Alta Tingle opened The Gardener in 1984 in a small storefront in Berkeley, California. In 1987, The Gardener moved across the street to its present location, into a space more than triple the size of the original store. A second store opened in Healdsburg, California, in 1998, in a barn surrounded by a large garden. A third store opened in San Francisco in 2003, in the newly-renovated Ferry Building.
Alta, a former garden designer and lecturer on landscape design, is an avid gardener and photographer. The Gardener is a collection of all the things that Alta, through her talents and interests, has learned to enjoy and appreciate in her life—a great pair of Japanese scissors for cutting flowers, the purest bar of lavender soap, a big ceramic bowl for the kitchen to hold the season’s offerings—things that before had required trips to nurseries, hardware and specialty stores. When The Gardener first opened, there had never been a collection that recognized that even the most avid gardener lives indoors.