Flora Grubb's mother is a psychic and palm reader who could have foretold her future, but, given her daughter's name, anyone could've guessed she would head into the garden business.
Grubb's eponymous nursery and design atelier opens its doors today at 1634 Jerrold Ave. in San Francisco's Bayview, a mostly treeless, neglected neighborhood that is witnessing a renaissance of businesses. Her nursery is noteworthy because it breaks away from traditional nursery models. Grubb's audacious enterprise brings wholesale and retail plant and furniture sales as well as a sophisticated garden design studio and garden consultancy business under one roof.
"I am a self-taught gardener," Grubb said. "I never went to school for it, but I started gardening as a kid."
Well, not quite self-taught. This ebullient 33-year-old is from a family of English-style gardeners "who had huge magnificent gardens in Pennsylvania," she recalls. They were even a little eccentric and one uncle grew cacti there. "My father (a builder and a hippie) would buy me a six-pack of plants,'' she said, and as a teenager whose early gardening sessions had clearly become addictive, she found herself filching samples from public gardens in downtown Austin, Texas...