Friday, January 11, 2019

Local Nurseries - Plants, chickens, cats & dogs

I had one of those days yesterday.  One thing after another went wrong.  There were no disasters but by early afternoon I was feeling aggravated and was in search of a distraction.  I decided to take off for a garden center half an hour from home.  As luck would have it, I made a wrong turn and, unable to make a u-turn, I decided I might as well just visit another nursery a couple of miles down the same road and then loop back.  As it turned out, before I headed home, I'd trawled through 4 garden centers.

Plant shopping in early January is a mixed bag even here, where we can garden all year.  All the nurseries I visited are small independent outfits.  Some of them effectively cease regular operations during December to focus on selling Christmas trees.  And the plant stock often isn't replenished this early in the new year.  I had some specific plants in mind but I didn't go into my trip with high hopes of finding them.

My first stop was International Garden Center in El Segundo.  It's not a place I visit often and I'm not sure I've ever bought anything there but it's worth a periodic stop.

Buddha exerted the calming influence I needed

The chickens were roaming the premises following an employee scattering bread crumbs.  Right off a major highway in a densely trafficked urban area, a flock of chickens is a novelty.

I didn't buy anything but I do somewhat regret leaving this Agave guadalajarana behind


My second stop was Deep Roots, the original focus of my afternoon jaunt.  I was on the look-out for a large pot, as well as a few short-lived perennials.  They didn't have any pots the size, color or price I was looking for but, with all their Christmas trees cleared out, they did have a lot of fresh plants on display.

This was the selection of plants that greeted me when I pulled into the parking lot.  Everything was in pristine condition.  I ended up with 6 Gazanias and one tall-growing snapdragon.

They also had a fresh display of perennials.  Deep Roots is one of my go-to nurseries for Grevilleas, Leucadendron, and other drought-tolerant Mediterranean plants but I didn't bring any of those home with me on this trip.

I admired this Begonia 'Red Fred' but it was pricey and my garden isn't an especially hospitable environment for begonias but I sigh every time I look at this foliage


My third stop was the product of a last minute whim.  Peter's Garden Center sits at a major intersection on Pacific Coast Highway.  I formerly lived about a mile from there but I stopped in infrequently even then.  While it generally had a decent selection of annuals and bedding plants, it didn't carry a broad selection of shrubs and perennials.

The pickings were slim on this occasion.  The friendly manager offered profuse apologies for the low stock, explaining that they'd just reopened following a 2-week holiday closure.

There was a lot of empty space as you can see here but then the nursery has always had more space than it appears to use.  I suspect they make most of their money from the wholesale operations they maintain across the street.  The business has been operating in this location since the 1940s.

While stock was low, on this occasion I noticed that they did have some Grevilleas, Westringia and even Eucalyptus 'Moon Lagoon' for sale

They also had a nice display of healthy succulents


Caught in traffic related to a public works project nearer to home, I decided to veer off my route yet again to check out another small garden center, Elwood Nursery in Rolling Hills.  As the crow flies, this nursery is close to me but there's no straight route to get there so I don't stop by this one often either.  However, I've found it's often a good source for annuals and perennials in small pots, although its stock was low on this occasion.

They had nice selection of florist's cineraria (Pericallis) but I've sworn off these plants this year.  They produce lovely flowers in shade but they're prone to leaf miner and the stems break easily.

They did have some Lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum) in stock but the plants weren't looking their best.  The older stems of my Lisianthus develop the same kind of sickly pallor shown here but cutting the plants down to the healthy blue-green foliage at the base usually refreshes the plants.


The main attractions on this visit were the furry employees, although I did come home with 2 reasonably-priced African violets.

I almost missed this cat, sleeping on top of empty cardboard boxes.  The owner told me there's a second cat on site too but I never saw that one.

The caretaker was asleep in the sun.  I tried to warn off another customer to avoid waking her up but

I wasn't successful.  She looked mildly disgruntled but soon went back to sleep.  I met a second dog at the cash register, already trying to alert the owner that it was time to take her, the larger dog, and the 2 cats home.  The owner says they even take the cats now because it's been so cold and coyotes are present here too.


I didn't find the Dianthus or Lisianthus plugs I was looking for but I've already planted the Gazanias and snapdragon I brought home from Deep Roots.  The African violets have been tucked away in my lath house, which I hope will offer them sufficient protection.  More rain is on the way this weekend and, once I finish planting another flat of creeping thyme, I'll be ready for it.

