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Alta Tingle opened The Gardener in 1984 in a small storefront in Berkeley. In 1987, The Gardener moved across the street to its present location, into a space more than triple the size of the original store. A second store opened in Healdsburg in 1998, in a barn surrounded by a large garden. A third store opened in San Francisco in 2003, in the Ferry Building.
Alta, a former garden designer and lecturer on landscape design, is an avid gardener and photographer. The Gardener is a collection of all the things that Alta, through her talents and interests, has learned to enjoy and appreciate in her life – a great pair of Japanese scissors for cutting flowers, the purest bar of lavender soap, a big ceramic bowl for the kitchen to hold the season’s offerings – things that before had required trips to nurseries, hardware and specialty stores. When The Gardener opened 23 years ago, there had never been a collection that recognized that even the most avid gardener lives indoors.