OUR PLANT PPL . In Chain, We interview people of color in the plant world. If you have suggestions for getting ppl involved, tag us on Instagram @latimesplants.
Not many people who enter Green Place come for the plants, and owner Jennifer Aragon is more than fine with it.
They can paint their own terracotta pots, park themselves on the plant shop’s center table to start crafting. They may bow their heads to Elvis or Blondie as they sip iced coffee on the couch. If they’re the guy next door, they can come over on their daily lunch break to play the go-to piano.
Still, those who come for the plants are never disappointed.
shop is Endowed with heart-shaped caladiums, tropical maranthus and soft-pink syngonium. “It’s been a while since our rest, so it’s a little empty right now,” she says, although the vast greenery says otherwise.
Aragon, 38, has an effortlessly cool energy. Her dark hair is twisted into a top knot, accentuated by gold hoops and a welcoming smile. After a decade in retail management, she decided to lead her own business.
Her downtown Fullerton shop opened in August 2020, and everything in it has a story. Take the Rusted Brachiosaurus to the Front Table: Cactus Mart wasn’t selling it, but Aragon managed to buy it anyway. and hand-painted walls by local muralist Carla Roque, who splattered white-outlined leaves on sleek black paint after viewing Aragon’s reference sketches.
Between local artwork, partnerships with other downtown vendors, and Aragon managing the front desk, the store is a love letter to Fullerton. Sitting at a paint-splattered crafting table, Aragon told me how he made it that way.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
So, when did the plant dream begin?
I started collecting plants about 10 years ago, but the plant shop dream probably started in 2017 or 2018. At the time I was like, “I don’t want to be at my job anymore, I really want to do something else. I want to start my own business.” But I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. And then one time I was at home, just watering my plants, and I was like, “I’m about to open a plant store.” And at that time, there was no plant store [in this area], There were nurseries like Home Depot, Lowes, Armstrong, and there’s only one that’s probably like the potting shed in Orange.
It’s really cool to see everyone’s different beauty and personality going through plant shops because even though there are so many, they are all so different and so unique and have their own personality.
Talking about the decor, were you the one to decorate the place?
Yeah – my vision was to really feel like you’re in someone’s house as you come over and it’s comfortable. About 90% of everything here is hand made or given away or just donated, so everything has a story of its own – and that’s what I wanted. I didn’t want it to feel too boutique-y; I wanted it to look like you were hanging out at your friend’s house, and I think we caught it. I want people to feel comfortable here, hang out and not feel like you’re in a super modern boutique.
Absolutely, and it’s a really big place.
It is really big. It was intimidating at first, but now that we’re in, I guess it ain’t big enough [Laughs.]
Why the city of Fullerton?
I came here when I was 22 years old. I just love this area; I have seen it change so much. So many stores come in and out, and it always has a great vibe. I’ve been there three times and I’ve been in Fullerton. It was like looking perfect; Clearly the right place. And to be honest, I never dreamed that I would be able to get this place. I have seen three different shops come and go from this place, and it is good that I am part of the lineage of the people here.
And what was it like to open it for the first time?
scary. really scary. But to be honest, I felt very proud. It’s a scary thing, and I’ve done it myself. I have no partner, so if he fails, I myself fail. But if it succeeds, I myself become successful. I’m proud of that, whether it works or doesn’t work, I’m proud that I was able to travel in horror.
How is the condition of the employees?
Right now, we are family-run because I am by myself. I have my mom who works for me. I have a sister who works for me. And then I have some girls who work part time, so they have other jobs and then they take hours here and there. And they’re people I know from other retail jobs, so it’s really cool because I trust their work ethic.
It’s really tough because, especially when you have your own space, you have to trust the people who are running it for you. And we are not a corporation. It’s just us. Like, when people want to talk to a manager or HR, I am! So you really have to trust the people who are taking care of your home in a way. This is my second home. Oh! That is the matter.
How do you bring your culture into your store?
Oh my god, everywhere. Even like unique pieces of art, even music – so my culture, I’m Hawaiian, Filipino and Spanish – and so we love the Hawaiian days, where you get to enjoy Hawaiian There is a discount if you come wearing a shirt or something like that. , But yes, even with just the plants we bring, the art we bring, the music we bring – we fill it.
that’s awesome. What is something you hope everyone who comes to this store will experience?
positive energy. Like Legal, I want people to go in and be like, “Oh my god, like, I don’t want to leave. I love being here.” To be honest, that’s what I want. I want people to come in and be like, maybe they’re in a bad mood or they’re having a bad day, and I want them to walk in the door and immediately feel like positive energy and leave feeling like that. I wish this would change their day.
One thing I love is people come in and just sit on the couch and have coffee and just chill, or come in and paint the dishes and kind of chill here for an hour or two There are. I love it, because it’s like, Oh, I’m creating that energy that people want to sit in, whether it’s music or us, workers or plants or whatever. I want them to feel a community when they come here.
So if there was an emergency and you could only save one plant, which would it be?
[Thinks for a while.] maybe mine Philodendron cordatum ‘Brasil.’ So it hangs on the wall. It’s not a very popular plant, but it’s one of my favorites. The leaves are heart-shaped, and when they vine, they are really cool. This is not one of the best trending people on Instagram. It’s not something anyone is attracted to, but for some reason, I like to have four of them in my house. And I just love them. I like the way they walk. I like their colours. I think they are really easy to care for, and they give off such a beautiful color.
Are there any plants you would leave behind?
[No hesitation.] yes maybe all calathea, There are many different varieties of them. And people love them because they are gorgeous, but let me tell you, they are the most finicky brats ever. [Laughs.] They are very agile, but they are gorgeous. They’re like the mean girls from the Plant Group.
What’s your best advice for aspiring plant parents?
Start small and easy. Stay away from trendy people on Instagram. Because usually they need a lot of love and care, and then you can get disappointed. Don’t buy anything expensive in the beginning. Maybe a snake plant, a ZZ plant, a pit – something simpler. Just work your way.