By Tirzah Rowland
Carmel resident Abby Perry spreads her love for gardening through terrarium parties. After a rapid growth in popularity of the events, she gave up her 20-year pharmaceutical sales career (most recently with Eli Lilly) to start Abby’s Garden Parties in June 2021.
The seeds of the idea took root a year earlier.
“My teenage daughter came to me over COVID and wanted a terrarium for her room,” Perry said. “We connected and really relaxed.”
Perry started to wonder how she could share this experience with others. She had taken a terrarium class while in college at the University of Michigan and enjoys her distinction as a Hamilton County master gardener.
A week later, she hosted a party for her neighbor and more parties came after that.
Now, she hosts parties in homes, at local businesses and enjoys “making Carmel greener one terrarium at a time,” Perry said.
Averaging 300 terrariums per month, Abby’s Garden Parties provides a hands-on, unique experience for bridge clubs, book clubs, Bible studies, bachelorette parties and office events.
“I went from seeing people on their worst days to their best days,” Perry said. “What keeps me going is seeing people unplug and doing things they’ve never done before.”
The mom of four understands how stressful party planning can be.
“Kids have fun with friends without mom worrying about entertainment. They take home something they created themselves, not a favor,” Perry said. “After their kids’ parties, a lot of moms book their own. We can’t let the kids have all the fun.”
Abby’s Garden Parties provides participants with terrarium kits consisting of soil, a container, succulents, tiny tools and their choice of accessories. The process takes about an hour. Kit themes include ferries and gnomes for kids, crystals, seashells and stones for adults, and Perry says the most popular accessories are tiny ducks.
“We help people select plants based on the light in their space. Succulents thrive on neglect, as long as you get the roots covered you can’t go wrong, but we provide specific instructions for their care,” Perry said.
Most of her customers have minimal experience with plants.
“This is something anyone can do. We’ve had kids as young as five and seniors over 80,” Perry said. She particularly enjoys facilitating family events with different generations.
Ann Boldt hosted a girls’ night out in June at her Carmel home.
“She makes everything so easy. You just send out the invitations (and Abby even provides the invitation for you) and she brings everything to set up,” Boldt said. “I just provided the space and drink/dessert. She did the rest.”
While Abby’s Garden Parties has hosted events all over the Indianapolis area, including a booth at the Indiana Flower and Patio Show, local companies that have showcased her work or hosted events include Sugar Creek Vineyard & Winery, Peace Water Winery, Amanda’s Exchange and American House Network.
Perry has adjusted her process over the years, such as adding zip closures to the dirt pouches and using recyclable materials. The plants are sourced from a wholesaler in California, but Perry propagates the soil herself to ensure proper nutrients. She assembles the kits in her home with the help of her family.
Kits range in price from $35 for a kid’s plastic hanging terrarium to $65 for a jumbo container and more plants. The middle tier option is a glass terrarium for $45. There is a five-person minimum and six to eight weeks booking window for events.
Perry has a passion for teaching others about gardening and would like to grow her business through online classes and franchising. She is a certified Girl Scouts partner for badges in gardening, math and nature.
For upcoming public events, to order a kit or to schedule a party visit abbysgardenparties.com.
Holiday kits delivered
Abby’s Garden Parties offers all-inclusive kits delivered in time for Christmas. Order up to one week before the holiday and receive everything to create a unique terrarium or gift a kit to someone else. Theme options are mushroom cottage core and alien glow in the dark.
The kits include plants, soil, terrarium container and varied accessories.
Learn more at abbysgardenparties.com.