Friday, March 27, 2015

Plant Shopping Extravaganza

As mentioned in my last post, I did some serious plant shopping last weekend.  Although I visited more nurseries and garden centers in a single day on another occasion, I haven't bought as many plants - or spent as much money - in a single day as I did on this trip.  I left the house before 8am and didn't get home until after 6:30pm.  I was spurred on in part by my desire to find plants to fill the space left by the recent removal of a tree in the backyard border and in part by my ongoing search to find plants to fill the remaining blank spots created when we removed our front lawn.  I was also driven by a sense of urgency to get my spring planting done as soon as possible in light of the high temperatures we've already experienced this March.  The only things that kept my spending in check were time constraints and my friend's admonition that her car had only so much room.

Our first stop was Seaside Gardens in Carpinteria.  In addition to offering a great selection of California-friendly plants, it has wonderful demonstration gardens.  The first thing we saw when we got out of the car was a hummingbird flitting among the flowers of Grevillea 'Ned Kelly.'

The hummingbird was not at all intimidated by the fact that 2 women were standing 2 feet away aiming cameras in his direction 


A busload of ladies from the Red Hat Society arrived shortly after my friend and I so I didn't get many pictures of the demonstration gardens during this visit but you can find photos of my November visit to Seaside here.

Views from Seaside's various demonstration gardens

It looked to me as though our earlier heatwave may have already taken a toll on the California poppies' show


As we visited on the second day of spring, Seaside was especially well stocked.



There were some gorgeous plants up front that made my heart flutter but one look at their price tags nearly made my heart stop.  None of these plants came home with me.

Clockwise from upper left, all costing over $100 in nursery pots: large specimens of Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream,' Leucadendron 'Safari Goldstrike,' Leucospermum cordifolium, and a plant I didn't get the name of Leucospermum reflexum (thanks for the ID, Evan!)


I left with 9 plants but there were several others I've had some misgivings about leaving behind.

Clockwise from upper left: Veltheimia bracteata 'Yellow Comet,' Halimium lasianthum, Petrea volubilis, Lonicera japonica 'Mint Crisp,' Boronia megastigma, and Leucadendron 'Jester'


After lunch, we headed back south, getting off the freeway and turning east upon reaching Ventura.  About 15 minutes later in the town of Casita Springs, we found our next target: Australian Native Plants Nursery.  This nursery is generally open only by appointment but my friend had made arrangements for the stop earlier and the gate was open when we arrived.



My friend was immediately entranced by the beautiful purple-flowered shrub next to the entrance, which I recognized as a Prostanthera.

I initially thought this must be Prostanthera linearis but, after checking ANP's website, my guess is that it's the non-variegated form of P. ovalifolia


Meanwhile, I was attracted by a large Acacia on the other side of the gate, as an Acacia was on my list of prospects for my back border.

I didn't ask which Acacia this was as it was too tall for my needs


As this is a true nursery, there weren't many flashy plant displays but there were plants stacked on tables, plants lined up in rows, and plants in hoop houses, some of which were open to visitors and others which were not.



A number of plants caught my eye but were ultimately left behind, at least this time.

Left to right: Hakea petiolaris, Leucadendron discolor, and Grevillea rivularis


Jo, the owner, located all the plants I asked for.  As I was checking out with 5 plants, my friend and I heard a frog croaking at our feet.  We never did see the frog but we did see this:

Grevillea 'Pink Midget,' not currently available


After we squeezed this round of purchases into my friend's car, we were off again, headed to one of my favorite nurseries, Sperling, in Calabasas.  To my knowledge, the property is still for sale but on this early spring day, it was well-stocked and crowded with visitors.  As we'd gotten caught up in a hideous traffic jam on our way south and it was already late afternoon, I didn't linger to take more than a few photos before filling my cart with 21 more plants.

Metal goats appear to be popular!

The succulent in the photo on the far right is Euphorbia xantii (aka Cherry Blossom Euphorbia)


Here's a different view of my purchases.  I managed to get almost all of these in the ground before the current heatwave struck.

The photo on the left shows the entire collection of 35 plants.  The photo on the top right shows Callistemon 'Cane's Hybrid,' Helleborus 'Anna's Red, and Leucospermum cordifolium (yellow form); the middle photo shows Ceanothus arboreus, Correa 'Wyn's Wonder,' Dianella tasmanica 'Tasred,' Digiplexis 'Illumination Flame,' Heuchera maxima, Leucadendron 'Safari Sunset' and Phomium 'Ed Carmen' (which seems more yellow than the photos I see on-line, possibly due to its youth); and the bottom photo shows Argyranthemum frutescens, Centaurea 'Silver Feather' (which may require more water than the tag led me to believe), Gazania 'New Day Yellow,' Lagurus ovatus (Hare's Tail grass), and Osteosperum 'Zion Copper Amethyst.'  Somewhere in the collection is also a one-gallon container of Grevillea 'Peaches & Cream' but even I can't pick it out in my photos (behind the Callistemon maybe).


