|The Secret Garden's Information|
|Type: New Age shop and cafe|
|Rating: 3 Stars|
|Location: 733 Ashland Avenue|
Opened in November 2000 by Hope. Bought in early 2011 by Melyssa.
With a tinkling of a bell, you enter the main room of this shop. Various wooden shelves and bins are filled with glass jars, bags, or carefully tied bunches of dried herbs and spices. Against the back wall, a marble counter stretches out with a register at one end where a customer can make their purchase. Upon the shelves behind the counter are several glass jars of incense and scented lotions and soaps, along with various bottles holding essence oils to make your own perfumes or colognes with a clerk's assistance. Warm wooden floors, the beat of new age music, and a myriad of aromas combine to create an inviting environment in this herb and plant shop.
There are three other exits from this room, the glass door to the left leads into the sunroom where one can go to search for live herbs and plants, while an arch to the right goes into the small cafe where one can try the wonderful homemade teas that are offered for sale within the shop. Another door sits a little behind the counter, and is marked 'Private'.
Wooden floors continue into the cafe, and it is here, one finds a quiet haven from the bustle of the world. Tables are scattered around the room, interspersed with comfortable overstuffed armchairs or couches around low tables where newspapers, books, games, and fliers can be found. Plants, too, are scattered around, some creating areas of semi-privacy around tables or chairs.
Across the back lies the marble-topped counter, a register at one end. It holds a bakery case that offers pastries, cookies, and other homemade candies. Besides that, it holds a bank of commercial-sized, gleaming coffee and espresso makers, along with a shelving unit of tea tins. Upon the wall behind the counter, there is a billboard that lists prices, along with the daily specials of tea, coffee, and homemade soups.
Heat and humidity rises within the glass walls of this sunroom, making it the perfect place for growing the wide variety of plants, shrubs, and herbs the Secret Garden has to offer. A high counter runs around most of this room, along with several tables in the middle of the floors, every inch covered with pots of all sizes - healthy plants thriving within the sunroom, and under excellent care. To the back, there is a section of clear counter with large deep sink that can be used to repot plants, where empty pots and bags of rich potting soil are stacked beneath, awaiting the need. Nearby are a few shelves of specialty pots - colorful ceramic and plastic pots that one can buy to dress up the plain black pots the plants come in.