Long before I ever imagined living in the bay, I had dreams of visiting Flora Grubb gardens in San Francisco. I discovered this magical botanical wonderland on Far Out Flora, one of the best garden blogs on the web, especially if you love succulents. I have yet to go, but I am currently making weekend plans to do so very very soon. I'm hoping to take home a staghorn fern and/or a fiddle leaf fig. I hope I can afford both!
Now that I'm a bay area transplant (couldn't resist the pun), I added a few more plant nurseries to my bucket list. Some of which I've had the pleasure of already exploring. Since I plan to turn my sunny west facing apartment into a little jungle, I'll be spending quite a bit of time visiting all of the garden shops in the area. So far, these are the ones on my list:
Bay Area Plant Nurseries
Beautiful! Great selection of pots, all sizes, for both inside and out. For a small fee they will even pot up the plants for you. Lots of lovely botanical themed trinkets inside, great for gift giving. They also had the biggest air plant I've ever seen, I'm talking two-feet tall with a one-foot diameter. HUGE.
Before we left, we stopped for a cup of coffee at the small Highwire outpost inside the garden shop and LOVED the feel of the ceramic cups so much we asked who made them. The coffee shop guys were happy to tell us they came from Heath's ceramics. We promptly ordered a set online for ourselves. (These cups are handmade in California and for the month of February, they are donating 1% of their sales to the ACLU.)
- Westbrae Nursery
Hands down the best place to find houseplants in Berkeley. They have all shapes and sizes. I actually bought a flower pot from Flowerland and took it to Westbrae Nursery to match it with a plant. After settling on a croton, Westbrae even potted it up for me for just $3. This was my second visit, the first time around I went home with a dwarf snake plant and a small zz plant. This time I meant to take home a staghorn fern, but I got so excited about the croton I totally spaced on the fern. Next time.
- Mrs. Dalloway's
This is actually a bookstore in the historic Elmwood district of Berkeley. A fellow book lover recommended the store to me and I was so happy when I went in to discover that it's part bookstore part garden shop. It's an absolutely beautiful store. I initially went in looking for greeting cards (independent bookstores have the best stationary). I didn't have enough time to look over all the shelves, but the garden nook caught my eye. Instead of buying cards, I picked out the cutest little white flower pot. I can't wait to go back again and see what's new.
- UC Berkeley Botanical Garden
While this is technically a botanical garden, it belongs on the list because of the beautiful gift shop. I wanted to buy so many things, but only left with a card featuring the 125th Anniversary print of a black cat amongst green foliage. I wanted to buy and frame the poster, which my friend has done and it looks fabulous in her home, but I sent the card version I bought of it to my grandma whose a fellow plant enthusiast. The shop also has a small selection of outdoor plants, but it's primarily a garden themed gift shop.
As a house warming gift, a friend of mine gave me a copy of This is Oakland, a photographic guide to the best shops and restaurants in the area. Crimson Horticultural Rarities jumped out of the pages at me. I've yet to visit this shop, but have studied it in the pages of the book and have drooled over the pictures on their website. I can't wait to discover all of the plants in this shop and take one home with me.
- Flora Grubb
This shop has it all and if you can't find what you're looking for, you can create it at the potting bench—a do it yourself potting station inside the nursery. I can imagine myself spending the entire day looking at plants, picking out my favorites, and then trying to find the best flower pot for each. Like Flowerland, this nursery also has a cafe inside.