130 WEST CALIFORNIA STREET
Shoppers stepping into Blue Door Garden Store feel they’ve found an enchanted place filled with wondrous miniature gardens, with a populous of whimsical gnomes, fairies, elves, and Zen figurines. Conversations in the store are punctuated by the melodic knell of myriad wind chimes—and the thump-thump-thump of shop dog Myah’s wagging tail.
“Sometimes it doesn’t quite seem real,” admits Blue Door owner Cindi Hickey as she strokes the appreciative Labrador retriever’s head. “Coming to work here every day is so much fun! I think, ‘Did I really create this space?’ And I love customers’ initial reactions. They look around, take it all in…and then they just sigh.’”
The sighs are understandable. The shop offers a cornucopia of unique garden decor: hand-blown glass hummingbird feeders; exotic air plants with roots that never touch soil; soaps and candles with fragrances rooted in nature. Shoppers meet birds and bugs crafted from brightly colored powder-coated steel, carefully shaped with wings that will catch a passing breeze to flutter in their gardens. Collections of kinetic art—botanic sculptures, and metallic flower petals with rings that spin in the wind—provide customers an opportunity to turn their outdoor spaces into colorful galleries.
Cindi acquired the Blue Door in 2014. At the time, the shop was located in a building around the corner; not long after, she moved to 130 West California Street, on Jacksonville’s main thoroughfare. It’s there that she added her own artistic touch, and it’s clear that she loves every item she’s picked for the store. She’s on a first name basis with each item, particularly the air plants. “Lots of people come in and ask for air plants,” she says, “so I keep a selection of different varieties in stock. These little fuzzy ones—called Techtorum—remind me of those tribbles from Star Trek.” Each group of tiny plants is labeled: Juncea, Stricta, or Funkiana, a feathery wonder that resembles a caterpillar.
Air plants claim their spot as Cindi’s most popular item, possibly because they require so little care. For plants that do need care, Cindi has a selection of “plant nannies” that you can stick in the ground near thirsty greenery. The plant nannies water your flowering friends—even if you forget to.
And if you forget your hat when you come shopping on a sunny day, never fear. The Blue Door has them, too, from the Talent, Oregon-based company Sunday Afternoons Hats.
A bit of everything an indoor or outdoor gardener may desire awaits at the Blue Door, from washable doormats, solar lights, or hot and cold drink holders, to garden tools, table fountains. . .
…and tail-thumping Myah. Although, of course, she’s not for sale.