Skip to content

D. Lopez, This Week in the Garden

Ambience keeps us at a place of business longer. If you’ve ever noticed, popular haunts tend to look like an oasis or a swanky hub. Proof are the customer photos online. When we look for recommendations on yelp, those images are convincing. Continuing the conversation from the last publication, the vacation spirit is connected to the romantic notion of being in an exotic location. For some entrepreneurs, nature and plants are the secret ingredient at many business establishments. Merchants and organizations catch on.

The first time holding a meeting at 11th Hour Coffee, was a treat. Succulents embedded in lacquered wood tables, art and home décor items were carefully placed to charm the surroundings. It’s coffee and chai are great quality and the patio seating is enveloped in a mixed garden of tall tropical plants, to keep conversations feeling more intimate. Admiring the interior and exterior design, this was a great example of simple elegance. If you’ve never been, it’s worth a visit for food, drink an interior/exterior design at 1001 Center St., Santa Cruz.

A friend mentioned the Power Plant Coffee and Store in Moss Landing. A sunny uplifting coffee shop with “Coffee. Plants. Feet. Good vibes.” It’s plant-themed décor is a draw for any traveler passing through. Greenery seems to give the feel of hygiene. Or is it that plant people are more apt to be hygienic? Whatever the case, consider my commitment to a cardamom bun soon, but not to-go; hanging with a friend in this green place, is the plan. The outdoor seating is dog friendly.

Not far is the Haute Enchilada Café and Social Club, in Moss Landing. If you are an art or garden art lover, this is a colorful place to be. While the interior design vibes of Frida Kahlo, the exterior is a patio dining space filled with plants, artifacts, fountains and cultural icons. Sure, give me a flight of mezcal under a yellow umbrella in a pretty garden patio. If you’ve traveled to Mexico, you will be familiar with the look of these beautiful pots, statues and art.

Who’s in charge of the garden in front of Café Mare restaurant? Every year I covet the spectacular show of flowers that edge the picture windows facing downtown. Extra points for serving organic food. The beautiful show of flowers is an inviting feature for patrons considering a romantic dining experience. It’s as if the garden announces, “Beautiful moments and fresh food served here.”

It’s not just coffee shops and restaurants creating a veritable paradise for visitors. Bed and Biscuits, a dog daycare, has created an impressive garden structure. Upon entry, your furry family member is welcomed with a towering multi-tiered rock fountain with palms and flowers. The first time visiting, hummingbirds were swirling around the structure to advertise the beauty even further. Of course dogs would want an engaging environment. Whenever I drop off my daughter’s dog for the day, I always think “lucky dogs!” Kudos to the kind employees at Bed and Biscuits in Santa Cruz.

In TED’s “How to Be a Better Human” series, when engineer Mike Robinson’s wife, Suzanne, suggested each employee should have a plant on their desk, he learned something. After each employee chose their own plant. He calculated (no control groups) that there was 30% increased productivity and, surprisingly, no plant died after five years. The conclusion was that each personally chosen plant became a sort of friend. Employees became happy plant lovers over time. Already on board, with this philosophy, are the employees at CalNonprofits Insurance Services in Capitola; they even give their office plants human names. You rock!

There are many businesses taking up this plant decorating trend. Many more, that were not mentioned. Greening a space, whatever the intention, requires that one educates herself in caring for plants. Visually pleasing, emotionally calming, entrepreneurship that shows progressive attitudes about their environment is avant-garde. Visiting these shops and restaurants, feels like a home or travel experience.

Looking back to my childhood visits to businesses, it was considered modern to have an industrial feel to places of commerce. Plastic, aluminum, asbestos and vinyl prevailed and took us away from healthier interiors and exteriors. As trends change, what is chic today has shifted to organic textiles, wood, bamboo, plants, and optimized lighting. What good fortune if our children’s school teacher is a plant lover, they have the most interesting classrooms; a healthy environment for our children.

Perhaps in the near future, you will find the time to visit one of these local hotspots that make plant life a part of a nourishing experience. Please share. I, for one, am a big fan. Many thanks to the plant people!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.