Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spring Wanderlust - Part 1

Something about spring prompts me to get in the car to visit nurseries and gardens off my usual beaten path.  In addition to spending hours on end in my own garden, I find myself fighting LA's miserable freeway traffic to visit other places where plants grow.  I've been on a few expeditions of late that I've made little or no reference to here so I thought I'd share the highlights in a single post.  However, that post got way too long so I've broken it into 2 parts.

I visited 4 plant sellers up north a few weekends ago with a friend.  Our first stop was Seaside Gardens Nursery in Carpinteria, which I've written about before.  The weather was perfect for our visit.  All the following photos were taken in Seaside's demonstration gardens.

Courtyard with central fountain

The California poppies are blooming

as are the Echium

The Aloe are putting on their own spring show

Yellow Arctotis dominated this area

I didn't take any pictures at our second stop, Island View Nursery, but I did take a few at our third, Gallup & Stribling Orchids.  This orchid grower has a walk-in retail outlet on the grounds of its growing facility in Carpinteria.  Their specialties were Cymbidiums and Phalaenopsis, both available at discounted prices.

There were lots of Cymbidiums

Oncidium 'Sharry Baby,' which has flowers that smell like chocolate

This unlabeled orchid had a luscious scent that filled the entire greenhouse

We swung by Sperling, my favorite nursery in Calabasas, on our way home.  (You can see a prior post on this nursery here.)  The first thing I noticed were the beautiful flowering trees that create a canopy over the nursery's perennial and annual offerings. 

I think the tree is Paulownia tomentosa, aka the Empress Tree

Close-up of flowers on the Empress Tree

We arrived at Sperling near to closing time, which is probably a good thing as it limited the time available for shopping (and we'd already filled the back of my friend's car in Carpinteria).  The garden was well-stocked for spring shoppers.

A week later, I traveled south on another plant-hunting expedition with a different friend.  My friend has cleaned out the planters in front of her house, which she intends to replant with succulents.  We spent 2 hours making plant selections at OC Succulents in Irvine.  I covered this nursery in detail last November but I took very few pictures during this trip - I was too busy making selections of my own.  I just planted a converted bird bath with some of my purchases.

The centerpiece is Aloe deltoideodonto - I think the variety is 'Sparkler,' although it wasn't noted on the label.  The smaller succulents include Oscularia deltoides, Senecio radicans and Kalanchoe 'Pink Butterflies.'

Other purchases are still waiting to be planted.

The giant Aeonium is A. canariense, aka Giant Velvet Rose

As Irvine is relatively close to Roger's Gardens in Corona Del Mar (discussed in the greatest detail here), we had to stop by there before heading home.  

Digitalis and Osteospermum bordering the parking lot

Vertical garden in hanging plant pockets near the entrance

Assorted Japanese maples in pots

Itoh peonies in bloom (I've resolved not to buy another until I see if the one I bought last year blooms again)

A mass of Digiplexis 'Illumination Flame' - once hard to find, this plant is now everywhere I look

I stopped taking pictures when I discovered a new shipment from Annie's Annuals & Perennials had just arrived at Rogers.  The shipment was still sitting in a multi-layered cart when I started pulling out plants (most of which, of course, I had no obvious place to plant).  I'll show those selections, as well as other recent travels, in future posts.


  1. That Digiplexis is everywhere here too. I like the Digitalis and Osteospermum together. Thanks for taking us shopping with you!

    1. I liked that Digitalis and Osteospermum combo too. I'll have to try that next year.

  2. So many delights, I don't even know where to start! One of the things we look forward to in the spring and summer are the plant buying trips and visits to nurseries, always a joy and exciting!

    1. Since we moved into our current house, I probably haven't gone 2 weeks without paying a visit to a nursery - one of these days (soon) I need to stop!

  3. So glad to see you've been out and about enjoying the season and what your area has to offer! Look forward to seeing your Annie's via Rogers purchases!

    1. It's so nice of Roger's to spare me the cost of mail ordering from Annie's.

  4. I know just what you mean about the desire to buy plants! It is completely the wrong time for me to plant but I still get the urge. Love that Echium, a friend here has a similar one in a very protected spot, I'd love to try growing it, such a statement! Glad you had some fun trips.

    1. Echium is grown fairly extensively here, Christina, because it gets by on so little water. I have 2 plants of a dwarf variety but thus far haven't tried to grow the full-sized versions - they need a LOT of room.

  5. What wonderful nurseries you have! This time of year finds me out shopping for plants as well, none of which I have space for. Oh well.

    1. We do have some nice nurseries, Peter, as long as you don't mind a drive of an hour or two or more...


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