They say that a visit to Carol’s Green Thumb in Turner is a delightful experience, if a little bit surreal.

Carol Gordon at Carol’s Green Thumb in Turner. Carol Gordon photo

It’s not just the sheer number of plants in the place, although there are hundreds of them tucked into every corner, nook and shelf. It’s not simply variety, either, although Carol Gordon keeps a pretty diverse array of flora inside her Berry Road business, including a sun room jam-packed with cacti.

It’s more about the way she pots her plants and puts them on display for the people who have been visiting the business since the summer of 2017.

Spider plants in tea pots, pothos in giant strawberries, succulents in the mouths of frogs, fish or hippos. Here’s a jade poking out of a tiny ceramic house and over there, a Swedish ivy standing proud in a ceramic ice cream cone.

Carol’s Green Thumb feels, in its way, like a funhouse for all things green and living. After two years of selling her eclectic plants for just a couple dollars each, Gordon has announced that she’s going out of business.

It happens officially on Jan. 25 and the announcement has led to a mad scramble to buy off what remains of her collection – Carol herself plans to keep a couple hundred plants for herself, but there are plenty to go around.

What comes next for a lady who has lived in a jungle environment for two years? How did she get started and what’s the weirdest thing she ever did with a plant?

We caught up with Carol and asked her these questions and more. Then we bought ourselves a Swedish ivy in an ice cream cone because, come on. That’s just plain cool.

When did you come to realize you had a green thumb? I guess when my friends and family couldn’t keep a plant alive and they told me I had a green thumb. I got my love of plants from my Grandmother Timberlake. Her love was African violets and Boston ferns. Mine is anything that’s green!

What’s it like sharing living space with all those plants? It’s like living outside all year round! I love watching the snow fall on my sun room roof and having all the greenery around me.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever used for a plant pot? An old boot lined with a terracotta pot.

Do you have a favorite plant? They’re all my favorite, but I love my monsteras and my cacti. The monsteras remind me of my trips down South and my cacti remind me of my trips to Arizona. Others are my purple shamrocks (oxalis), which will be available during my open house on Jan. 25.

A least favorite? No, I’ve never seen or had a plant I didn’t like.

What made you decide to get out? It started with me trying to downsize the plants in my sun room. I put a few on one of those swap and sell sites and they started selling like hot cakes! So then I propagated more and now I have five times the plants I started with. So much for downsizing! In the winter months, everyone wants to put more green into their homes, so I decided if I was going to sell out, now is the time.

You haven’t said much about what’s next for you. Any hints? I want to do more traveling and I’m sure my son will appreciate having fewer plants to water when I’m away.

Your customers will miss you. What will you miss most about the business? Meeting people with the same passion about plants that I have. I’ve met some wonderful people and many are repeat customers coming to every open house that I have. I do intend to keep at least 100 of the over 500 plants that I have.


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