Fashion / Shopping

Plant Therapy and Rich History on Uptown Dallas’ Routh Street

The Neighborhood's Newest Bungalow-Turned-Boutique Wants to be More Than a Plant Shop

BY // 12.23.20

Stepping inside The Plant Project, the newest bungalow-turned-boutique along Uptown’s charming Routh Street, is like stepping into a carefully curated Instagram page. Rooms are filled to the brim with cheery houseplants, candles, books, pretty planters, and more products thoughtfully collected to create a welcoming, warm atmosphere.

But there’s more to The Plant Project than just picking up a baby monstera or fiddle leaf fig. Owned by Bree Clarke, founder of the inclusive, community-focused Iman Project, the space is imbued with meaningful moments.

The physical shop itself was once a part of a Freedman’s Town, settled by former slaves after the Civil War. Years of road building and gentrification has rendered the neighborhood’s rich history largely hidden, though, thankfully, many of the original homes still stand in the State Thomas area of Uptown, and a local bus tour has been working to illuminate the past in plain site.

“Every time I would drive by that house I would tell my husband, who is Hispanic, how cool it would be for an Afro Latino family to own a little house over here,” Clarke says. When they saw a for sale sign on Routh Street, next door to Sabah House and across from Whole Foods, they jumped at the opportunity.

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Bree Clarke, founder of The Iman Project and the new Plant Project in Uptown

Soft jazz musical fills the rooms of the Plant Project, along with Olphactory Candles, a Black-owned Dallas business that serves as an ode to the genre. Popular zebra plants are nicknamed “Herman” in honor of the man that first instilled a love of plants in Clarke.

“Growing up, this guy Herman would always come over to my grandmother’s house in Texas and just talk about plants. He was actually the first African American man to graduate from Texas A&M with a horticulture degree,” Clarke says. “He would talk about plants, herbs, flowers, and how to take care of the soil. I didn’t know it then, but I was picking up everything he was teaching. He passed away a few years ago, but I’ve dedicated my shop to him now.”

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Ultimately, The Plant Project is a brick-and-mortar extension of Clarke’s work with the Iman Project, which has long hosted creative workshops that encourage inclusivity and questions.

“The whole purpose is to show that you don’t have to have a green thumb to have a plant. Sometimes, we get so much in our head about how we’re going to keep a plant alive, we don’t live in the moment and enjoy the beauty of it,” Clarke says. “Plants are therapy. They make us feel good. I want to bring people back to seeing the beauty of what plants can do.”

Soon, The Plant Project will be making it even easier to fill your home with therapeutic plants — a more official grand opening in January will focus on the store’s easily accessible drive-thru component.

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