Pond Plant Girl Turning Weeds into Cash

VISALIA, Calif.— Ten years ago Gail Gates had a dream of turning a pond in her backyard into a swimming pool, but some pesky water weeds got in the way.

“I was pulling this grass out but it grew back faster than I could pull it out,” said Gates.

She did some research and found the weeds she was trying to get rid of where actually worth some money.

“It was anacharis, which is a valuable pond plant that people want to keep their ponds clean and clear,” she said.

Gates sold the plants that summer and decided to start a business building water gardens, earning her the title “Pond Plant Girl.”

“I learned along the way, I killed a lot of plants but I learned from my mistakes and teach people how to do it right,” she said.

The Pond Plant Girl builds beautiful water gardens using plants like water lotuses, lily pads and lettuce plants. She grows her variety of the plants in kiddie pools in her backyard.

“Kiddie pools are a great affordable way to get started with a pond. You can have them above ground or dig a hole in the ground and stick them in and no one will know it’s a kiddie pool,” said Gates.

The Pond Plant Girl shares her love of gardening by posting video tutorials on how to create successful water gardens on PondPlantGirl.com.

“I love sharing what I do with other people just to see the delight in their eyes and the excitement that they can actually do it too,” she said.

Gates ships her plants all over the country. The plants cost between $3 and $15 and she can send up to 40 packages a day during the peak season of April and May.

“A lot of my clients are in New York City, Maine, and Boston. And I’ve shipped to Alaska before,” she said.

The Pond Plant Girl wants to help more people succeed to create a beautiful water oasis.

“To be happy you just have to do what you love. And I’m not happy, if I’m not the Pond Plant Girl,” she said.