Best wishes for a wonderful weekend, whatever your weather.


All material © 2012-2019 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

24 comments:

  1. It sounds like these nursery visits were very therapeutic after a difficult day. I would have been very tempted by that gorgeous Begonia. I don't think I've ever seen that for sale around here, I'm going to keep an eye out for it. Hope you too have a wonderful weekend, and get the rain you're expecting.

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    1. My day was more annoying than difficult but getting out was a mood-changer even if my shopping trip wasn't all that productive. And we DID get a boatload of rain from midnight through early morning - over 3/4ths of an inch with more on the way next week. We're going to go from dry as dust to soggy!

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  2. Yep, Alison is right, ‘Red Fred' is a real looker! Glad you got out and underwent some horticulture retail therapy, there’s nothing better.

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  3. You were on a roll weren't you. What fun, there is nothing I like better than going on a nursery crawl. I've never seen a begonia like that before.

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    1. I thought it was a Ligularia at first. If I can find a smaller specimen at a more palatable price, I may get it for my lath house.

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    2. Looks a happy fit for your lath house.

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    3. You're probably right, Diana. It's just my pocketbook that might be at issue.

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  4. Yes, that 'Red Fred'! What about 'Moon Lagoon' as a screen for Jeff's hot tub? Fast, won't get too tall, plenty of material for floral arrangements. Or did you find something for that spot already?

    It sure seemed to be the moment for nursery visits. Great you can still find independent places in your area. Beautiful dog.

    Enjoy the rain. A whole week of off-and-on, I think the last time we had that was 2005.

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    1. I planted a Psoralea pinnata in that spot. According to a neighbor, it's a fast grower that's done well in her garden, and I got a 3-gallon specimen cheap at the local botanic garden's fall sale. As to the rain, I had real, honest-to-goodness puddles in some places for a short time this morning. The rain came in bursts - we racked up 0.77/inch!

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  5. One nursery just leads to another, right? So funny about 'Red Fred' -- Dustin says he's just not a begonia guy, so he gave me a big RF. I assumed it would look crappy all winter but it's constantly pushing out those huge, ligularia-like leaves. I almost brought home that Agave guadalajarana too...

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    1. If I'd left a little earlier, I could have squeezed in 2 more little garden centers I rarely visit but, alas, there was no time. You're making me regret leaving 'Red Fred' behind but maybe I'll find it in a smaller size. I might look at that agave again after the 2 along the street finish blooming...

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  6. Wouldn't that begonia do really well in your lathe house? Sorry you had an annoying day, and I hope the rain will help you feel more optimistic too!

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    1. The tuberous begonias grown for their flowers did relatively poorly in my lathe house last year but then a 110F heatwave and insufficient sunscreens probably didn't help there. With the new sunscreens in place during the summer months maybe I'll give this begonia a go, especially as it's a different species. I'll see if I can find it for a somewhat better price.

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  7. Your outing looks like so much fun. I love seeing all the live stock as well as the plants. I hope you got all planted before the rain. We received 2" of snow. Our first good snow of the year but it was so warm it is much melted. Have a good rest of the weekend.

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    1. My guess is that snow that clears itself from driveways and walkways is a good thing, Lisa, at least as long as the melt doesn't cause floods.

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  8. Plant shopping is always good for the gardener's soul, even if you come home nearly empty-handed. Glad to hear you are getting decent rain, too.

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    1. The forecast shows we could get another 4 inches between Monday and Thursday, Eliza. That could bring our total to nearly 10 inches! And the longer-term forecasts for February and March show the prospect of even more. It seems that this NOAA-described "moderate" El Nino could deliver a rain total near our "old Normal" level. Fingers are crossed.

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  9. always fun to hear of your shopping trips. You are always so restrained in your purchases. I'm glad you were at least able to get away from irritating distractions.

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    1. Well, I probably take more nursery shopping trips than I should to start with, Christina. My husband has stopped giving me annual summaries of my garden-related expenditures - periodic reckonings might make me still more circumspect.

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  10. wow - so many nurseries so close to home. Pickings are slimmer than usual at the nurseries up here as well. When I drive by houses with Christmas trees still in the window I get a little perturbed ... I want the signs of Winter to recede more quickly.

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    1. All these places are very small operations, Hans, although there is one full-scale garden center about 6 miles away, conveniently sited along a route I travel a couple of times a week ;)

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  11. Garden retail therapy is the best kind :-)

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    1. At least it makes a positive contribution to the ecosystem as well as the economic system!

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