Anthony Robinson, the Oak Cliff native behind Energy Gardens Living Decor, has had a green thumb for as long as he can remember.
“Growing up, I would create vivariums inside aquariums,” says Robinson. “I had all sorts of reptiles and amphibians. I enjoyed building environments for them that resembled their natural habitats.”
As an adult, Robinson dabbled in industries like animal services and electrical engineering. He didn’t consider that his love for plants could translate into a career until 2010, when he created a terrarium as a Valentine’s Day gift for a former girlfriend. He showed his coworkers, and their response was overwhelming.
“They would email me and come to my desk to talk about the type of terrarium they wanted,” he says. “Over time, all the desks [in our office] were adorned with my work.”
Robinson decided to take a chance and launch his own business, Energy Gardens Living Decor. After years of reading, watching videos, and old-fashioned trial and error, Robinson has become a self-taught plant expert. “Experience is key,” he says. “You have to kill a few plants to learn what you’re doing wrong.”
One of Energy Gardens’ most popular offerings is the TV terrarium, which Robinson developed to set himself apart from other local plant retailers. “I used to disassemble old TVs and radios, so it was pretty easy to come up with a technique,” he says. “My first TV terrarium had a ‘wow’ factor. I impressed myself–it even included remote-controlled LED lights. It sold quickly, and I’ve been making them ever since.”
Energy Gardens sells out of their moss frames quickly. These are ideal for those who can’t commit to caring for a living plant; the moss is preserved, and each piece requires little to no maintenance and will last a lifetime.
Robinson also offers a houseplant delivery service, which has been booming since the shelter-in-place order was issued in March. “[My customers] were stuck inside, so the response [to plant delivery] was awesome,” he says. “Plants do so much good for any environment. They’re calming, and they bring a sense of peace and tranquility.”
“The small success of keeping a plant alive grows into something beautiful.”
When delivering an order, Robinson will educate his customers on when to water, how much to water, and where to place their new plants. If a plant starts to struggle, he’s happy to offer advice. “I help people with their plants even if they weren’t purchased from me,” he says. “My Instagram inbox is always filled with questions about plants.”
“The small success of keeping a plant alive grows into something beautiful,” says Robinson. “I love and respect nature, and I’m just doing my part. This is what I’m tasked with, and I will always create nature-inspired art.”
To shop Robinson’s creations, visit @EnergyGardens on Instagram. Terrariums start at $285, and moss frames start at $285 for a 2×3 design. A bundle of two small plants starts at $75, medium at $85, and large at $115.