Lately, I've become an avid container gardener. I'm blessed with a pretty good sized patio, by SF standards, and spent the summer exploring local nurseries and cute plant shops around The City. I'm by no means an expert gardener, but I did grow up in the country, if that gets me any brownie points.
When I go to pick up a new plant or two, I don't want the average big box experience. Luckily, San Francisco offers a great assortment of local, inspirational nurseries. Each offers a respite form the hustle of The City, and each is a bit different. The prices tend to be a bit higher that they would be a Lowe's or HomeDepot, but the service is friendly, and the plants are perfect for SF's diverse climate.
Located in SF's sunny Bayview neighborhood, this garden store isn't like anything else. They encourage people the wander the grounds, have a cup of Ritual Coffee from their on-site espresso bar, and take it all in. They offer tons of drought tolerant and California native plants, colorful succulents, and beautiful containers and pots. The friendly staff is happy to help you find the perfect plant or plants for your space. I especially like their selection of herbs.
Tucked away in the Richmond, Clement Nursery is compact, but makes you forget you're in The City. The staff is super friendly, and offer excellent suggestions and advice. I've purchased quite a few plants here, and even bought two hydrangeas a few months ago that have since doubled in size! I was told that this nursery was the inspiration for the nursery that Michael Mouse works at in Tales of the City, which is one of my all-time favorite books. Every time I visit, I leave with a bunch of new planty friends and my creative juices flowing.
With three locations in SF, Sloat Garden Center is the largest nurseries of the bunch. They really do have a little bit of everything. Because they've got more than one location, getting to one is really easy. I like their small location off Chestnut in the Marina. The location may be their smallest, but the cute factor is super high. I've found that they have a good selection of shade or part sun plants, which is perfect for my little deck.
Located on Bayshore Blvd., right off the 101, Flowercraft Garden Center is sunny and colorful. They have a huge selection of small citrus trees that I have my eye on for next year. They also offer a wide array of annuals and perennials. Parking is pretty easy, and the property is full of secluded areas with interesting plants.
5. OSH : Orchard Supply & Home
Normally I try to stay away from large retailers, but a new OSH just opened up on Bay Street , down the street from my apartment. I've been twice, and they have a really big array of general hardware store supplies. I picked up a really yummy smelling Curry plant, and a small String of Pearls succulent. I signed up for their email newsletter, and get sent coupons pretty frequently. The coupons are great because even if you don't need something, finding something to want isn't hard. They even have cleaning supplies, which I'll always stock up on.