The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

How the founders of Grounded would spend a perfect day in D.C.

Placeholder while article actions load

In D.C. Dream Day, we ask our favorite people in the area to tell us how they would spend a perfect day in the District.

Yes, house plants can really liven up a room. But they also offer an underrated benefit that’s at the heart of D.C.-based virtual plant shop Grounded’s ethos.

“We knew from the jump that we wanted our business to be [about] how plants affect your mental health positively, even your physical health as well,” says co-founder Mignon Hemsley.

Hemsley and Danuelle Doswell launched Grounded on Earth Day last year, just as the pandemic began to roil the country. The timing wasn’t ideal — or so they thought. But business took off almost instantly.

“We had 500 orders in the first hour,” Doswell says. “It was crazy.”

Aside from selling online, the duo also does pop-up events, including one Sept. 11 at Sandlot Georgetown from 2 to 6 p.m. Grounded caters to all types of plant parents, and that includes curating collections specifically for novice owners and pet-friendly picks.

On their dream days in D.C., the two friends would take a break from their booming business to enjoy more greenery at their favorite spots around town.

Mignon Hemsley: For my morning, I like to get an early start. That’s why I’m usually sending Dani stuff at 3 in the morning, 4 in the morning. My ideal morning would be to wake up early and go to tennis practice at [Banneker Recreation Center].

Danuelle Doswell: I would do a staycation, that’s my thing this year. I would check into the Viceroy hotel. It has a gorgeous interior, great customer service, and it just really fits who I am. I would relax, watch a movie, and unwind and decompress.

Hemsley: I usually skip breakfast, but we’re both chai drinkers. I found this really cute coffee shop around my neighborhood that’s called La Coop Coffee, so I would get a dirty chai and go to Donut Run and get a doughnut. Then, I would go to my garden which is located at Newark Street Community Garden. I have a pretty nice-sized pot there; I’m growing tomatoes, watermelon, squash, okra, peanuts, jalapeños. So I’ll visit early before the mosquitoes wake up. I would probably end my morning by going to pottery classes at District Clay Center.

Doswell: Around 4 p.m. I would get ready to start my evening and maybe do a pregame situation. We just visited the Columbia Room — we’re working with them on a project — and they have great drinks and great snacks. The drinks are beautiful and exquisite, so I’ll have a cocktail there.

Hemsley: Me and my mom are best friends. I spend the weekends with my mom. She’s a very active person too, and one of our favorite things to do together is go hiking. We would probably go to Sugarloaf Mountain. We would hike up to the top, and then come down to the bottom — they have a winery. We’d get there and have some sangria or some wine and then come back and eat some real food.

Doswell: After drinks at Columbia Room, I would try to go to a museum, maybe the Renwick Gallery. I wouldn’t be by myself — I would probably be with my boyfriend, and we would ride scooters to dinner at Hank’s Oyster Bar. They have a fabulous lobster roll. The oysters Rockefeller are really delicious, and they have a [lobster] deviled egg that’s really good.

Hemsley: I would come back to the city and get some lunch. My go-to is always Lauriol Plaza because it never disappoints, but one of my favorite places also is Maketto. I would probably go there and get a drink and get some lo mein noodles. Then, I’d go upstairs to Cool Kids Vinyl — we did some planterior work there. I’d grab some food and sit in their bird cage outside — it’s cute with a bunch of plants up there.

How Cool Kids Vinyl founder Matthew Talley would spend a perfect day in D.C.

I like a nice beer garden. There’s a place on 14th Street called Garden District. It has a really good chicken sandwich and radler beer. I would go there and have some more food. Maybe go to Commonwealth, which is a few doors down. We have friends there, and I’d shop around for a bit.

Doswell: At nighttime, I would be on a rooftop dancing, that is my cardio sometimes. I would go see Mignon DJ. We went to Wild Days recently, which is at the Eaton Hotel, and they have a great rooftop. Lots of plants, and it’s very chill and calming. Then, maybe I would get dessert from [Southwest] Soda Pop Shop at the Wharf, a Black-owned ice creamery. That would be a good nightcap.

7 spots where you can satisfy your soft-serve fix

Hemsley: Our nights would be pretty similar. I love oysters too, so I would go to Rappahannock Oyster Bar at the Wharf. Then, I would head to Eaton Hotel and DJ at Wild Days. They have really good drinks there. The Eaton is so cool, I used to do photography there so I know the people that work there. The rooftop has a really nice fire pit and they give you marshmallows and you can make s’mores in the firepit. Then, I would go home and maybe watch some Lifetime or “Forensic Files.”