Summer Winds, a local nursery in the Almaden area of San Jose, burned to the ground late last night. I’m stunned. The cause is under investigation, but they think it was an accident. Summer Winds, formerly Woolworth Garden Center, has been there for 40 years.
Nurseries, I fear, are a dying breed. Many of the big box stores have garden centers, but it’s not the same as a nursery dedicated to all things plants. The Summer Winds gift shop was also a lot of fun. I especially enjoyed browsing there around the holidays. The nursery sold a wide selection of decorative pots, along with annuals, vegetables and garden fountains. In May of this year, I was shopping at Summer Winds when a hummingbird darted into the store. Oblivious to me and a handful of employees, she landed on a decorative arbor. She was busy building a nest right in the middle of the store! I couldn’t get my camera phone out fast enough to capture her flight, but I did take a picture of the nest.
Summer is at an end, so I’m taking comfort in the fact that the nest would be empty by now. She may have reconsidered the location in the first place. With all that activity she probably decided to nest elsewhere.
The after-hours fire started around midnight with no reported injuries. Although the fire department was quickly on the scene, they took the unusual step of letting the fire burn itself out. Knowing the store was full of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, they wanted to avoid ground water contamination of nearby Guadalupe River.
It’s a sad day for gardeners in the Valley. I hope they rebuild.
Details of the fire in the Mercury News.