“It began with a vision,” Caroline Ervin, the owner of the new garden shop on 3214 O St. NW told the Georgetowner. “A real vision actually, not a virtual one. My family was in Paris last year on a long-delayed dream trip after the distractions of Covid and all, exploring little shops, cafes and restaurants, charming boutique hotels and apartments in the neighborhood of our hotel. And then we saw it! The perfect little garden shop filled with beautiful garden accessories, furnishings, décor items and planting aides perfect for the urban gardener with a tiny courtyard, front entrance or balcony to fill or a large backyard garden.”
“I had been a professional garden designer for over 15 years in the Georgetown-Palisades area and helped to plan over 250 garden and garden-site events. I knew instantly that this concept was a fit for Georgetown,” Ervin said.
“That’s what I would love to do,” she told her family. “I’d love to have a shop like that in Georgetown.” And they all said, “Let’s do it!”
When things are meant to be, things fall in place, Ervin added.
After dreaming and thinking and writing down ideas and researching marketing and drawing up various business plans, shop layouts and possible merchandise lists, she and her husband started looking for a possible site.
Suddenly, they found the perfect shop on O Street — less than half a block from Wisconsin Avenue along the historic brick sidewalks and a street with 1890s-era granite paving stones and streetcar rails.
It is a freestanding two-story building with lots of windows, a push out front bay entrance in a small charming (and rare) front garden with a low decorative fence. Not for nothing was it briefly part of a scene in the film, “Wonder Woman 1984.”
Now, it is the Georgetown Garden Shop. Daughter Elizabeth agreed to help with retail, and they hired Kevin Otto to be the shop manager.
“As well as selling top quality garden accessories, furniture and decorative items, we also are planning many events to take place here,” Ervin said.
Part of the Oct. 26 New to the Neighborhood Small Business Block Party on O Street, put on the Citizens Association of Georgetown and Georgetown Main Street, Ervin’s shop was joined by Manse and Arcay Chocolates.
“We expect to participate in many Georgetown Main Street events. There will be family activities in conjunction with fall festivals and garland and wreath making and floral arranging workshops in November and December,” Ervin said.
“We are not a nursery or plant retailer, however,” she noted. “We won’t sell plants, flowers, or vegetables except for the occasional seasonal decorative bouquets. But after over 25 years in the same house in the Palisades — her children attended Trinity, Visitation and Gonzaga schools — Erwin knows the area and the demography and their varied garden needs intimately. That also means being very aware of the changing climate and planting seasons in this area and how to adapt to them.
“We have to always keep in mind that gardens are temporal. They change constantly. They are always a work in progress,” Ervin said. “Sometimes, when a garden idea doesn’t work out, just having the uncultivated space can be a relaxing and de-stressing.”
Erwin is already known as a local fountain of information about garden details from water elements to mosquitos (not unrelated, by the way) and natural ways to address them in this area. Much of her professional design business was generated by word-of-mouth, local references and enthusiasm, she said. That is also what she thinks will be the basis of the success of the Georgetown Garden Shop.