Come for the ferns, stay for the cheese boards. Dig Gardens is a little slice of paradise that will have gardening geeks leaving their worries and wallet at the door. Whether they get lost in the outdoor succulent paradise, or don’t even make it past the Paddywax scented candles and bath salts, Dig has something for everyone.
Founded by Cara and Will Meyers in 2009, Dig Gardens opened at the beginning of the succulent craze and around the same time as the recession. In the midst of water scarcity, Californians everywhere were fervently searching for drought tolerant plants and succulents that would neither sacrifice the beauty and diversity of their garden nor break the bank. Cara Meyers says that while it wasn’t easy getting the shop off the ground at first, the local demand and support for succulents and houseplants has allowed Dig to bloom.
The Meyers were no stranger to the gardening business, having met through their shared love of horticulture and having also co-founded Hidden Gardens in Aptos four years earlier. They wanted to start something unique in Santa Cruz, which Cara Meyers remembers as lacking a centralized spot specializing in low maintenance, drought tolerant plants and expert care advice.
“Our vision when we opened Dig wasn’t just for us to be a traditional garden store, it was more to bring customers a garden experience,” Meyers says. “We wanted customers to learn to make things that they see in magazines, whether it’s succulent wreaths or garden walls.”
Now, the 4,000-square-foot indoor space is home to an indoor urban jungle of every house plant imaginable, and just outside the sliding doors is a cactus and succulent oasis. Each week, Dig staff handpick their plants from all over the county and Bay Area to insure a diverse selection for customers. They focus on Australian and South African plants, as well as rare orchids—none of which are particularly easy to find.
“The idea is that you will go to Dig and you know you will find the plant that you have never seen,” Meyers says.
Aside from the lush eye-catching plants lining the store, there is outdoor furniture, pillows, jewelry, kitchenware and more candles than anyone can count. Meyers explains that gifts and home decor weren’t always part of the plan—the shop evolved into them.
“I’ve always been a decorator and interior design lover, along with gardening,” says Meyers, “so putting both together has been a perfect relationship for business.”
Meyers is the first to admit that gardening can be tedious and inaccessible for many people. She has three kids, and between soccer or baseball games and working full time in the nursery, she says that she doesn’t always want to do more gardening and plant maintenance on the weekends.
“People want beautiful things around them, but they don’t necessarily have time to care for them and maintain them,” Meyers says. “Everyone works really hard to live here in this area, and the last thing they want to do is come home and prune the roses.”
With this in mind, Meyers is looking to expand the Dig influence across the county. Though the idea is still in its preliminary stages, she says they are looking at opportunities in Aptos and Watsonville for another location. Meanwhile, her favorite trend right now is vertical gardening.
“Vertical gardening has been mostly outside for a while, but I think growing more inside house plants is such a huge part of the nursery business right now. That’s something that we are going to see more and more of, for sure.”