Opening Up Entrepreneurship

VERDANT CURIOSITIES: Nursery & Gardening Store Opens in Downtown E.C.

new plant store also offers plant accessories and classes

Sawyer Hoff, photos by Andrea Paulseth |

POT IT LIKE IT'S HOT. Verdant Curiosities is now open on Graham Ave. with everything you need for your plant baby.

Are you a current or aspiring plant parent? Verdant Curiosities, a new plant shop at 320 Graham Ave. has all you need for your plants to thrive – including any advice for struggling plant parents (hey, we’ve all been there).

Verdant Curiosities owners Jessica Vollmer and Cody Cynor have lived in the area most of their lives, and Jessica has rented out the space on the first floor of the Graham Avenue apartments since 2018, using it as her private photography studio. After the height of the pandemic when her real estate photography career took off, the space transitioned from a studio into a home for all the plants the couple had acquired over the years.

Jessica and Cody decided they wanted to open the space to the public to enjoy their vast plant collection, thus creating Verdant Curiosities, which had its grand opening on Oct. 28 (inside the same building as Abraxas Wax, another new biz).

Owners Cody
Owners Cody Cynor (the gnome on the left) and Jessica Vollmer (right).

From succulents and hoyas to philodendrons and more, the plants at Verdant Curiosities will help liven up any space. Make sure to ask about their pet-friendly plants as well as their $5 Mystery Prop Cups, which are little plant chunks that grew some roots, but haven’t yet put out their first leaves to reveal what they are. Once the leaves are revealed, the plants will be put out for sale at their standard price.

Both Jessica and Cody have been caring for and learning more about plants for years as hobbyists, having learned advice for just about anyone. The duo says that finding the right plant is less about your knowledge level and more about the kind of plant parent you want to be.

“Are you getting a plant because you want to do things with it, you want to see it grow, and you're gonna like check on it every other day, or are you getting a plant because your apartment kind of sucks and you should have something green, but you’ll probably forget about it for a month? Because that's definitely two different kinds of plants right there, and we’ve got both,” Jessica explained.

Right off of the main showroom, Jessica and Cody have also been dabbling in tissue culturing, which involves cutting a chunk off of one plant, placing it into a multiplication media, and then growing balls of baby plants. This process, when done correctly, can result in many duplicate plants.

“It's a really fun process, but it can also be very, very frustrating because here you think you did everything right, but two days later you’ve got a jar full of mold instead of plants,” Jessica explained.

Verdant Curiosities is also a space to learn more about plants. The shop will soon be offering classes to the public about a range of topics, including making your own soil mixes, propagating box terrariums, yoga classes in the plant room, and more. Their first class will be about Kokedamas on Dec. 2, where participants will learn about the art of growing plants in moss balls, and be able to take home their own living Christmas ornament. You can sign up for classes on their website.

When the classroom space is not in use, people can also spend time around the plants and lights, since light therapy has been proven to improve mental health in the winter months. Jessica and Cody are planning on adding a little coffee stand in the room along with the comfy couches and chairs.

“I definitely hate winter,” Jessica said. “It’s cold and dark and dreary, but as soon as I started having little plant pods all over my house I thought, ‘Being outside sucks, but I’m just gonna sit here and play in some dirt and I don’t care if it gets all over my living room floor because it makes me happy.’”

Along with their plants, Verdant Curiosities also holds several plant accessories like pots by TJ Pottery, grow lights, heat mats, and planter stones made by Cody himself. If you have a plant that just needs to be repotted, Jessica and Cody only charge per scoop for any repotting.

Winter hours are Monday 4-7pm, Wednesday 10am-2pm, and Sunday 12-4pm or by appointment. Their potting material can be purchased online and picked up during their open hours, or customers can reach out to schedule another time to pick up.

Learn more about Verdant Curiosities (320 Graham Ave., Eau Claire) at and on their Facebook.