Karen Argos and The Green House Project: Livening Up the Urban Landscape

Karen Argos of The Green House Project livens up people's homes with her creatively designed dish gardens. By Cecile J. Baltasar

The Green House Project is the urban home project that keeps on giving. Positioning “greeneries in a new light,” is how Karen Argos puts it. She is the passionate green thumb behind The Green House Project.

Setting priorities

Before her business provided the balance she needed, Karen worked abroad for a mobile network company for almost five years. She was well-compensated and enjoyed the good working environment that usually comes with multinational companies.

But then one day, Karen started asking herself: “Why am I here, miles [away] from my family? Is it worth it?” The questions snowballed until Karen and her husband decided it was time for her to come home to Manila. “After a couple of months, I came home for good,” says Karen. “I spent each day catching up with what really matters: my family.”

Green light on The Green House Project

One of Karen’s bonding activities with her kids was gardening. “Since we don’t have a huge space for gardening, I thought of planting succulent arrangements in old pots and pans. I called them dish gardens,” says Karen. “My daughter was so fascinated that she made five dish gardens [right then].”

This was during the Christmas season in 2013. Karen’s family and friends saw the dish gardens, ordered some, and gave them away as Christmas presents. “[My husband and I] realized, ‘Hey, this can be a good business’,” says Karen.

Like any business, though, taking The Green House Project off the ground was a little bumpy. “Handling a start-up business, raising then two and now three kids, and managing a household is not a walk in the park,” says Karen. “But if you love what you do, and if you have the best partner in life, then it becomes a smoother ride. On top of this, having faith in God and lifting everything up to Him makes all the challenges a lot easier to overcome.”

Apart from dish gardens, Karen also sells individually designed cacti, air plants, hydroponics, and succulents, as well as gardening starter kits for the green thumbs.

Hurdling challenges

A brick-and-mortar store adds to the marketability of a business. This was the one obstacle for Karen and her husband, though. “Due to lack of experience in both business and plant growing, we rented a place where sunlight was very limited,” says Karen. “We kept the plants at home, brought them to the store when someone wanted to see the items, then brought whatever was not purchased back home.” The tedious process was a waste of time and money. So Karen and her husband cut their losses and closed the shop.

Instead, they partnered up with store owners. “We found a set-up where we could have our products displayed without the cost of rentals,” says Karen. The Green House Project continues to market its products this way, working with seven partner stores with branches all over Metro Manila: Common Room, Rustan’s Flower Shop, Case Study Atelier, CO/OP Manila, Invitation House, Labrador, and The Craft Central.

Urbanized gardens

Because of their small size and low-maintenance needs, plants sold by The Green House Project are perfect for condo dwellers. “We develop a way for people to enjoy greeneries without the need for an outdoor garden, complex gardening skills and know-how,” says Karen. “We help clients choose the right plants then guide them in making the plants thrive.”

The benefits of buying into this green lifestyle is backed by science, and echoed by Karen. “Having indoor plants will definitely reward you with clean air and added oxygen,” she says. “You get a natural humidifier which can absorb human carcinogenic toxins. Plus, indoor plants help you become more productive. Also, plants can beautify and liven up any space.”

Convinced yet? Let Karen share a few pointers to help you put up your own indoor garden:

1. Play with different height levels. If you are grouping several plants together, mixing tall ones with short ones with varying textures would create an interesting concept.

2. Consider the lighting condition of your garden. Some indoor plants need little sunlight; others need indirect sunlight. Know the light requirements of your plants.

3. Group your plants according to their growing needs, and water and light requirements.

“There is actually no right or wrong in plant styling,” says Karen. “It is like art where the homeowner uses plants as their medium.” The bottom line for The Green House Project is that both clients and plants are happy. Judging by the demand for their miniature gardens, it certainly seems like Karen consistently delivers.

Avida Land properties are the perfect backdrop for The Green House Project’s passionate creations. Drop by any of our showrooms to find the place just waiting for your indoor garden.

All photos courtesy of Karen Argos.