Peaks & Valleys: Morton Woman Wants Everyone to Own Plants

Alexandra Gonzales' Business Focuses on Sharing Joy of Plants With Others


In a way, playing in the dirt saved Alexandra Gonzales.

Several years ago, she was in the midst of many personal and professional struggles, including bouts of postpartum depression as well as learning to care for a child with special needs.

“And then I found gardening,” Gonzales recalled.

For Gonzales, the owner of Peaks & Valleys Plants and Props in Morton, her business is more than creating beautiful plants for the home. She wants to show people they can own plants without killing them. She also wants to show people that plants don’t just look beautiful, they can do beautiful things for us.

“There’s just something about playing in dirt that fixes a lot of things or gives you a good reboot,” Gonzales said.

Peaks & Valleys Plants and Props officially became a business in the city of Morton about three months ago, though Gonzales has been learning her trade for much longer than that. She was introduced to house plants by a family friend several years ago and she quickly became interested in the many varieties of indoor plants and how to propagate them, or grow new plants from cuttings of existing plants.

At first, she gardened in a tiny patch of her porch. Having previously tried small-scale farming, she said she was surprised to find that, unlike farmers, those who grow indoor plants closely guard their secrets. She learned her methods from the internet as well as a lot of trial and error. Eventually, her plant collection began to grow until today, her home is filled with various textures and hues of greens.

While she found personal fulfillment in plants, Gonzales said she originally planned to start her own salsa business. She said she gave that plan up in favor of plants when she learned the cottage producer laws in Washington state can be difficult to navigate. Eventually, she would like to revisit the salsa idea and even possibly have a taco cart that serves her special salsas along with street tacos.

Peaks & Valleys Plants and Props specializes in hydroponic décor, meaning containers that grow plants that need water only. Some of her offerings include glass enclosures that need only an occasional spritz from spray bottles to keep the plants alive.

Gonzales also makes driftwood décor pieces that contain small vials of water that, if kept filled, will keep the plants inside alive.

About 90 percent of the plants Gonzales sells are her own “props,” meaning she grew them from cuttings from other plants. Besides hydroponic, she also offers plants that are rooted in dirt such as succulent planters. But arguably, Gonzales’ most popular and unique offerings are her Jellyfish, which are air plants suspended in a dome-shaped glass hanger, giving them a jellyfish-like appearance. The container, created by Lefty's Custom Glass, an Olympia area glass company, collects water, creating a humid but not wet environment in which air plants or Spanish moss thrive.

You can buy Peaks & Valleys merchandise and plants on the company website and Facebook page. She offers shipping throughout the U.S. and Canada as well as pickup for local customers. Gonzales also brings many of her plant creations to the Morton Farmers Market on Saturdays at Gust Backstrom Park. Gonzales would like to eventually offer classes where customers can make their own terrariums and perhaps learn themselves how beneficial gardening can be.

“A big thing is to teach people the things I’ve learned,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales said one of her goals with Peaks & Valleys Plants and Props is to take the mystery out of owning indoor plants by offering pieces that are easy to care for. She sends customers home with small spray bottles as well as her “dirt squirt” bottles that help keep plant owners from overwatering, a common indoor plant mistake. And she is always willing to pass on her wisdom to anyone.

“At the Morton Farmers Market, some of my customers just come to talk about plants,” Gonzales said.

As for the future of Peaks & Valleys Plants and Props, Gonzales is now in negotiations to open a retail space in Morton. She envisions the space being a place for local makers and growers like her to sell their wares. She would also like the space to become a place for gatherings and classes.

“I would like to keep it completely local,” Gonzales said.

Peaks & Valleys Plants and Props is Gonzales’ baby, but she said she has a lot of help from her husband, Matt.

“He’s a big supporter for me,” Gonzales said. “He gets to go fishing for all my driftwood pieces and he lives with dirt in the house all the time.”

Between the two of them, the couple have six children, ages 6 to 22. The youngest of their children, ages 10, 7 and 6, are being homeschooled in the unschooling method, a method that emphasizes learner-chosen activities. For Gonzales, her plant business is as much about creating opportunity for her family as it is about creating a life together.

“I’m not trying to make a million dollars,” Gonzales said. “I’m living a life I don’t need a vacation from.”

Gonzales also sees her business as having the potential to add prosperity to the Morton community. The Gonzales family moved to Washington from California. Gonzales said she didn’t even know where Morton was when she saw a listing for a rental there, but she said when she first saw it, she immediately recognized it was a growing place she wanted to join. Gonzales prints “Morton, WA” on all of the merchandise, including hats and shirts, because she wants her customers far and wide to know about her adopted home.

“There’s a lot of people who don’t know where Morton is,” Gonzales said. “Tons of money drives by every day. Tons of opportunity for people who are struggling drives by. I want to bring some of that in.”

Peaks & Valleys Plants and Props

When: At the Morton Farmers Market, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays through Sept. 24 at Gust Backstrom Park


Social media: @peaksvalleysplantspropsswap on Facebook