Did you know that studies have shown that house plants can reduce anxiety and depression? They just brighten up the home and give you a taste of the outdoors, even if stuck at your computer desk. They allow you to touch the earth as you pot them and flowering blooms ignite the senses. Find a bit of peace at Capital Mall with locally-owned Peaks & Valleys Plants opening in July. Get your hands dirty, paint a rock and stay a spell.

large empty retail space with plant wallpaper on one wall. Macy's can be seen through the shut gates at the mall entrance
Peaks & Valleys Plants is opening at Capital Mall this July! Stop in and get your hands dirty. Photo courtesy: Peaks & Valleys Plants

Gardening & Painting Helped Morton Plant Shop Owner, and her family, Heal

“In 2016, before our youngest was born, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression, in the most severe way,” shares Alexx. “I struggled along with my family to pull myself out of it with very little resources. Painting rocks became a way for me to channel my anxiety.”

Fast forward to COVID. Alexx and her family had just spent two years being homeless. She wanted to find a way to provide for her family and turned to gardening. “Like most people during the pandemic, I kind of panicked and taught myself how to garden and provide for my little family,” she shares. “Where we lived, I wasn’t able to garden in the ground so I had to learn how to garden in pots.”

large succulent growing out of a piece of wood
Getting your hands dirty in soil and breathing in plants is a wonderful therapy Photo courtesy: Peaks & Valleys Plants

Her youngest son is on the spectrum and was virtually nonverbal at the time. “We didn’t even get a hug,” Alexx shares. “I never thought that I would hear, ‘Mom.’” But as Alexx learned to garden in containers – so the deer wouldn’t get her food – her son helped. “He reached over and picked up one of our very, very small chicks. A huge milestone, because he never touched anything open handed. I wouldn’t say that the words flowed immediately, but it felt like it. It was like magic, witnessing miracles just by putting your hands in dirt as a start.”

Gardening helped him blossom. And Alexx wondered if it would help her, as well as others. She knew outdoor gardening was not something people could do year-round in Washington, so she decided on an indoor plant store. “I needed to find a way to keep this good feeling going and here we are,” she shares. “The peaks and valleys of life. I want other people to be able to experience the joy that I found nurturing plants creating terrarium’s building, succulent displays painting rocks, painting pots. If we can offer a small moment for someone to reconnect with themselves, and get away from their busy lives I am excited to be able to do that.”

Peaks & Valleys Plants Shop in Olympia

Alexx started out as a small booth at the local farmers market in February 2022, and then moved to their current location, The Morton Plant Shop, in October 2022. Her best friend, Kat, volunteers at her store, making it possible for her next step: expanding to a second location at the Capital Mall with her original name, Peaks & Valleys Plants.

The new Capital Mall plant shop will carry their signature jellyfish air plant holders, blown locally by Lefty’s Custom Glass.

blown glass jellyfish hanging planters with air plants in them.
Unique jellyfish air plant holders brighten any room in your home! Photo courtesy: Peaks & Valleys Plants

Unlike most plant shops, where you almost feel like you should look but not touch, Alexx has created a unique environment. The entire shop welcomes you to get your hands dirty gardening or messy painting. It beckons you to enjoy the green therapy tucked inside colorful pots.

Some of the fun, hands-on activities including creating your own terrarium or succulent display. Price on these depends on size and what you decide to add to them, but they start at just $15 and $10, respectively. Peaks & Valley Plants has a plethora of items for you to tuck into your display, such as stones, sand, figures, gemstones and more.

If you feel like sitting and doing some painting therapy among the green leaves, you can paint a pot, starting at $15, and take it with you or leave it to be professional fired by one of their vendors. You can also paint a monstera leaf, magnet or a one-of-a-kind refrigerator magnet set.

a succulent display in a terracotta pot with blue and white stones
Building your own succulent display at the Capital Mall’s Peaks & Valleys Plants in a fun way to spend the day! Photo courtesy: Peaks & Valleys Plants

For just $2, to help cover the cost of paint, you can paint a rock or two and added It the store’s snake. Verdie, the rock snake, winds throughout the store, inviting you to follow her along, enjoy others’ artwork or search for your rock from before.

“We will have workstations set up in our shop so that anyone anytime can come and do these activities, or you may call ahead to reserve,” Alexx shares.

Both Kat and Alexx are ordained and once the story is established, they plan on offering it as a wedding venue for those looking for a simple, relaxing place among the greens to say, “I do.” Also, in the future they plan on having experts in to teach classes.

Peaks & Valleys Plants offers a 15% discount on all visits to new parents during their child’s first year because they know firsthand the power of gardening and painting therapy. To learn more, visit the Peaks & Valleys Plants Facebook page or, better yet, stop into the Capital Mall and get your hands dirty. It’s therapy for the soul.


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