Monday, April 8, 2013

Road Trip: Carpinteria

A friend and I made our annual road trip north to Carpinteria this weekend to visit 2 nurseries we like.  Carpinteria is mid-way between Ventura and Santa Barbara.  It took me a little over an hour in light weekend traffic to get to my friend's house and, once there, we had close to a 90-minute drive to get to Carpinteria.  When we arrived it was nearly noon so I'm afraid my photos are sun-bleached.

Our first stop was Seaside Nursery.  This is a no frills nursery focused on California-friendly plants.  A large portion of the property is dedicated to demonstration gardens, segmented into sections focusing on California natives, succulents, South African plants, Mediterranean plants, Australian plants, and Asian plants.

California poppies dominated the native garden section.

Eschscholzia californica

California poppies backed by Lupinus chamissionis

Dry creek bed and bridge leading to poppy field

There was a lot in bloom in the succulent garden as well.

An explosion of Aeonium

The Asian section was subdued, as one might expect.  The last time we visited the water lilies were in full bloom but we were too early for that this time.

Creek with bamboo and thirsty Gunnera

There were several metal goats munching on plants in front of the main nursery.

Succulent-eating goat

After we finished our rounds of the demonstration gardens, we toured the nursery area.  My friend didn't buy anything.  I didn't need anything but that seldom stops me from buying plants.  Among other things, I picked up several succulents (all, sadly, unlabeled), a California native bush lupine (Lupinus chamissionis, shown backing the poppies in the 2nd picture of this post), and some coyote mint (Monardella villosa).

After a lunch break, we went on down the road to Island View Nursery.  This nursery has changed its focus within the last couple of years.  It formerly offered a wide range of both outdoor and indoor plants but the stock of landscape plants has been dramatically reduced and the open area previously used to display shrubs and perennials is now used to display stone.  The nursery still has giant metal sculptures on display, though.

Tyrannosaurus rex and baby


Camel and horse

The nursery's focus now clearly appears to be on its indoor plant selections.

Bromeliads and palms



Small succulents
Although the selection was vast, few prices were posted and, if there were any baskets or carts to carry a shopper's selections, I couldn't find them.  I'm not sure who they're catering to but the nursery  wasn't set up for the casual shopper.  Nonetheless, I did manage to pick up a few more succulents and a couple of ferns.

We stopped at Sperling Nursery in Calabasas on our way home, one of my favorite haunts.  I didn't take any pictures there but I've posted some before, which you can see here.  I really didn't need any more plants but I still picked up 2 succulents.  Hey, I had a 20% off coupon I couldn't just let expire!


  1. What color! Just beautiful. And I love the goat! The second nursery reminds me of one close by here. It was the father's, handed down to the son. I don't think it's his passion. There's plants to buy (although fewer than before), but no one to help, no carts, and no prices displayed. It's sad to see a once-thriving nursery change right before my eyes.

    1. I liked the goat at Seaside Nursery, too and considered how nice he might look eating grass at the bottom of my slope but then I hurriedly moved on without even checking the pricetag (which I've no doubt would have sent me running anyway). Re Island View Nursery, we keep visiting, hoping it will return to its former glory, but that hasn't happened. I itch to make recommendations on ways to improve the business every time I visit...