Déjà vu at its best. While it might look a little different, we’ve definitely seen this before: a family-owned plant nursery is bringing beauty and blooms back to Foster Road.
DéjàVu-Gardens Galore Nursery, owned and managed by Cindy Dawson, returns to Paradise in the former location of Mendon’s Nursery. “John Mendon is passing the baton,” Dawson said. “He’s been amazing and wonderful and he’s such a decent human being and a man of his word, and I’m just blessed. It’s a perfect fit.”
Operating on Pearson Road before the fire, and most recently out of her backyard in Chico, Dawson has been working non-stop to prepare for a tentative August 28 grand opening. With the new landscape of Paradise in mind, she’s chosen an inventory of primarily full-sun plants and trees designed to grow quickly, provide shade, offer privacy, act as windbreaks, and repel deer. “I’m trying to plan for the future,” Dawson said. “Most people are going to want large trees, fast-growing. They’ve been staring at a bare lot for two years.”
Once fully open, Dawson hopes Déjà Vu can be a place of peace for Ridge residents. “This is going to be such a wonderful thing for people, even if they don’t come to buy anything. They can just enjoy the tranquility, stroll through the gardens, and enjoy the beautiful flowers.” She also plans to offer discounts to Camp Fire victims for at least another year and a half as part of her effort to replant the Ridge.
Like so many, Dawson’s family was hit hard in the fire, losing a total of 16 homes and four businesses—and the recovery process hasn’t always been easy. At first, she wasn’t even sure if she should reopen the nursery. However, so many people reached out for plant help and to purchase, she knew it was the right decision. “Everything just fell into place. As hard and ugly as it was, there was a silver lining and I’m now doing exactly what I’m supposed to. You can’t sweat the small stuff–even if it feels huge when it’s happening. Now I’m able to focus on the beauty and the resurrection and helping people. That’s what I love.”
With the nursery just weeks away from opening, Dawson and her team are so excited to be back on the Ridge and getting ready to help Ridge residents replant their properties. “The community support has been absolutely overwhelming,” Dawson said. “The loyalty! I hear all the time, ‘I’m waiting for you to open.’ They’re waiting for me to come back, and that’s really special.”
Dawson now gets up at 4 a.m. every morning, caring for her plants, hauling water features, or ordering the next shipment of speciality trees—and despite the physical and emotional challenges at times, every moment is worth it. “Paradise will be beautiful again,” she said. “The community bonds, the traditions, the funny little silly things we do. It’s a really good thing.”