This Week: Guest Columnist Marla Marcianelli on Paxton Gate

Thanks to my friend Marla for contributing this post about Paxton Gate, one of the most interesting home and garden shops in San Francisco’s Mission District. Take it away Marla!

When I first visited Paxton Gate back in the late 90’s, it was a quirky shop mostly filled with plants and gardening supplies, but things have changed since owner Sean Quigley moved the store from Stevenson Street to its current location on white-hot Valencia Street. Mounted unicorn head, anyone? In addition to its eclectic line of retail products, Paxton Gate is one of the only places left in the Mission District where you can get good gardening supplies, and their designers create beautiful floral arrangements and landscapes. Go on any garden walk in San Francisco, and you’re bound to see one (often they are my favorites).
I love Paxton Gate, because it’s a little like visiting a small museum where you can fondle the fossils, browse through the skeletons and find pretty earrings around the corner.  And if you want to take that lion head home with you, it’s only $3500. However, when I walk through the doors I hardly notice the prolific taxidermy. Even though the walls are covered with butterflies and the tables are studded with stuffed cobras and armadillos, I make a beeline for the Bulbophyllum echinolabium (orchids).  With so many options, Paxton Gate has been my one-stop shop for gift giving.
My shopping list:
For Dad: lamp made out of a sheep’s leg.
For Mom: taxidermy mouse with wings.
Brother: shark in a jar.
Lover: Evan Chambers blown glass anything.
For me: Saber tooth cat skull.
For Tate: taxidermy King Cobra.  (Don’t tell him and spoil the surprise).
Paxton Gate. 824 Valencia Street. San Francisco, CA. 415.824-1872
Paxton Gate’s Curiosities for Kids. 766 Valencia Street
between 18th & 19th Streets. San Francisco, CA. 415.252.9990

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