Bug,  heavy on photos,  out out out of the house!,  Secret Spy Stuff,  urban life

Secret Garden Adventureland

this way that way radio flyers everywhere

The other day I was looking for a garden shop to visit. Something to inspire me to get started on making Bug’s birthday party invitations. For those not in the loop: Bug’s requested a “seed” party. It’s a bit odd but I like a challenge. I think I’m going to spin it in a garden direction.

I didn’t know where a local garden store was so I asked Twitter. Twitter is so wonderful. Within minutes I had two locations to visit. One of them was City Farmer’s Nursery. While it wasn’t all that helpful with my birthday party inspiration, it was a super fantastic adventure. This place is huge! And it’s right in the middle of the city! Talk about a secret find!

steep grade hill making friends

There are twisty paths everywhere and something new to discover at every turn. Everything is delightfully overgrown and decidedly unorthodox. One of their claims is that they carry the plants that big-box garden stores won’t. I believe it. I didn’t get to meet the owner but I hear from the employees that he’s quite a character. If I lived closer I could easily be inspired to buy something new and different to grow.

naughty orange snatcher fake crow

As you can see Bug had a great time. There were new friends to meet and a playground to play on. We could have stayed all day. Bug wanted to. She turned me into a regular nag trying to get her to go to the store so I could buy a seed packet to base my birthday-invitation design on. If I was more familiar with the place I would have just let her run wild but there were ponds to fall into and mud to be played in so I kept her close by me.

friendly garden cat garden cat

Cats, chickens, turkeys, turtles, fish, worms, twisting turning paths, a playground and a hundred places to hide…it’s a kids’ paradise!

talapia up


And lots of plants too, of course.

poorman's orchid succulents

coffee at Nate's Diner us

After all that adventuring, I needed a cup of coffee. Guess what?! There’s a cafe next door. How cool is that? It’s a bit of a dive but I love dives! Coffee-shop coffee might not taste gourmet but it packs a nice caffeine punch. And get this: their credit-card machine was down and I didn’t have a lot of cash so I just ordered a cup of coffee for me and some bacon for Bug. Next thing I knew, the cook came over and gave Bug a little bowl of banana slices that he said he found in the kitchen. Five minutes after that he “found” an extra pancake with butter and syrup and gave that to Bug too. It was the sweetest thing. I’m glad I did have enough cash to give him a big tip.

Not bad for a day’s adventure. Thanks for the lead Urban Housewife!


  • Melissa

    Only in CA can one find a garden shop as cool as that! I need to get out of the Midwest. Good Luck with the invites, they’ll be awesome just like everything else you make!

  • the chatty housewife

    What a sweet way to end a day. I’ve been hearing a few similar stories this holiday season. Friends of ours were sitting in a KFC with their three boys under three. They were eating dinner and a man that the boys had been smiling at earlier came over, tucked a $20 bill under the baby’s blanket and said “buy something for the kids” and walked away. I love non-greediness. I know that’s not a word, but I love it.

  • gingermog

    Hi SAJ, What a kind chef :) I agree this place does look amazing in a-higgildy-piggidly- you-never-know-what’s-around-the-corner-way. Much nicer than a formal, posh garden center. I’d like to spend a few hours wandering around there, but I live a gazillion miles away. I love secret gardens tucked away inside cities. We have one nearby with bee hives. I love to see the fat bumble bees buzzing around the honey suckle getting drunk on the nectar. Summer seems a long way away right now but I’m getting my fix of sunshine through you.

    Have a great day xxx

  • Ruth

    Okay, so I’ve never been to California, but let me just say that I am supremely jealous of your weather! I can’t imagine wearing capris or tank tops right now–In Connecticut, it’s 17 degrees today . . .

  • Sonja

    Oh, and 3) We just went to buy some fruit trees and our garden center had chickens running all over the place, much to Noah’s delight. They also raise goats and bunnies. It was lovely.

  • OMSH

    Oooh, I wanna go! That sounds wonderful. Wished we lived closer so I could be at Bug’s party; I know it is going to be wonderfully creative and fun!