Friday, March 30, 2018

Seeking Inspiration (and plants)

I visited Roger's Gardens in Corona del Mar this week seeking plants and inspiration.  Fall may be the best time to plant in Southern California but spring can't be beat for enticing gardeners outside.  The garden center held an extended spring celebration earlier this month but I was unable to get there so, with a free day in front of me, I decided to pay a mid-week visit and I was lucky to arrange a meet-up with blogging friend, Hoover Boo of Piece of Eden, too.

The skies were clear, the temperature was comfortably warm, and the garden center wasn't overly crowded on a weekday morning.  As HB and I chatted about plants, one of garden center's unofficial greeters commanded our attention.

A fountain just outside my shot on the left was splashing water on the red flowers of this Martha Washington geranium (Pelargonium), which the hummingbird used as a perch

He seemed to enjoy his light shower and paid no attention whatsoever to the 2 nearby bloggers who simultaneously raised their cameras for a rapid flurry of photos


My main purpose was to check out the new display gardens Roger's had set up in advance of their spring celebration.  There are 7 of these, although I missed the one focused on edibles.

This is the Balcony Garden, designed as inspiration for people who don't have ground to plant in.  It featured vertical planters constructed from pallets, a few edibles, and succulents.

The Bird & Butterfly Garden was perhaps the largest of the display gardens

I was pleased to note that many of the plants included in the garden's plant list are present in my own garden, including yarrow (Achillea), Ceanothus, Gaura, lavender, rosemary and Salvia clevelandii.  The tall Leucadendron wasn't on Roger's official plant list but it looks stunning in the background.

In contrast to the Bird & Butterfly Garden, the California Friendly Garden was relatively small, consisting of 2 identical raised planting beds, filled with a variety of plants suitable to our Mediterranean climate, arranged around pineapple guava trees (Acca sellowiana, formerly Feijoa)

The Flower Garden near the front entrance features ornamental pottery and flowers mainly in shades of blue and white

The foxgloves looked great with back lighting

The Modern Garden was planted with sculptural succulents

Although I love succulents, the colors used were a little too muted for my taste

This is the Small Space Garden, designed to show people what they can create even with limited space.  I loved the combination of the red kangaroo paws (Anigozanthos) with rose-pink Grevillea 'Penola', although I can tell you from personal experience that the Grevillea gets really big within a few years.


The display gardens weren't the only attractions.

I'm not sure whether the circular metal structure shown on the left was intended as a bench or merely decoration.  The Kokedama creation shown in close-up on the right (featuring what I think must be Colocasia, aka elephant ears) was huge!

As always, the garden center had a range of succulent containers


However, in my opinion, the best displays were in the parking lot.

This area featured Aloes in bloom, Sedum nussbaumerianum, and large specimens of Leucadendron 'Jester'

In addition to the Aloes, there were lots of blooming pincushion proteas (Leucospermum sp.)

I've noted that Leucospermums are becoming more widely available in prices that don't always require obtaining a second mortgage on your home and Roger's had a great selection


Hoover Boo and I enjoyed a nice lunch and I came home with plants of course.  I didn't take photos of my new acquisitions but they included: blue Freesias to replace the bulbs that bloomed in unintended shades orange and pink in my garden; a butterfly and California-friendly Scabiosa; Salvia 'Love & Wishes', a plant HB has had great success with; a 6-pack of California poppies to make up for the fact that none of my poppy seeds germinated this year; and 2 6-packs of Lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum) because I just can't help myself.

Best wishes for a beautiful Easter weekend.


All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

34 comments:

  1. I hope you have a lovely Easter too. I love that enormous Kokedama with the elephant ear, what a cool idea! Also, that very sculptural wooden piece with succulents in it hanging on the wall, I'd love to have that (I bet it was pricey). I think perhaps the parking lot displays have maturity on their side, which is what makes them more attractive than the temporary displays installed inside the nursery.

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    1. I didn't even look for a price on the succulent-planted driftwood piece, Alison. Nor the elephant ear kokedama, for that matter.

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  2. What a lot of changes at Rogers. I agree that the parking lot stole the show! Happy Easter, Kris!

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    1. Roger's was so empty of plants when I was there back in January, I was concerned about the future of the business, Denise. Little did I know they were clearing the decks to present their stock in a new way.

