants.
"I walk my dog past his home every day,” said Banegas. “I am excited to support his local business, and even more excited to own a plant that I know was planted with love and sold with excitement."
Easton sees gardening as his contribution during the pandemic. He said it can be a healthy, therapeutic way for folks to pass time while they’re stuck home and can also allow people to express themselves creatively: "I think doing this is like art as well, so everyone has their different touch.”
UT Community News, produced by Cal State L.A. journalism students, covers public issues on the Eastside and South L.A.