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jobs before this and decided that we liked the agricultural community and stuck around,” Barncord said. In 2002, Debbie and Erin opened Grass Farm Garden Accents after William Gil and Erin visited a nursery in Arizona that had demonstration gardens. William Gil retired in 2007, but still comes in every day. The nearly five-acre property nestled off Highway 101 on Lena Avenue depicts different gardens, allowing visitors to envision what they could create in their own back yards. The gardens, including French, English and Asian, contain plant material, fountains, and statues reminiscent of those various styles. A western garden and a section con- taining unusual varieties of succulents have been added, along with more perennials and fruit trees. All the plant material—including fifty varieties of trees and hundreds of perennials— comes from local growers. “We’re lucky to be near Salinas and Watsonville,” Barncord said. “Plants grow well in our climate zone and it helps our customers as well.” She said they are the only business in California that she’s aware of that offers demonstration gardens. “The bulk of our customers come from San Francisco to San Luis Obispo on a regular basis, but we also meet people from as far away as Oklahoma to North Dakota. We try to be a destination garden site.” A metal building houses the gift shop, which contains everything a gardener might need and more, from bird feeders and gloves to wind chimes, wall art, fur- niture, and home and garden décor. “Most of the inventory is made in the USA,” Barncord said. The company’s website and social media on Facebook and Instagram help keep new and regular patrons in the loop about new inventory and upcoming events. Garden designers also bring their clients in to view up close and touch plant life and garden accessories. Currently, several areas of the property are getting a new look. Shrubs are being removed in the Mediterranean garden to make way for new plants and trellises and a new counter is being added to the gift shop. “We have a lot of people who have been coming in for years and we try to GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN switch it up and show them something new and give them some new ideas,” Barncord said. Garden Accents employs twenty-two people, some of whom are seasonal workers. The average employee stays for thirteen years while others have been there for thirty years. “Business last year increased by twenty percent,” Barncord said, crediting the influx of people moving to the area. “A lot of people come in to shop in the gift shop mostly. They’ll start with a succulent and a pot and come back for a trellis or bench,” she said. Throughout the year, Garden Accents offers seasonal events featuring food and music, as well as gardening classes. They also provide delivery service, fountain installation, and custom container planting. Garden Accents • 11155 Lena Avenue, Gilroy Grass Farm • 602 Palm Ave. in Morgan Hill www.grassfarm.com or call (408) 846-4555 april/may 2019 gmhtoday.com 57