Saturday, September 14, 2013

Not that I needed an excuse to buy plants...

South Coast Botanic Garden (which I previously wrote about here) held its annual Fall Plant Sale today.  Purchases benefit the garden's foundation.  As a new member of the botanic garden, I qualified for both preview access and a 10% discount.   As I'd signed up for the "family plan," I was able to bring a friend along to shop with the same privileges.  In addition, now that a large section of grass has been cleared from our side yard and prepared for planting, I actually need plants to fill the new space.  I couldn't have had more excuses for plant shopping, could I?

The outside courtyard just inside the entrance of the garden was occupied by a variety of local vendors, offering succulents, tropical selections, and drought-tolerant plants.

I almost bought the Salvia clevelandii 'Wilfred Gilman' (2nd from the right on the table)

More healthy selections from the same vendor

I passed on the Plumerias  - I have to see if I can keep the one I've got alive before picking up another

The prices on the vendor offerings, while pretty good, generally ran  higher than the plants on display in the main auditorium.  My impression is that volunteers supply many of the plants offered for sale in this area but San Marcos and Native Son nurseries also provided donations.

An Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt' - do you see that price?!

Agave 'Blue Glow' - a wonderful plant but not as good a price as I've found elsewhere for its size

I spent 10 minutes debating the purchase of this beautiful ornamental banana ($20!)

Beschorneria yuccoides 

There were a variety of Cuphea, a genus that does well in my SoCal garden

An unidentified variety of Plectranthus - I love the genus but this variety looked rangy

Strobilanthes anisophyllus 'Purpurea' (aka Mexican petunia)

The Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy had an entire room dedicated to California natives.

This plant looked interesting but the common name put me off

Melica imperfecta, a low-growing, drought-tolerant grass

None of the plants on display fit into my current plan for the side yard.  Nonetheless, I didn't walk out empty handed.

My purchases

Here's what I got:

  • Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt' (yes, I already have 3 of them but, at $15 for a beautiful plant priced at $40 by the local nurseries, I could hardly take a pass)
  • Beschorneria yuccoides 
  • Cuphea ignea 'Alba'
  • Aeonium simsii hybrid
  • Agave lophantha 'Quadricolor' 

My total expenditure was a very reasonable $36.90.  So does it matter that I have a specific spot identified for just one of these plants?


  1. Such interesting plants! That is a good price on Cousin Itt. I've been quite tempted a few times by that Quadricolor Agave.

    1. I've been tempted by that agave before too, Alison, and I figured I couldn't go wrong with a $5 tryout. I think I've identified a place for it too.

  2. I read your first remark on the price of the Acacia as though you thought $15 was high. I was amazed and couldn't wait to find out what you'd normally expect to pay. Now I understand. And of course how could you not buy it! The rest of your haul is pretty divine too...

    1. I almost got out my reading glasses when I saw the price, assuming I hadn't read it correctly. And it was just sitting there with no one hovering over it - I felt a bit like a thief snatching it up. Of course, as soon as it was in my cart, people started fawning over it.

  3. Congratulations on your bargain purchases. I would have urged you to get the banana. I agonized over spending $19.99 for my ornamental red banana, but it has turned out to be one of my favorite plants in my garden. If something happened to it and I had to replace it now, I would pay gladly twice what I originally paid for it.

    1. I thought that was a good price, especially given the size and quality of the plant. If there had been more room in my cart, I think I would've come home with me, even though I had no idea where I'd put it. I'm having non-buyer's remorse today...