Open Wed-Sun 10a to 5p   |  510-387-9744  | 


Suzanne Howard-Carter, owner and manager

Suzanne is the new owner of Oaktown as of January, 2023

Suzanne took the helm of the Good Ship Oaktown in early 2023 as former owner and propagation wizard Kristen Hopper elected to retire. Suzanne has an extensive background in retail, retail management, nursery management, and degrees in Anthropology from UC Berkeley and a Certificate in Landscape Horticulture from Merritt College in Oakland. The work of growing quality native plants is labor intensive and could not be done without the help of interested co-workers, and Suzanne is dedicated to keeping up the quality and consistency Kristen started back in 2002.
In addition to being plant-obsessed, Suz is mom to a gigantic teenager (Nate, age 17) two cats, has been married for about 30 years to Matt and is mom to shop cat and excellent mouser Sweetie

Nursery Workers

A blonde woman is smiling, looking at the camera while holding up a piece of paper with flowers she pressed showing.

Violet Thorns

Violet has worked at Oaktown for 10 years! She is a Clinical Herbalist with over 600 hours of training. She is a long-time apprentice of herbalist Stascha Stahl, and a graduate of the Blue Otter School of Herbal Medicine's Four Month Intensive and Advanced Programs (2018-19),  as well as completing Wild Current School's Clinical Mentorship Program and Advanced Clinical Skills Curriculum (2020-22). She has taught classes on holistic herbal medicine at the California Institute of Herbal Studies, UCSC's Cantu Queer Cultural Center, and for the Ancestral Apothecary School. Other iterations of her plant nerdliness are: years of study at the Merrit College Horticultural Department, native plant landscaping, botanical drawing, and 11 continuous years of cultivating squatted gardens. Find her clinical practice at and on IG @witchcraft_apothecary 

Violet will sailing on to new oceans after mid-September 2023, you can still find her at her herbal practice, and she will be tattooing around town. We wish her all the best on her new ocean voyage, and we hope she occasionally docks her yacht nearby and offers an herbal talk!

Birch Starr-Reid

Birch is a horticulture student at the Peralta colleges. They are particularly interested in botanical poisons, food stability, and the ways that plants and people shape each other. Outside of the plant world, they practice martial arts and dance.

Ben Carmeli

Ben comes to us with a wide-ranging resume: he holds a degree in soil science from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, where he did research and designed irrigation systems. He spent time on the East Coast at a farm as an agronomist; he's helped me analyze soil samples from the nursery, and is part of our program of improving soil health for our plant stock.

Nursery Workers (Non-Human Species)



Sweetie has been our resident fixed Momma kitty for some time, and lately she's really become spoiled, but she still goes on her nightly patrols, keeping us company at lunch and enjoying naps under the Matilija poppies. I recently gave her her first stuffed toy, which she quickly kicked to death. Good kitty!

Bees and Wasps


Butterflies and Moths

Nitrogen Fixing Bacteria