Hopefully, if the heatwave passes within 2 days as expected, all will survive.  I'll show photos of the plants in the garden when I get a chance.


All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

25 comments:

  1. Wow, what a shopping spree! You got some great plants, too. That unknown $100 plant after the Leucospermum looks like Leucospermum reflexum. I just had to do some digging because I love that foliage and those flowers!

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  2. That's a great looking haul Kris, and even more impressed that you have them all planted out now!

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    1. Two more plants to go in (tomorrow perhaps, if the heatwave is really over).

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  3. Looks and sounds like you and your friend had a great day of plant shopping! You got some great plants! Sounds like you need to go back and pick up a few of the things you regret not purchasing!

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    1. The fact that it would be a good 3-hour drive to Carpinteria will keep my spending in check at this point, at least for a while.

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  4. What perfect fun! It always surprises me that you are willing to plant in spring. Only autumn plantings are truly successful here.

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    1. If I had any sense, Christina, I wouldn't plant anything more after January here, especially as both our winters and our springs appear to be growing ever warmer.

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  5. You are so smart - you now have a complete index of all your (gorgeous!) plants, displayed and named. Unlike me with few records and a spotty memory, you will never have to do a fruitless image search when it is time to purchase another Didn'tGetItsName. Kudos!

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    1. This garden being so much bigger than my old one, I knew I had to do something to keep track of what went into it. But I still do my share of fruitless image searches - the most recent being for the Leucospermum Evan identified in his comment above but, more frequently, looking for the names of all those succulents nurseries and garden centers fail to label.

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  6. Now that is a fine haul! There is such a wonderful mix of plants. I'm always amazed to see Australian native plants looking so much better in overseas gardens - I am especially fond of the Grevillea 'Pink Midget' (to be honest, it's new to me, as well)!!!!

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    1. The plants always look great fresh out of the nurseries - the trick is whether they'll look as good one year from now. My friend and I both fell for 'Pink Midget' - we'll get hold of it one of these days.

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  7. It's already cooler today and more predicted cooling tomorrow, so I think the new plants will be fine. I love that thread-leaf argyranthemum and never find it local. You got a season's worth of plant shopping done in a day -- I'm impressed!

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    1. Yes, I'm looking forward to a cooler weekend. Let's hope this is the end of the heatwaves for the spring season!

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    2. P.S. Those Argyranthemum came from Sperling so perhaps that's not too far out of your way, especially should work take you to the SF Valley.

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  8. 35 plants!!! You are my hero, nice work.

    So would you recommend the Australian nursery for a visit next time I'm down that way?

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    1. I can see you arriving at the Banksia table at the Australian nursery and melting, Loree, so YES! You do need to call ahead for an appointment and I'd recommend looking through the available plants on-line first to make up a list of what you'd like to see - I didn't find any of the plants I bought (the Callistemon, Leucospermum or the Dianella) on my own. I told Jo, the owner, what I was looking for and she either led me to them or materialized with them in hand.

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  9. Wow, what a haul. You got some beauties. I love the interesting plants in the nurseries over there, unlike anything available here. I did grow Prostanthera in the greenhouse once, it is very pretty but I dont' like the smell.
    Good luck with all your new treasures. I look forward to seeing them flourishing.

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    1. Thanks Chloris! The only problem with getting so many plants at once is the back-breaking work of getting them all planted.

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  10. Love it all :) Actually what really, really catches my eye is the Euphorbia xantii. Also the Veltheimia - would love to know how it works out through the summer... It all looks great, and I cannot imagine getting so many plants into the ground that fast. btw, having seen your Blue-Eyed Beauty osteospermum, I felt that would be the perfect variety for the "pastel color" bit of this garden. With all the different varieties out there, I thought it might be hard to locate that particular one, but on a (relatively short!) shopping trip yesterday I was able to pick it up. In it goes today, I hope!

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    1. I would have picked up the Euphorbia xantii, Amy, if the nursery had it in a smaller size at a more reasonable price - those large pots were $80. I may pick up the Veltheimia next year, now that I know a little more about its cultural requirements. I'm glad you found 'Blue-Eyed Beauty' - it keeps on blooming here!

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  11. What a great haul! I just did 3 days of nursery shopping, and came home with a similar haul. I also bought a couple of Centaurea 'Silver Feather.'

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    1. I'll be interested to see if the Centaurea blooms as shown on the label but, as the foliage is so pretty, I'll be fine with it even if it doesn't.

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  12. What an awesome day, and what a great selection of plants. I picked up a little Euphorbia xanti at the UC Riverside Botanical Gardens Spring Sale on Saturday - hope someday it looks as nice as the one you photographed!

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  13. The Prostanthera is gorgeous. You have nice nurseries within driving distance.

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