Photos courtesy of discovery+
Around her Eden Prairie neighborhood, she’s known as the plant lady because she helps neighbors with landscape designs and other floral arrangements. She likes to find neglected and unloved plants to bring back to life, which is only one reason she has around 100 tropical and 300 propagating plants in her home.
Professionally, Petricka has been in the topiary design industry for almost eight and a half years as a project manager for Plantscape, Inc. It offers commercial interior and exterior landscape services, and Petricka has managed over 500 landscaping jobs throughout her career. (But believe it or not, she studied graphic design and typography in college.)
The show launched Wednesday, May 12, and airs every week. But while you wait for the next episode, catch up with Petricka here to learn more about the process and experience. Be sure to tune in to find out her fate!
How did you get on the show?
In my line of work, I have built great relationships with people in the industry. A New York firm was approached by HGTV about the show and asked if they knew anyone who would be interested. They said, “Yeah, we know this girl in Minnesota,” and I went through the casting process for about six to eight weeks after that. I was on an install when I got the call that I would be a contestant. I dropped my coffee from shock and excitement that they chose me.
Why did you want to be a contestant?
I have watched these competition shows and loved them. I thought it would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete in one and how fun it would be to work with other talented people. Competing with other folks inspires me to do my best. I am the youngest of seven kids from Montgomery, Minnesota. I grew up being competitive, and my dad always taught me to give everything I do 110 percent.
What was it like competing against the other contestants?
Everyone was excited to compete, and they were all from the New York area except me and another contestant from Ohio. Despite the intimidation, I was excited for the opportunity to work with these people and get inspired by them. When it comes to plant people, we are giving folks and want to see everyone succeed. It was a supportive environment.
What was challenging about the competition?
I typically use and work with artificial plants. However, the “Clipped” set had a full plant nursery. Any plant you could imagine that you might need was there. The show is live, so we are up against time to create these fantastical pieces. I had to think on my feet and work quick.
What was being on the show actually like?
In the very first episode, we had to complete a quick challenge by trimming a yew tree in a form that represents who we are. The primary challenge of the first episode was a fabrication challenge that we had ten hours to complete with an assistant. The three judges judged both of those topiary designs and someone was sent home.
Before filming began, we didn’t know who the judges were—we only knew they’d be “celebrity” judges. However, they are Chris Lambton, Fernando Wong, one of the best landscape designers in the country, and Martha Stewart. It was surreal to meet Stewart, Lambton, and Wong; it’s still surreal that I got to talk and work with them. It was a life-changing experience. Stewart is a really funny person, so it was amazing to work with them all.
What do you hope the audience takes away from the show?
I put myself out there to compete in this. I laid it all out on the line. Being a contestant, we had to expose who we were and be vulnerable. I hope I can inspire other people through my love of plants and share that love with the audience in a meaningful way.
No spoilers allowed, of course, but what would you do with the prize money if you won the competition?
A great reward like $50,000 brings a great responsibility. It would be an opportunity to help develop community gardens and figure out a way to give back to the people that helped me get to where I am. There’s a lot you could do with it, and it could be a way to grow myself and inspire others.