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  3. Happy Easter, Kris! Rogers is definitely on my list of places to visit if I ever get down that way again. I agree with you that while the display gardens were all interesting, the parking lot garens stole the show.

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    1. I consider Roger's the Disneyland of garden centers, Peter. Definitely worth a visit if you're down this way, although some times of year are better than others even here in the land of year-round gardening.

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  4. What fun you had and what wonderful displays. Succulents are so versatile and lend themselves to imaginative displays.So much colour, it makes me long for summer. And how lovely to be able to enjoy it with a fellow blogger.
    Happy Easter dear Kris.

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    1. If you were here, you'd probably think summer had already arrived, Chloris. Our temperature climbed up near 80F (26C) during the latter part of the week!

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  5. I wonder how many weeks of spring we will get this year?? FYI- The hummingbird is a female, Calypte anna.

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    1. I can already sense summer creeping in, Eric, although you're likely to feel its wallop before we do here.

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  6. Nice displays, I'm always looking for inspiration. Parking lot gardens are often my favorite, especially at nurseries. It's often the only space they have for permanent plantings.

    Happy Easter!

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    1. I was really wishing I could have photographed the parking lot planters before the cars filled the area but that was not to be!

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  7. Beautiful spot. I liked the balcony display and the driftwood planted with succulents. Lots of good ideas!
    Happy Easter, Kris!

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    1. I was wondering where one finds a piece of driftwood like that, Eliza. It made a fabulous artwork.

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  8. What a great garden center you have there Kris. As you might imagine I love the blue and white garden especially. Amazing photos of the hummingbird too.

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    1. The hummingbird photos were pure serendipity, Susie. You don't often see one of them settle in and hang about like this one did. It was lucky my camera was already out too.

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  9. Appreciate the ideas for the pallets. I have a couple of old pallets and would love to do something like this. Already showed dear hubby the photo, but suspect it will have to be my project. I like the Red kangaroo Paws, if only for the name!

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    1. Kangaroo paws are great plants, Deb, although I'm not sure how they'd feel about the climate in your part of the country!

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  10. Excellent nursery visit and even better that you and Hoov got to meet up. Won’t be long now until we’re all meeting up in Austin!

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    1. I look forward to seeing you then, Loree!

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  11. Wow I can't believe you have so much flowers to please you at this time of the year. Must be a great place to visit. Happy easterdays'.

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    1. It's possible to garden year-round in this area of southern California, Marijke. We're very lucky!

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  12. Neat place! Your photos make me feel warm. Thank you! You got some great shots of that cute little hummer. Sweet. (I see you're going to the Fling: I'll look forward to meeting you!)

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    1. It'll be great to meet you in person, Beth!

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  13. Excellent post. You saw stuff I missed--balcony garden?!? Where was that? Very few of my photos turned out because I never noticed the camera was set to manual. Oh, well.

    Did you get all your plants into the ground yet? You had lots to plant!

    It was a fun day, thanks again!

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    1. I'm glad we connected! The Balcony Garden was tucked into the alcove that used to house the California Friendly display and video opposite the blue and white flower bed. It's too bad about your camera setting. You didn't get a photo of the hummingbird?

      All my plants are in the ground as of about 6pm last night. I'm feeling very virtuous now.

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  14. Oh yes, spring is definitely the time to go out to visit nurseries and gardens and get inspired for the coming season. It's a bit too early for that activity here, since we still have snow cover and plants are still dormant -- but soon, soon!

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    1. Spring does get an early start here, Jean, but then so does summer! I hope your spring starts off with a bang when it arrives.

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  15. That looks a great place to go for inspiration Kris and what fun to be able to visit with a like-minded fellow blogger.

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  16. The hummingbird is freakin adorable.

    I like their blue and white bed. The delphinium would be gorgeous anyway but is really complemented by the foxglove and phlox.

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    1. That hummingbird was much more accommodating than most about getting his (or her) picture taken, sweetbay.

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  17. Such beautiful displays, the driftwood is really inspiring. I just love that idea. I’m enjoying your posts so much Kris, with their familiar and not so familiar plants that I know I can grow here. Thank you.

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    1. If pieces of driftwood that size didn't cost a fortune here, Jane, I'd try something like that myself. I did create a smaller scale piece several months ago and it's held up fairly well.

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