It may have started as a thank you gift for her wedding guests, but three years down the track creating interesting succulent cacti creations has blossomed into a fully-fledged side business for Rushi Sirawardena.
The Maryland physiotherapist, who is currently on maternity leave from her position at John Hunter Hospital, first planted the seed for her side project when she was busy planning her wedding in 2015.
“I created little succulent wedding bonbonnieres for all our guests, and they looked absolutely stunning. This was the beginning of my ‘Growing Creations By Rushi’ adventure,” she said.
“My business started as a hobby. I spent my free time creating my succulent logs and terrariums. About three months into it, I just knew this was a unique and, if I say so myself, amazing product.
“In the background, my husband Frank and I were thinking of starting a family. I knew I had to come up with something creative to do when I’m on maternity leave … a productive way to spend ‘all my free time’ at home... Little did I know back then about ‘free time’ with a baby!
“I knew I wanted to turn my hobby into a business. I created my brand in June 2015 and have not looked back since.”
Rushi’s range now includes stunning succulent and cacti logs, terrariums, kokedamas, succulent wreaths and dried flower logs, as well as her most recent additions - propagation test tube babies, emerald kokedamas and wall hangers.
She said she loves creating new designs and the effect each creation can have on the space around it.
“The main thing about any design has to be its uniqueness,” she said.
“Each creation must be unique and make me stop and say ‘oh, I like how this turned out’. I am a hard taskmaster, so each creation has to impress me first.
“I always aspire to do better and create new items people have not seen before or items that people wish they had in their home.
“I think plants add so much love, texture and a sense of comfort to a house. They make it feel like home. They bring the outside in and softens up the concrete jungle we live in.
“You can convert any little corner into a tranquil oasis with a few little plants.”
Rushi has been selling her unique succulent and cacti creations at Handmade in the Hunter Markets since 2016.
You can check out her latest efforts at this month’s markets, which will be held at Kevin Sobels Wines from 9am to 3pm on October 6, 13, 20 and 27.