While the rows of vining pothos and blooming bougainvillea at Williams Magical Garden Center & Landscape recall the tucked-away gardens of fairy tales, this nursery is certainly no secret. The powder-blue metal building is easily spotted on Pine Ridge Road, between Taylor Road and Shirley Street, on the outskirts of Naples Art District. Still, when you pop inside, you’re pleasantly surprised by the chic, design-forward oasis that lies within. Roped pendant lights suspend delicately from the towering exposed ceiling and cast a warm glow on the open-air showroom, stocked with Pinterest-worthy arrangements, cuttings dangling from macrame planters, stacks of clay pots, and an assortment of natural coral and shells in baskets. An open door, tucked in a corner near a wall of garden accessories, beckons to the verdant nursery beyond.
“When people come in, it’s kind of like a sacred place,” pot designer Yeroline Salazar says. The current owner, Cheryl Stanley, hired her as a cashier two years ago, when Yeroline was 16. The young plant lover quickly attached herself to Williams Magical’s lead landscape designer, Greg Raglin. Yeroline now works with Greg to bring clients’ visions to reality, whether hunting for a rare alocasia for their collection, creating a custom planter arrangement to gift to a loved one or designing a backyard oasis. “We’re not your typical nursery,” Yeroline says.
Where buying a plant from a big-box store like Home Depot feels like a rescue mission, picking a potted friend from Williams Magical is akin to taking home a prize. They specialize in rare species, like the monstera Thai constellation, with its tie-dye-looking leaves. And everything on the property is shoppable, whether it’s a purple-striped penwiper succulent on a shelf, a heart-shaped philodendron hanging under the gazebo or a mature fiddle leaf fig anchoring a display of bromeliads. The space is subtly divided into sections based on the plant’s light requirements and rarity. The sun-loving varieties surround the uncovered perimeter, the so-called ‘vampires’ are tucked under shaded awnings and the Goldilocks types settle nicely under a tinted screen enclosure. Collectors’ plants pepper the grounds, too.
Respected landscapers Thomas and Mary Williams (Thomas grew the famous bonsai at Disney’s Epcot) originally opened the Pine Ridge location in 2004 after operating landscaping services under the moniker for more than 40 years throughout Collier and Lee counties. Three years ago, Cheryl bought the space, keeping the same Magical name and amping up the atmosphere with chic decor and a relaxing, walkable layout built to inspire. Today, Yeroline and Greg frequently shop wholesalers for ‘mother’ plants to propagate in the greenhouse behind the garden center. Once the ‘babies’ sprout roots, they’re artfully displayed throughout the garden center or in one of Yeroline’s signature “quirky” potted arrangements, often featuring asymmetrical leaves or bold blooms. Yeroline’s current obsession: Scindapsus. The spotted vining plant is commonly known as a satin pothos or silver pothos, though it’s an entirely different species than the low-light-loving houseplant you can find in grocery stores. “They’re funky looking—they have weird textures and shapes,” she muses.
Yeroline says most regulars stop in for rare finds, such as the spotted calatheas that rest under the shaded collectors’ area or the ruffled-edge bromeliads reaching for the sunshine behind the screen enclosure. Others come to clear their mind with a walk through the garden. We go for the enchanting feeling we get basking in the middle of it all.