In the April 14, 2022 issue, founder Johanna had the opportunity to present the Greenling project in an interview and to explain the idea behind it. Above all, questions about the plant expert dahit or the selection of the individual plants could be answered. We are very happy when larger regional newspapers such as the NWZ offer such a large platform for the topic of gardening and thank you for the nice interview.
Here is the online article:
From May 2022: Reay-to-go minigarden
Johanna Leisch gave up her job as a lawyer at the end of 2021. Now the native of Oldenburg, who grew up in Tungeln ( district of Oldenburg ), is the founder of "Greenling" and managing director of this still young start-up company in Munich. The idea behind it: Calling a beautiful mini garden your own without having to perform the balancing act and claim to gardening knowledge and skills yourself.
Johanna Leisch had already come into contact with the topic of plants in her previous company through "vertical farming". She herself had privately shared the frustrating experience of many hobby gardeners that plants did not develop as desired. And so the mother of three sons was enthusiastic about the question of how gardening - especially in the city - can be implemented without much effort.
How long has the garden been a part of your life?
My mother has an amazing garden in Tungeln that has been with me since I was little - and my grandparents lived on a farm just across the road. So I'm a real country kid.
What memories do you have of gardening in the past?
I have fond memories of how we used to pull carrots out of the ground at my grandparents' or how we were allowed to peel pea pods. We also had a lot of berries. I have hardly found this natural, intense taste in my life since I moved to southern Germany to study. Of course, I also remember rather tiresome compulsory tasks such as mowing the lawn or "stribbling" currants, which I didn't like as a child and still don't, by the way.
Have you kept the connection to the garden in the big city?
We live very green in Munich, even more in the forest. Gardening goes hand in hand with other challenges, such as raking leaves. As a working mother, the creative and gardening activities usually took a backseat, my sons prefer to play football on the lawn and we have our own chickens.
How did the idea of Greenling come about?
Lack of time and patience played a part, and because my gardening experiments didn't always lead to the success I imagined. Whenever a plant died again, I wished that someone had developed a concept with which a layman can no longer go wrong and still enjoy the splendor of the plant right away - and stay.
When I came across exactly this strategy project part-time for the last year and a half while studying business administration at the Mannheim Business School and was able to accompany it, the idea of "Greenling" was born - and with the help of market analysis, interviews and experts, the fully planted mini garden for balconies and terraces developed to market maturity.
Which plant expert advises you?
Through an Oldenburg contact, more precisely a classmate from my time at the old high school, the connection to our current partner Joachim Rothenhöfer , the head of the experimental greenhouses in the botanical garden of the University of Würzburg, came about. With this expert on the gardener's side, we tested plants for a year and a half and this is how we came to our selected range of Greenling from a wide variety of plants. The complex and robust plant arrangements range from flowering plants to herbs and fruit-bearing plants.
The current summer program, with which we are starting, contains three different assortments for the first planting. Each Greenling mini garden contains nine plants. The shrub basil is represented in all models as a great magnet for butterflies and bumblebees; Colorful chili and snack pepper, for example, are only available as a special feature in the “Spice and the City” mini garden. However, the individual plants can be exchanged just as easily as they are planted.
Which plants are suitable for the pots?
We tried many different pots beforehand and opted for an elongated model that depicts a large range of plants, contains sufficient long-term fertilization and leaves the roots enough space for healthy plant growth. Because each plant grows separately and cannot root among one another, they can be exchanged without any problems. You can even take out a subscription for seasonal planting through all seasons. With delivery there is a proposal for the arrangement of the plants also with regard to the growth height. The plants are watered automatically from below via a tank. Waterlogging is thus avoided.
Who is your target group and what is your goal?
Above all, we would like to address city dwellers who do not have a lot of time as well as interested people without green thumbs who would still like to live out their longing for plants. But of course the compact mini garden is suitable for anyone who wants their little green oasis with added value as a simple solution. Since our sales launch in November 2021, we have found that the mini gardens actually appeal to all age groups. The first 500 mini gardens are to be delivered in May 2022. We are currently focusing our reach on Germany and Austria. Marketing takes place via the social media networks Facebook and Instagram . First production, first logistics, first marketing, first shop. 2022 will be under the credo of beginning, learning and making our first customers happy. Honest feedback, also via our newsletter, is important to us.
What role does sustainability play?
Very important! It is part of our overall concept. On the production side, we rely on recyclable plastic. The plant box is designed by a Munich manufacturer who takes 98 percent of its material from the recycling system. Means: Old goods are also taken back in a resource-saving manner. When it comes to the range of plants, we cooperate with small local partner nurseries, which we want to make known in the industry with their quality. The second mainstay is a Caritas training company that takes care of the social integration of young people. When selecting plants, we made sure that they promote biodiversity with a food supply for native insects, wild bees, bumblebees and butterflies.
Where can I get the mini gardens and how are they delivered?
Orders can be placed in our online shop. There are two parallel delivery lines for shipping: the metal table, which is manufactured near Milan, and the planter are delivered as one component, the plant assortments come fresh directly from the gardener.
How has this start-up changed your relationship to plants and gardens?
My relationship to experiencing nature immediately around me has changed a lot - perhaps also benefited by working from home. Whether I'm walking through the Nymphenburg Park or my garden - I'm rediscovering the native plant world in all its biodiversity. It is often the small moments in nature that lead to great satisfaction. And I want to do something with the new concept of our mini gardens so that many people can experience it every day and are happier.
Greenling is a Munich urban gardening start-up that has developed the first fully planted mini garden for the city, supported by a crowdfunding campaign since mid-December. The compact finished system convinces with a simple, patented design and the processing of high-quality materials. Recycling and upcycling, environmental awareness and local relationships through partner nurseries are firmly anchored in the corporate philosophy of managing director Johanna Leisch.