Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Birthday Shopping

I celebrated my birthday last week.  Two of my friends, who know my vices well, each took me plant shopping to celebrate.  And another friend gave me a gift card to help with the damages.

The first outing took me to OC Succulents with a brief side trip to Roger's Gardens.  I've written about both nurseries before (most extensively here and here) but I took very few pictures on this occasion as I was too busy making selections.  However, I did take a couple of shots of the back of my friend's SUV as the two of us struggled to fit the last of our purchases into her trunk before heading home.  Please note that only about 30% of the contents were mine!

The bright green Agave impressa and the burgundy Aeoniums - and a "few" other things - are mine



I'd only just begun to plant my first set of purchases when, 2 days later, my other friend took me to Laguna Nursery in the heart of Laguna Beach, an artist community located in Orange County.  This nursery is less than 10 miles south of Roger's Garden but neither my friend nor I had ever been there.  We were both surprised by what we found.  It's a difficult place to characterize.  The words eccentric, eclectic, funky, imaginative, and even claustrophobic come to mind.  Perhaps you can provide your own description upon viewing the photos I took, although I don't know if these even begin to capture the feel of the place.

Here's some of what greeted us when we pulled into the parking lot.








In the back of an adjacent parking lot for the Surf & Sand Resort, we found bedding plants, garden furniture and more garden sculptures.






We entered the main portion of the nursery from the alleyway.






The inside premises were jam-packed with fanciful items arranged without any logical pattern that I could discern.  The eye was torn from one thing to another.  The aisles were narrow and there was little space between objects, all of which vied for attention.





While the rooms felt somewhat claustrophobic to me, the feel of the place was lightened by bird song.  Birds occupied cages throughout the interior space.  I stopped counting them after a while but there must have been more than a dozen large cages occupied by varies types of birds, including Lovebirds, Budgies, Cockatiels and Parakeets.

These 2 were named Mork & Mindy

Notices like this, containing the birds's names and descriptions, were placed alongside each cage

The four lovebirds, Peachy & Moe and Sammy & Elberta


The interior was organized around a central stairway, which stepped down to align with the street fronting the coastal highway.

Stairway from the top level, looking down

Stairway viewed from the opposite direction

Gargoyles sitting atop one of the exits



I chose a more friendly exit than the one shown above to enter the outdoor garden area facing the highway.  Outside, I found more sculpture and lots of fountains of different types.

This sculpture was inspired by the lady featured in Seurat's painting, "Sunday in the Park on the Island of LeGrand Jatte"

One of the most impressive (and expensive) fountains

A bubbling bathtub fountain

Narrow path through a selection of perennial plants

Another fountain, this one surrounded by succulents

This side path leads back to what I believe is the nursery's office area




There were plants scattered throughout the grounds, inside and outside, but I found it difficult to focus on them when so much else sought to catch one's eye.

Further proof that Digiplexis 'Illumination Flame' can be found in every nursery in Southern California


Small pots of succulents

Is this an Acalypha?  In retrospect, this is one plant I wish I'd taken home



Going back inside, my friend and I explored the various rooms off the main stairway.  My favorite was what I thought of as the "forest room," although it defies any precise description.






On the other side of the central walkway was a room with an eastern feel.




There were fountains and sculptures of different types throughout the interior space as well, all of which were expensive.  My favorite sculpture was one of 3 intertwined young women, along the lines of the 3 graces.

I didn't even bother looking for a pricetag




There were also items that defied classification, like this one.

A restored ferris wheel seat (available for $9400)


We even took a peek at a design studio sitting next to the parking lot, which may or may not have been directly associated with the nursery.

The studio had a nice landscape of massed succulents

I loved this table



In the end, my friend and I left with our cameras full of pictures but out pocketbooks intact.  I think we were too overwhelmed by the experience to purchase anything.  We had a leisurely lunch and then headed to Roger's Garden.  There, my friend bought one plant and I, true to form, bought more than a dozen.  I'll feature some of my recent purchases in a future post but I expect you, my dear reader, have had enough of my birthday shopping expeditions at this point.

28 comments:

  1. What a fabulous birthday you had! I wish mine was in the middle of gardening season, but it's not, it's 3 days before Christmas, which makes garden shopping for birthday presents difficult. I would have found Laguna Nursery overwhelming too. But I love all the rusty sculptures. I don't see a Ferris wheel seat being comfortable garden seating, but it would definitely be a conversation starter.

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    1. I was unable to test the ferris wheel seat, Alison - there was a prominent "do not touch" sign - but it didn't look particularly solid to me.

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  2. Gosh, how this eclectic collection brought smiles to my face! Someone is having fun and we get to see it courtesy of you. This post has brightened my morning!

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    1. It was a VERY interesting place to visit, Jane. I have no idea how anyone could ever find something specifically needed for his/her own garden, however.

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  3. My idea of a perfect birthday! Sure, only 1/3 of the plants are yours. We believe you, really we do. I want to LIVE at Laguna Nursery! It's like a 3D collage- Love this style of crowded treasures to discover. Do you suppose they would let me have my own cage there? The sign could read "Obese Crmudgeon - please don't feed" Maybe they'd let me out to run around the nursery when it was closed. Happy birthday, Kris!

