California’s Central Coast towns are home to a nice mix of kitchy tourist shops and upscale local art and craft galleries. Mixed in you will find a wonderful variety of dining experiences along with all the charm of any town from whose streets water is visible. Morro Bay is no exception–and it is home to a lovely garden shop that has as much appeal for those who do not dig in the dirt as those of us who do.
The Garden Gallery is located on the Embarcadero just across the street from the water in Morro Bay. Even though the wood and glass indoor/outdoor shopping experience is by no means a full service garden center it is a must see destination for me every time I am anywhere close to this stretch of Highway 1. The highly creative staff combines plant materials in interesting ways and containers and I admire the care that is put into the ever changing displays.
The magic starts immediately at the unique front gate. This stunning living screen is a 44 year old Melaleuca nesophila, commonly called pink melaleuca. This coast friendly tree or large shrub is impervious to beach winds and salt spray and is drought tolerant to boot. This one is an ongoing bonsai project and, having just been clipped in the last few days, has very little visible green–making the gnarled trunk structure even more prominent.
It is a very overcast morning and the grays of the buildings’ wood cladding, the sky and the tree all seem to meld together.
Take a closer look at the patinated detail on the gate…I want this gate hanging man so badly!
The shop is compact but spread over several buildings and several levels around an open courtyard–lots of steps to take care with–and has a bench or two on the wooden landings for shoppers to take a breather or just plop down and take it all in. More than once I have found the bench next to the sculpture below occupied by someone reading the daily paper or a book. The fog has burned off enough to catch a peek of blue sky!
This piece of art is called Leap Frog and can be yours for $8,500. I’ll take two.
The majority of plants are succulents and bromeliads. At every turn another vignette offers ideas for potting and displaying these very coast friendly specimens. The tree like green shrubs are mature Hollywood junipers.
The Gallery offers many ideas making use of wall space to move the green up from the ground with wall mounted pots, boxes and metal baskets.
Check out these great hanging metal fish–available in several sizes and finishes.
These great Mother Nature faces also caught my eye.
It was all I could do not to come home with this spectacular birdhouse!
The weather protected surrounding small sales areas have a eclectic mix of high quality decorative home items. The overall vibe of the goods the Garden Gallery features is that of elevated natural materials–definitely a Sunset magazine aesthetic. The seasonal tablescapes and displays are always beautifully done.
One of several shapes of turned wooden vases and lamp bases
Shallow woven baskets as wall art
Great large mirror framed with wooden shoe molds
Fall and Thanksgiving accents
My quilting friendship group has decided we are good enough with our hands to carve these primitive birds. We are going home to find our husbands’ old boy scout knives and you may see us in your yards picking up nice fat sticks!
The Garden Gallery is an inspirational place to browse whether you are looking for a special plant, a unique display idea or nature inspired art. Don’t miss it! Still to come–The Garden Shed and Cambria Nursery & Florist in Cambria.