Gig Harbor-based gardener Sue Goetz sets up shop in Tacoma's Dome district
Sue Goetz has come to T-town, and brought all her garden creativity with her. The Gig Harbor-based garden expert, who owns the design company The Creative Gardener, has set up shop in Tacoma’s Dome district, creating a green oasis where urban gardeners can buy unique plants, lavender, books and more. Appropriately enough, it’s called The Urban Garden Company, and it makes a convenient place to delve into Goetz’ deep knowledge of what plant goes where.
“I work out of home, but I needed to get that (design business) out of my house – I’m downsizing,” says Goetz. “This space was so fun and retail was the next step.”
For years now Goetz has run a garden design consultancy, and would often have clients ask where she sourced the unusual plants or seeds she recommended for their gardens. Now there’s a brick-and-mortar place to both see and buy the plants – such as specialty basils or high-perfume lavenders – along with Goetz’ own lavender products, exquisite little terrariums and other home décor items.
Flooded with light and warmth and scented with herbs, the new store is part of the long stretch of renovated historic buildings between C and D Streets on Puyallup Avenue, just down the hill from the Tacoma Dome. The landlord’s colorful plantings on the outside echo the greenness inside, and Goetz has made good use of the large, brick-walled space to stock another of her obsessions – gardening books and magazines.
“My secret obsession is buying and selling vintage garden books,” says Goetz. “That’s how it all evolved.”
The space has another unusual installment for a garden shop: comfy sofas and a table-and-chairs corner. For customers who liked Goetz’ former News Tribune feature “Fix My Yard,” where frustrated gardeners sent in a photo of their yard for Goetz to make over with a penciled-in design, this is the place to go.
“People can bring in photos and get advice without signing up for the whole designer thing, just one hour of time,” says Goetz, who also intends to hold classes in the store’s back space beginning in May and serve as a meeting place for gardening clubs and parties.
While the Dome district might not immediately spring to mind as a prime retail location, Goetz is confident about the store’s placement.
“Tacoma Bike (next door) is a very busy place, and while the guys take in their bikes the ladies come in here,” she explains. “I get people walking down from the Museum of Glass, and there’s walk-by traffic on ArtWalk nights. It’s surprising.”
Goetz is also connecting with the Tacoma artist community by stocking local work, such as Jennifer Chushcoff’s framed ivory encaustics with embedded stems and flowers.
“I want to offer a sense of community here, and ways to be creative in the garden,” she says.
Rosemary Ponnekanti: 253-597-8568 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/arts