Frayser Micoud and Melissa Roberts at Gather Home and Garden in Church Hill (Photo by Ash Daniel)
You could call Melissa Roberts a matchmaker of sorts. The owner of Gather Home and Garden, open in Church Hill since April, has made it her mission to pair people with their perfect plants. “People come in here and they’re kind of afraid of houseplants … they’ve had them before and they’ve killed them,” she says. “I really enjoy teaching them that they just haven’t found the right plant. ... You can take care of something and make it thrive for you, we just have to figure out the type of personality you have and match it with the right plant.”
Roberts’ passion for gardening — specifically organic gardening — took root during a six-month internship she did with her husband, Frayser Micoud, on a farm in Maine. “The internship taught us how easy it is to grow organically,” she says. "It’s all about making the plant happy and healthy.”
Besides the Australian ferns, begonias and calathea that are waiting for their human soul mates, Gather also stocks a carefully curated selection of organic gardening supplies such as soils, amendments, seeds and tools — most of them locally produced.
Peppered in among the plants and supplies are nature-inspired goods, from notecards, walking sticks and pottery, to kids’ gardening toys (made from recycled milk jugs) and room and body sprays made with essential oils.
While Roberts and Micoud live in Varina, they knew they wanted to set up shop in Church Hill. After hosting pop-up seedling sales in the area and working at local restaurants — he at Stroops Heroic Dogs, she at Dutch & Company — they got the feel for the area.
“Everyone up here loves their yards and gardens,” Roberts says. “There are a lot of different things going on up here, but one thing that brings everything together is growing food or having a plant. It’s like having a pet.”