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    1. I wondered how the people that worked there could possibly find anything a customer might ask for, Peter. Filling requests must be like a scavenger hunt!

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  4. After that tour I'm on horticultural overload. Happy Birthday Kris! Mine is today and although I won't be doing any plant shopping, I've done enough over the past few weeks to cover both you and me :).

    Yes, that is an Acalpha. Probably a shrub for you. I grow them as annuals but have decent success overwintering them under lights indoors. Nice nice plants.

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    1. A belated happy birthday to you, Sue! I'm glad your weather finally improved and you were able to throw yourself into gardening. I look forward to seeing what you've been up to at Idyll Haven!

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  5. What nice birthday surprises! Thank you for the tour of Laguna Nursery--I think I'd like that place...

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    1. It's a great place to visit, Emily, although I wouldn't want to have to depend on it as my principal nursery supplier. Finding what you need must be a challenge.

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  6. Happy Birthday! And what a lovely way to spend it. I have never seen a nursery so full of ' stuff' as the last one. I really liked the Seurat inspired lady. I' m looking forward to seeing your purchases.

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    1. I can't say I've ever seen a nursery - or perhaps any store - so full of stuff myself, Chloris. Visiting was an adventure.

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  7. Belated Happy Birthday Kris! What a fabulous way to celebrate your birthday, an activity true to your heart and your friends definitely know you really well :)

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    1. Thanks, Mark & Gaz. Yes, my friends are well aware of my "affliction."

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  8. Wow! way cool! love that garden art (well except for the moose head) So many wonderful things to fire one's imagination.

    Hope you have a lovely birthday!

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    1. I only showed the tiniest percentage of what I saw there, Deanne. It was difficult to take good pictures as space was so cramped I couldn't back up enough to properly focus my camera in many cases. Not to speak of the sheer volume of stuff there was to see.

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  9. Happy birthday, Kris! What an intriguing nursery. It looks like you had a fun day.

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    1. "Intriguing" is a good way to describe it, Pam!

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  10. What a wonderful birthday, just a perfect way to celebrate (and a belated wish for good cheer from me). Love the shot at top with all the plants and agree the second stop was better for looking, not trying to wrap your head around buying.

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    1. I can't really call Laguna Nursery a plant museum, Loree, but maybe it could be called a botanically-themed adventure park. I'm still thinking about that Acalypha I didn't buy, though...

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  11. Happy Birthday Kris, you have the best of friends for taking you plant shopping (beats and other kind!). Thanks for sharing this wonderful nursery, although I think I too would have been overwhelmed and walked away with nothing or worse the wrong thing in my confusion. I liked the succulent path to the studio, it looked perfect.

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    1. It was a great place to visit, Christina. I was impressed by that succulent garden, too. I have a lot of the same Aeonium used there on hand and got some good ideas seeing how it was used outside the studio.

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  12. Hi Kris. Now this, my friend is the perfect way to spend a birthday! Mine is in November so to say I'm really jealous would be an understatement. :) This place is a real treat. I agree that the inside was a little much, but wowzers, the outside was amazing. I love the hanging scale planted with succulents. I wish I could find one on the cheap. I've got the rotary, measuring part that hangs above it but not that lower piece. I also love the rusty lady sculptures. I'm sure they're quite pricey. And the fountains were cool. Indoors, those dangling glass teardrops would make good earthquake detection devices. :) .... Thanks for the comment on my blog. About the Acanthus. They are so freaking persnickety. It seems I can never make them happy. Right now they look the best they've ever looked, knock on wood. So apparently they really like deep shade but they don't bloom in shade so go figure. Truthfully they baffle me. Can't wait to see what you got!

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    1. The Seurat lady was $10,000, Grace. It was so well placed facing the street and main highway, though, I don't see why they'd consider selling it, even at that price. EVERYTHING was expensive there but, then, it's Laguna Beach so that's to be expected.

      I grew Acanthus in mostly shade in my former garden and I know what you mean about the difficulty getting them to bloom in shade. I love the large leaves and those don't fare nearly as well in the sun (and heat) they face in my current garden but I do get lots of flower stalks!

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  13. Happy birthday, Kris! You are so lucky to have friends who will take you plant shopping. Now it's my turn to be envious, not only for that but because heliotrope belongs in the perennial section in your nurseries. It's an annual here and one of my favorites for the delicious fragrance. I love the tillandsias in the sea urchin shells. They look like jellyfish.

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    1. Thanks, Evan. Yes, each locale has its own advantages and disadvantages, doesn't it?

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  14. What an insane place! The 4th photo really made me laugh! It would be fun to shop there but it must have been easy to lose each other. :o) It would have been hard not to leave without something.

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    1. Yes, I thought I had to share that photo, Tammy, but you're the only one who commented on it! And I did "lose" my friend for a time at this nursery - the place is a maze!

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