“Welcome to Invicta Herbs. Here I hope to promote the unsung heroes of the plant world. Most have familiar names, yet their exquisite sensory properties and unassuming needs have been overlooked. Bring them into your kitchen or garden to discover them for yourself.” Susan
Invicta Herbs is the business developed by Susan Gollins, sharing her passion for a multisensory approach to gardening, by offering a collection of her nursery-grown plants selected for their abundant qualities and robustness to thrive in the UK.
Her lifelong interest in how plants benefit humankind started by observing cultivated and indigenous plants on her parents’ nursery in Cornwall. Whilst studying chemistry at Oxford, she developed a greater depth of understanding and appreciation for the many complex molecules produced by plants, which cannot readily be manufactured.
At 23, rapid deterioration of eyesight led to a narrowing of lifestyle to meet her work and growing family commitments. Aged 36 the genetic condition ‘Retinitis Pigmentosa’ was diagnosed at Moorfields hospital and three years later, now registered severely visually impaired, the family (Susan, her husband, Dave, and their three sons) moved to a simpler house on 2.5 acres to sell produce from the smallholding locally.
The challenges of starting a new business, exasperated by visual disability, drove her to recognise that her unique lifestyle provided a valuable insight into the multisensory approach to gardening.
Already dissatisfied by mass produced ornamental plants, Susan returned to growing edible, useful and interesting plants to standards she would like to have been able to buy herself. This proved popular at Farmers’ Markets and Plant Fairs. In 2012 “Invicta Herbs – growing plants to delight the senses” was launched to share her love of the many culinary and useful plants justifying the effort to find a place in the home or garden. Most have simple care needs to thrive in the UK.
The new direction took off, with turnover doubling each year for the first 3 years. The business remains small and personal, working with the seasons and family commitments so plants continue to hit the original concept.