Flora Grubb specializes in plants that need very little water to flourish. With a focus on design, she attracts home gardeners and landscape designers to the 8,000-square-foot nursery and shop that make up Flora Grubb Gardens in the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco.
Grubb, who moved to San Francisco from Texas, started a landscaping company more than a decade ago, and eventually she and Saul Nadler opened a Mission District nursery that featured plants geared toward the Mediterranean climate of California. They moved in 2007 to their current location, with its spacious, industrial-style building and indoor-outdoor design by architects Seth Boor and Bonnie Bridges.
Meandering along its gravel pathways feels like going on a mini adventure. Some lead to the pink-tinged leaves of the Echeveria colorata; other paths reveal the shell of an old car brimming with plant life or tucked-away spots with palm trees, boxwood and bamboo.
In front of the retail shop, playful displays include a weathered wooden door embellished with a succulent wreath, a vertical garden made with individual letters of the alphabet spelling out the name Flora, and a bicycle accented with tillandsias dangling above it. Inside, more tillandsias tumble over three-tiered containers, amid cactuses nestled in cobalt blue ceramic pots, woven baskets, gardening books, and bistro tables and chairs painted turquoise, lime and tangerine.
Ritual Coffee Roasters operates a small coffee bar in one corner of the store, allowing visitors to enjoy a cup of its delicious, artisanal coffee and a pastry while sitting in the outdoor patio out back beneath a sublime vertical succulent garden. Ritual sources its own coffee beans through travels to Africa, Central America and South America, building partnerships with growers on their farms. Roasting in small batches, it creates a Sweet Tooth single-origin espresso and its filter coffees every month along with a new espresso blend each season.
At the Potting Bench, the nursery provides tools and assistance to help beginning and experienced garden enthusiasts make their own petite succulent gardens in whimsically shaped pots. It also hosts events including the “Make and Give Workshop,” by landscape designer Patrick Lannan, scheduled for 1 p.m. Dec. 19-20.