Keiki-Club started very naturally.
Denise lived down the hall from me in the East Village. She was an avid gardener and plant collector. I would bring her retired plants and she would get dying Orchids to re-bloom. She could grow healthy specimens from the clippings of graveyard begonias. She told me how she’d gone to Jamaica and smuggled an orchid back home, wrapped up carefully with a moist cloth and hidden in her suitcase. Wherever she went she brought souvenir clippings home, letting a little piece of that experience live on and take root in her tiny apartment. She lent me books on container gardens and taught me how to turn a 400 square foot walkup into an overgrown jungle.
When she passed away she left me her books, and her plants. To this day I continue to pass her clippings on to friends and fellow enthusiasts, and in that way keep her memory, and her plants, alive.
In horticulture, a keiki (/’keiki:/ kay-kee) is a plant produced asexually by an orchid plant, especially Dendrobium, Epidendrum (sensu lato), and Phalaenopsis orchids. The baby plant is an exact clone of the mother plant, sometimes flowering while still attached to the mother. The word keiki is Hawaiian for "baby" or "child", literally "the little one".
When my good friend Nell visited from California she complimented the Chinese Money Plant (Pilea Peperomioides) growing in my windowsill, saying she had never seen one before. When I gave her a clipping to bring home with her, she told me about her grandmother who lived in Hawaii and how when you give the gift of a baby plant it’s called a Keiki.
I’ve always loved the idea of trading clippings, growing a plant from another plant, extending a legacy. Working as a florist, I am surrounded by fellow plant addicts - people that have a vast and different knowledge of flora. I am infatuated with people’s stories behind their plant collections.
The goal of Keiki-Club is to create an open social community for friends and flora fanatics to come together and grow plants, share knowledge, and trade collections.
About the creator
Aviva Rowley is an artist and florist from Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from Cooper Union in 2011 with a BFA. She has been finding nature in Brooklyn her whole life and stubbornly refuses to leave NY - thus forcing her to create an indoor jungle. She also feels very strange writing in the third person.