Plant Material, a ‘punk rock plant shop,’ opens in Glassell Park


Inside a sun-drenched plant shop in Glassell Park, poetry-inscribed “earth posts,” California-friendly plants and unusual biodynamic edibles are among the first signs that the 4,000-square-foot Plant Material is not your typical nursery.

Terremoto landscape architect David Godshall, who co-founded Plant Material with business partner Matt Burrows, likens the new nursery’s aesthetic and spirit to “a punk rock plant shop.”

Translation: Don’t expect begonias, genetically modified crops or invasive plants here.

“Punk rock stripped down rock music to its most basic elements, and then through unlearning and rejecting normal musical expectations, presented a radical vision of a wholly new type of music,” Godshall said. “We want to do the same thing, but with gardens. Our instruments are the same (dirt, water, organic matter) but we envision these future gardens as a wholly new type of music. The mainstream may find it radical at first, but we will win them over with ecology, beauty and love. That’s pretty punk rock, we think.”


On a recent visit, the nursery’s horticultural offerings included a profusion of drought-tolerant California favorites like artemisia, salvia and buckwheat as well as some surprises: California native grapes, thornless edible blackberries and biodynamic tomato tree and rhubarb.

In addition to a small selection of house plants, the indoor store carries sustainable Japanese hand tools, biodegradable garden twine and lightweight polyurethane garden hoses made in Oregon. Handcrafted art objects and garden accessories add to the mix including earth posts by Sarah Rara, rainbow prisms by Liz Dunning, organic body products by Badger and straw garden hats by Communitie Marfa.

Godshall, who designed the nursery along with Terremoto landscape architects Erik Schmahl and Lauren Jordan, plans on hosting community events, such as a recent art show, as well as parties because he “can’t think of anything more fun than dancing in a beautiful nursery.” (Look for programming details on the nursery’s Instagram page @plant_material).

At a time when many Southern Californians are removing their lawns in favor of less thirsty sustainable alternatives, Godshall sees the nursery as a showcase for drought-tolerant landscaping.


“We wanted to create a nursery that offers a curated vision of what the future of ecologically appropriate horticulture in Southern California might look like,” Godshall said. “In this age of environmental decline and resource scarcity, we find it odd that most conventional nurseries still sell plants that have high water and fertilizer requirements, or still sell annuals for that matter. Our plants are either native, edible or regionally appropriate. Layered on top of that is also our own personal aesthetic point of view, because even within these native and regionally appropriate parameters there is bountiful beauty and diversity to be discovered. It’s time that as individuals, families and communities, we begin to garden with a new ethos.”

Plant Material
Where: 3350 Eagle Rock Blvd, Glassell Park
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays