About Wild Thyme

an enchanting entranceWild Thyme Gifts & Gardens used to be a house.  The darling building is over 100 years old and is a bit of a local landmark – by and far the cutest gift shop Redding has to offer!

Owner Eileen Barry purchased Wild Thyme in March of 2006.  Her sister, Colleen Barry (fabulous artist and creator of the “Mosaic Oasis” at the Turtle Bay Arboretum), has lived in the Redding area for many years. Each summer Eileen would visit, and Wild Thyme was always on her list as one of the most magical places.

Eileen

Eileen photoWhen Eileen moved to Redding from the Seattle area in 1999, she managed the shoe department at Gottschalks. Colleen called her one day and told her Wild Thyme was for sale. Within two weeks, she had completely changed her life, “jumped off the cliff,” and has never looked back.

I honestly feel like a caretaker of this enchanted space. People visit my shop for many reasons: peace, inspiration, joy, silliness; and I have had customers cry here as well. It seems to evoke some very visceral feelings in many folks. It also has an extremely healing effect.” ~ Eileen Barry, Owner

Ruby

Ruby looks through porch railingRuby is an almost-3-year-old dachshund.  She has been in the shop with since she was 6 weeks old and is the official greeter and Eileen’s companion at work.  Wouldn’t you agree that she doing a fabulous job? Whether she is tucked away in her bed beneath the counter or poking her nose through the railings, Ruby is an earnest and capable shop ambassador!

Daphne

Daphne among the plantsDaphne showed up in the garden two days after Eileen bought the shop. She was obviously NOT feral and super sweet, so Eileen encouraged her (wasn’t hard) to stick around by feeding her and giving her a comfy bed on the store counter.

She stayed at the shop all the time until about two years ago, when she was found pretty beat up by the feral cats that hang around. Eileen says, “I was afraid to change her environment but felt she couldn’t defend herself, so with trepidation, I brought her to my home. She acted like she ALWAYS lived there and now spends her retirement lounging at the foot of my bed or snoozing in the sun by the pool. People continue to ask about her.”

Peanut…and other shop “visitors”

Peanut, the tame blue jayDuring her first spring at Wild Thyme, Eileen befriended a very bright blue jay. She coaxed the bird to eat peanuts out of her hand, and soon “Peanut” was a daily visitor, even being so bold as to skitter across the linoleum in the kitchen and hop onto the desk, then up to the monitor and gaze at Eileen with those dark, dark eyes and shiny blue feathers. She could not resist and always had a treat ready. Peanut passed on this knowledge to his/her offspring for about four generations, and there are still many jays about Wild Thyme.

Also during Eileen’s first spring at Wild Thyme, she had a family of skunks living under the shop which presented quite a conundrum.  “I decided to let them be until I smelled them,” Eileen says. “A few weeks went by and I was walking back from watering and here is the cutest, tiny, absolutely fearless little skunk baby eating the cat food on the porch. Not wanting to create an issue, I patiently waited for her to finish her meal, which she did, peering at me out of the corner of her eye, and off she went. Eventually they moved on and I sealed up the vents.”

I spent 34 years in the shoe business and have an extreme fondness for fabulous footwear, but I broke my foot wearing some and now am restricted to admiration only!” ~Eileen Barry