Picture a seamless blend of sustainable form and function, a botanical nirvana combined with the pragmatic functionality of do-it-yourself workshops, transformed into a place to shop, learn and enjoy.  By combining an imaginative, fresh aesthetic with hands-on classes, Dig Gardens offers the best of green design and sustainable living solutions.

Dig GardensThe space itself is pretty magical, shaped by Cara and Will Meyer’s creative vision, lending a special touch to the events and classes held there.  From fruit drying workshops (mine included a scrumptious variety of tasty sample snacks), to the fabulous Lightfoot Industries Saturday supper clubs, compelling events sprout as prolifically here as the freshly propagated plants.

Founders of Hidden Garden Nursery in Aptos, Cara and Will were well acquainted with horticultural entrepreneurship before this latest endeavor.  Four years into Hidden Gardens they were ready to branch out, so in the fall of 2009 Dig Gardens took root.  The Santa Cruz space is more open and accessible, offering an opportunity to incorporate a community education component, a core part of the Dig vision.

More than just plants, Dig’s unique botanical designs have received national recognition, featured in Sunset Magazine, and most recently in this month’s issue of Better Homes and Gardens.  Since Cara does home interior design consulting as well, I’m relieved to have gotten on her calendar before BHG found her, since this busy mom of two is fast becoming a hot commodity.  I had a hard time catching up with her as you can imagine, but finally pinned her down to learn more about her grass roots vision for Dig.

EB:  How do you see Dig connecting with the Santa Cruz community?

CM:  Through teaching do-it-yourself classes, like how-to gardening, home decorating, urban homesteading.  Knowing how to do it yourself gives you more options.  We’re offering a free Urban Homestead Design Lab, with Bay area author Rachel Kaplan in September.  It’s all about how to take your space and get the most out of it.

Another focus is the opportunity to open people up to different ways to use plants, both aesthetically and conservation-wise (low water).  We have a lot of outdoor plants besides the succulents, like our collection of exotic natives, which we teach people how to grow and take care of.  We like to highlight gardens that are both contemporary and gorgeous without all the water requirements.

EB:  Who inspires you?

CM:  Robin Stockwell from Succulent Gardens in Castroville has been a mentor to me.  He’s a master of succulents and nurseries and has been in the business for a really long time.   He’s so inspiring, I’ve learned a lot from him.

EB:  You have such a natural eye for design, I can tell that’s a passion.  Any others?

CM:   I love making terrariums with natural elements – combining plants and succulents in an unexpected mix.  It’s like a mini garden that you can have anywhere.

EB:  What’s in store for Dig going forward?

CM:  The big news is the prospect of hosting a café open in half of our store, with healthy sandwiches, soups and teas.  It will be perfect for lunch, browsing through some of our books, or just relaxing.  Our Lightfoot Supper club will be starting again in September, and our annual Holiday Wreath-making class on September 17th is an annual favorite.  Plus we’ll be setting the date for one of my favorite events, our Holiday Open House with food, wine and music.  10% of proceeds from that event will be donated to local charities.

Learn more:  http://diggardensnursery.com