Disregarding the fact that summer is officially here and summer is definitely not the optimal time to plant in Southern California, I nonetheless joined a friend this week on a trip to Roger's Gardens, our favorite Orange County nursery. I brought along my camera on the theory that time spent taking pictures was time not spent picking up plants and placing them on my cart. I took a lot of pictures but I can't say that my strategy was entirely successful. I still left the nursery with more than a dozen plant purchases; however, the damages were less than on the occasion of my last visit to Roger's.
Situated in Corona Del Mar, fairly close to both the ocean and the pricey shops that make up Fashion Island, this family-owned nursery has been in business for over 35 years. It offers seminars most weekends, attracting well-known speakers on a regular basis. The nursery includes a landscaping service, a florist, an art gallery, and various indoor shops with decorative items of all kinds. Although I'll pop into the shops to check out the Halloween and Christmas displays during the 4th quarter of the year, I steer away from them on most visits - my plant purchases alone make a sufficient hole in my available funds. To protect me from my husband's ire, generous friends often give me Roger's gift cards for my birthday and Christmas, which I usually manage to spend within a couple of weeks of receipt even though Roger's is hardly close to home - it's about an hour's drive away in regular L.A./O.C. traffic.
In recent years, Roger's has made a conscious effort to shift its offerings and customer tastes toward more "California-friendly" plants. This emphasis is apparent from the time you drive into the parking lot.
|Planting beds separating the main customer parking area from the surrounding streets|
|Another view of plantings surrounding the parking lot (I wish I'd asked someone to ID the plant at the front of this border)|
|Area approaching the main customer entrance, planted with a mass of Echinacea, not yet in bloom|
|Succulent display just outside the front entrance|
As you enter the nursery, there's a raised bed designed to demonstrate how some of the plants offered by the nursery can be used in a garden setting. The staff changes out the selections on a seasonal basis. This is just the first of several demonstration gardens.
|This is one of the most subdued planting schemes I've seen in this demonstration garden|
|I'm in love with the Agonis flexuosa on the left, planted here with Trachelium caeruleum and Silene dioca 'Clifford Moor" (I think)|
Roger's has given much more prominence to succulents in the last several years. There are potted succulents everywhere in one form or another.
There are also demonstration garden beds designed to show what can can be done with succulents in a larger landscape setting.
And, of course, there's a large area dedicated to succulents offered for sale, conveniently located near the front of the nursery.
Other areas of the nursery focus on different kinds of California-friendly plant selections.
|A new shipment of Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt'|
|Phormiums and Cordylines in all colors and sizes|
|A selection of plants from Annie's Annuals & Perennials, a NoCal nursery from which I generally mail-order|
|Mediterranean herbs suitable for use in landscaping|
There are also large selections of the usual nursery offerings.
|Vegetables and herbs|
|More shade plants (That's not my cart - you can tell as there are no plants on it)|
There's an outdoor furniture gallery.
An indoor plants shop.
An ample stock of garden supplies.
The size of the place shows in this photo taken from the upper level.
|View from the middle of the nursery on the upper level looking toward the front|
So, here's what I bought this visit:
- 3 Milium 'Flashlight' (I needed more chartreuse in the back border)
- 2 Teucrium betonicum (to replace the 2 torn out by the evil raccoon)
- 3 Pentas to plant beneath some roses
- 1 Gomphrena 'Itsy Bitsy', a heat and drought tolerant selection that grows to 5 feet with tiny purple flowers
- 2 6-packs of blue star creeper (Pratia pedunculata)
- 3 6-packs of lobelia
|Poor picture of newly planted Gomphrena 'Itsy Bitsy'|
That's not an outrageous list, is it? Still, it has suddenly gotten VERY hot here so I've skipped my morning exercise routine and gotten out with my shovel in the early morning to take advantage of the coolest time of day. I'm also going to need to be extra vigilant about watering my new plants while the current heat spell lasts. And, I'm going to stay away from nurseries for awhile...