Iris Watson and her husband, John, inhabit the perfect world. She is responsible for all that resides below and upon the ground, while he attends to the needs of those of us who seek a higher ground. Her domain includes the expansive nursery called Thomsen's Garden Center that surrounds the old Victorian they've turned into a business on Lincoln in Alameda. His domain is coffees, teas, and pastries upstairs in the Vine, a delightful cafe that also sells jewelry and an assortment of gifties. Sitting above it all out on one of the Vine's elevated decks, drinking a cappuccino while reading a Sunday paper and occasionally looking down upon the garden shoppers below, can be a sublime experience. And if you or your anxious partner needs to burn off a little tension with some quality retail therapy, you can certainly do far worse than acquiring a lovely selection of flowering or fruiting plants. Iris, who also moonlights as Alameda Magazine's garden columnist, is a fount of information on what plants are right for which season and what you need to do to make them grow.
Berkeley Horticultural Nursery
1310 McGee Ave., Berkeley, 510-526-4704