Owner shuttering Cedros Gardens after more than 20 years in Solana Beach

Located in the heart of the Cedros Design District, Cedros Gardens first planted its roots in Solana Beach more than two decades ago. With the ongoing drought, however, the local nursery is closing its doors.

“For the last seven years, it has been kind of difficult,” said owner Mia McCarville. “And then this drought. People are not planting as much, and I sell plants.”

McCarville was born and raised in Japan, where her parents shared a passion for plants. As a small child, she helped her mother in the vegetable garden and later learned about horticulture from her father, who studied agriculture in school.

“My parents were totally organic, not knowing the phrase ‘organic gardening,’” said McCarville, noting that both parents were teachers. “It was in me.”

After high school, she studied English literature and went on to teach at the American School in Japan, where she met her future husband and business partner, Michael, in the 1970s.

After a brief stint in Colorado, the couple moved to Encinitas in the 1980s. McCarville spent time selling real estate in the region, running a Japanese import store in La Jolla and owning a gift shop at Sunshine Gardens in Encinitas before she decided to establish her own nursery on Cedros Avenue in Solana Beach.

Cedros Gardens opened in 1992, before the street was busy and the closest business was half a block away.

“I just happened to see the ‘for rent’ sign in the front here,” McCarville recalled. “For the first few years, it was kind of a struggle to let people know I was here.”

As business started to blossom, McCarville took over adjacent lots when they became available, growing into the 1-acre property where Cedros Gardens sits.

Although she started by selling unique perennials, the pesticide-free nursery eventually offered different varieties of plants, trees and products. Some of the most popular items have been drought-tolerant plants and fruit trees.

“I enjoy talking with people about plants and solving their problems,” McCarville said. “When you are here for 23 years, you see customers bringing their kids, and now you see the kids as parents bringing in their kids. Time flew.”

Cedros Gardens was first hit hard with the recession. With the ongoing drought, the business has never been able to bounce back.

The shop will close at the end of September. Until then, everything is up to 50 percent off until inventory is sold out.

“I will miss being around plants and interacting with the customers,” McCarville said.

Now 60, she is looking forward to a short break. Still, her love of gardening will go on, with plans to work as a garden designer and landscape consultant.

“I’ve always thought gardening is better than psychotherapy,” said McCarville, who has her own garden at home.

“I really appreciate my customers for their support and patronage,” she added. “I’ll miss them all.”

For more about Cedros Gardens, call 858-792-8640 or visit