AUSTIN, Texas – What is short, rainbow, and leafy all over? Maegan King Groovy Small Plant Holder. At first glance, this is a small, rainbow-colored shelf adorned with cuttings from plants sitting in King’s front yard. But the longer you use it, the more the hidden value of the stand increases.
What would you like to know
- The Groovy Little Plant Stand was inaugurated in August 2020
- Anyone can donate or take plants, soil and more for free
- Thousands of people are members of the online community dedicated to the stand
- Free plant stands are appearing in central Texas
King began to branch out into factories as the world entered pandemic containment. After seeing an article on a free plant stand on Pinterest, she decided that her own would be a great way to share her newfound love of plants with her neighbors.
The colorful booth sits under a sign hand painted by King’s husband Jason. It sits next to a large glass bottle tree between a small free library and a rainbow painted playset, and near a large white swing. The booth doesn’t even appear to be the main attraction in South Austin’s tiny front yard. Everything about it screams “look at me,” and that’s exactly what King’s colorful setting does – enticing passers-by to stop, watch and interact.
She says people “… stop just to see the rainbows,” some even going so far as to take their family photos in her front yard.
WATCH | Click on the video at the top of the page to see King preparing plants, visiting neighbors, and taking a trip to see one of the free plant stands inspired by his rainbow creation.
As the booth’s popularity grew, King found himself taking photos to let others know what was there, ultimately creating The Groovy small plant stand Facebook group where she posted updates.
Today, the group has over 2,000 members who not only search for free plants to add to their own collections, but also ask for advice, share photos of plant growth progress, and just log on. But members aren’t limited to people who live nearby. The day Spectrum News 1 visited the booth, a family said they lived in a nearby town in central Texas, but ultimately decided to drop by to see the rainbow booth in person. There are even more stories like this when you scroll through the group’s hundreds of Facebook posts.
King said she always waved and chatted with people who stopped. On a busy day, she estimates there could be up to 20 people. Now that more and more people are getting vaccinated, this online community is shifting to even more in-person interactions.
It is a community that cares about each other and its founder. King’s husband Jason was injured last fall shortly after the booth was set up, and it was the friends she made through the booth who brought food and helped the family to s ” get out of it during this difficult time, in particular by taking charge of the work required to ensure that the stand and the community were maintained.
“We can count on these people,” King told Spectrum News 1.
However, King doesn’t just post photos and chat with neighbors. She is moderating the incredibly active online community and distributing the donated bags of soil and plant cuttings so that more people can participate. If the stand is weak, she will buy more plants to keep it in stock, multiply the cuttings, and give advice to others interested in starting their own stand.
King believes that five or six booths have appeared around Austin as a direct result of his group. A quick Facebook search for “free plant stand” groups found 10 in central Texas, with even more in other parts of the country.