BOISE, Idaho — With social distancing guidelines in place for the last year, it’s been tough to make new friends. But not for your friendly neighborhood plant fairies.
As a product of the pandemic, the online group of self-proclaimed crazy plant people is spreading joy through the Treasure Valley and beyond, one plant at a time.
Group members share a passion for plants and gift plant-related goodies to each other every week.
“It’s so nice to pull into your driveway and see something waiting,” Plant Fairy group administrator Caitlyn Vaughn said. “People can ask for specifics,
so it’s always nice coming home and seeing something you’ve really wanted or something someone made especially for you.”
Vaughn created the Facebook group last June and it quickly grew to more than 1,500 fairies.
“You’d be surprised how many people are into plants,” Vaughn said.
The fairy community has its own lingo and rules, too. Once someone delivers a planty gift, consider yourself “planted”. Participation in the group is key, and fairies are encouraged to do at least one “planting” a month. Before you can make any wishes yourself, you need to “plant” someone else, and on your first “planting”, you’ll “get your wings”. If you want to gift a fairy on the other end of the valley, some fairies lean on others in the group to “be their wings” and drop-off goodies for them.
Acceptable plantings can be truly anything plant-related, including plant-inspired homemade art, gardening supplies, seeds, pots, soil, or of course, actual plants.
The "plantings" have a process. Every “Wish Wednesday”, members can make three plant-related requests in hopes a fellow fairy will grant a wish and deliver a plant-themed item to their door. With the option of linking an Amazon wishlist, it's even possible to plant a fellow fairy from the comfort of your own couch.
But be warned: once you start, you can’t stop.
“Before this, I had maybe two or three plants,” Plant Fairy group moderator Chrystal Lowder said. “It started the whole spiral!”
Lowder now has “well over a hundred” plants but refuses to count.
Through the online appreciation of plants, and even amidst a pandemic, real-life friendships have blossomed.
“Every single person was a stranger,” Vaughn said. “And it’s funny because some of those people are the people I consider my closest friends; even some who I’ve never met in person.”
“It broke me out of my shell,” Lowder agreed. “I feel like I have more confidence and I have way more friends.”
Some group members, Lowder included, have even met up for some socially-distanced in-person plant shopping at local nurseries.
But plantings aside, the online friends offer a sense of community, and when a fellow fairy finds themselves in need, the group steps up to offer support in any way they can.
“Some kids have received Christmas presents, we’ve paid people’s electric bills, water bills, car bills, just to get people back on their feet,” Vaughn said.
If you consider yourself a crazy plant person and are committed to at least one planting a month, you can check the group out on Facebook.