Return to the Professional Gardener Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Interest in garden artifact/plant/wildlife retail destination

Posted by mrscardinal 7 (My Page) on
Sat, May 20, 06 at 0:06

I have long been interested in a retail destination that would encompass many ideas regarding gardening and garden artifacts. My idea centers on a unique boutique shop where the public can browse unique & antique artifacts, local craftsmen items, and combine that with plant offerings, pots, bird & bee houses,water gardens, etc. The store would "hopefully" have some property that could be designed to have beautiful gardens that incorporate all the items from the store in the beds. I picture the location to be rustic but simple & modern with lots of focus on wildlife gardening/organic. I have tried to find information on the internet about this type of retail. It's hard to brand it and therefore search for it.
Would anyone out there know about this particular type of store and post or write to me at I am just turning it around in my head at this point, It's a dream, and a person's got to dream, right? Thanks, syb

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Interest in garden artifact/plant/wildlife retail destination


Have you been to the OFA Short Course in Columbus Ohio? It's the premier conference/trade show for the hortucultural industry, coming up in July. Go to for more information on classes you can attend (including classes in retail management), and plan on attending the trade show as well. There are tons of vendors there wholesaling the items you are talking about, and while I can't think of one offhand, there might be a vendor or two doing what you are thinking about.

If you can't get to this one, another great one is the Far West Show in Portland OR in August.

These are the two largest "all encompasing" shows in the US. There are several other smaller shows as well. Check the web.


RE: Interest in garden artifact/plant/wildlife retail destination

There is a garden/garden center in Frederick Maryland that sounds like what you are aspiring to. It is called Surreybrooke Gardens. It does have a greenhouse and sells lots of plants but many of them and all of the garden 'art' is placed throughout landscape settings and gardens. It is an interesting combination of garden/retail site.

Here is a link that might be useful: Surreybrooke Gardens

RE: Interest in garden artifact/plant/wildlife retail destination

Syb, The last time I was in Santa Barbara, I visited a garden shop that sounded much like what you described: "unique & antique artifacts, local craftsmen items, and combine that with plant offerings, pots, bird & bee houses, water gardens." Nice unusual specimen plants in unique pots outdoors, and lots of handmade and salvaged big garden furniture, fountains, and ornaments inside. It did not have a wildlife/organic focus or a big demo garden, though, or if it did I missed it. It's called Eye of Day, located next to a hotel in Carpinteria. I think the best part of it was the one-of-a-kind benches and other furniture created from interesting blocks of wood and stone -- very sculptural. But to have a store like that, you need enough customers that can afford it, so SB was a good location. Or you can host lots of workshops and get a lot of traffic and some income that way -- a reason for people to go out of their way to visit you, if you are out of the way, and as long as they are there they will browse and maybe buy.

Search terms that may help find more of these are "garden boutique" and "garden gallery." Here in the SF bay area, I don't know of anything similar, but we do have quite a few artists who incorporate their artwork into gardens, for example --
* Marcia Donohue in Berkeley
* a garden sculpture gallery
* an artifact/recycle warehouse focusing on garden art
-- and also some nurseries that have wonderful display gardens and events --
* Annie's Annuals
-- and there is a store called Wild Bird that focuses on attracting birds.
-- and at least one of the local landscape designers who focuses on native plants also puts artwork into the gardens that features native-plant themes (urns decorated with mosaics picturing wildflowers, benches made from massive manzanita trunks, fountains in the shape of acorns, etc): Middlebrook Gardens.
-- and some independent nurseries feature sculpture and hand-crafted items.

So maybe it would be useful for you to go through the process of writing a business plan, or at least the part that defines the competition and what you would offer that is unique or compelling.

(My fantasy business would feature a bookstore of used and new garden books, a compost demonstration area, a huge demonstration garden featuring natives, edibles, and herbs, and regular workshops in organic gardening, vegan cooking, botanical medicine, ecological design, and individual plants [would anyone else be interested in an hour seminar on kale?].)

RE: Interest in garden artifact/plant/wildlife retail destination

  • Posted by cady 6b/Sunset34 MA (My Page) on
    Tue, May 23, 06 at 11:09

I wonder what their biggest sellers are? What are they doing to bring in the volume of sales they need to survive? Usually, there is something that provides the main income - such as landscape installations, floral arrangemenet and delivery, or other "meat and potatoes" service - to support the slower-selling end of the business. Or, are they selling hundreds of annual bedding plants and other typical garden center fare to support the folksier side of the operation?

How many bird houses, craft work and antique potting benches would you have to have in your inventory, and how fast and at how much would you be able to sell them to make enough money? Are there enough affluent shoppers in your area to lure in to buy these things?

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Professional Gardener Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here