Friday, April 26, 2019

A damp day of plant shopping

When my friend and I scheduled a plant shopping trip to Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties for late April the last thing we expected was rain.  But the further north we drove, the darker the sky got.  The windshield wipers were going well before we reached our first stop, Seaside Gardens in Carpinteria.  Although the rain was little more than a drizzle, we had the place practically to ourselves.  I took advantage of the cloudy skies to capture some photos of Seaside's extensive display beds.

The chief attraction in the Asian Garden was the white-flowered tree, which I think is Chionanthus retusus (aka Chinese fringe tree)

The Cottage Garden was in full flower but many of the blooms were looking rain-sodden.  The lavender-flowered Phlomis purpurea and the yellow-flowered Phlomis fruticosa were exceptions.

The Grassland area looked properly moody

While the California poppies had all closed up shop, the Echiums in the California Native Garden laughed at the rain

Part of what I assume was a rain garden meant to channel water under the low bridge shown in the prior photo

I took a lot of photos of the Echiums.  I'm guessing these are two Echium fastousum 'Pride of Madeira' framing a variegated E. candicans 'Star of Madeira'.


Even under gloomy skies, the Succulent Garden was perhaps the most photogenic.

Even when in the background, Euphorbia tirucalli 'Sticks on Fire' glows

A lovely combination of red and blue

I think this is Euphorbia xanti (aka cherry blossom euphorbia and Baja spurge).  It's fragrant flower-like bracts are always surprising. 

Tree aloes (Aloidendron barberae) in the background and blooming coral aloes (Aloe striata) in the foreground

I take a photo of this aloe mass almost every time I visit.  I didn't see a tag for it but one of my prior photos identifies is as Aloe arborescens.  It doesn't look much like the others I've seen, though.


Of course, I did a little shopping.  I only came away with 2 plants from Seaside on this trip but I was sorely tempted by some pricey pots.

I couldn't justify $150 for a pot this size even if each was unique


We made stops at two more nurseries, where I managed to let go of more cash.  I didn't take any photos at Island View Nursery but I bought several succulents, a small pot, and a pretty Rex begonia.  After lunch, we drove to Terra Sol Garden Center in Goleta.  As it was our last stop of the trip, I was freer with my wallet, although none of my purchases was especially unusual.  I stopped myself from going nuts.

This beautiful spiral cactus (Cereus forbesii maybe?) was $425

I've thought of introducing some sea-style features in my garden but this mermaid statue was a bit outside my budget at $289


Here's a photo of most of what I brought home.

From Seaside: Corydalis 'Porcelain Blue' and Cassinia (Ozothamnus) leptophylla.  From Island View: an assortment of succulents, a tiny pot, and a begonia (shown below).  From Terra Sol: 5 Graptoveria 'Fred Ives' (not shown), 2 Mimulus, 3 Osteospermums with spoon-shaped petals, and a 6-pack of lavender.

My noID Rex begonia from Island View, potted up and tucked into my shade house

Like the Corydalis shown here, almost everything I purchased last weekend and during my recent plant sale visits have been tucked into the ground or pots


I REALLY should stop buying plants.  I'm running out of places to put what I pick up on the fly.  Of course, if I manage to clear more of the ivy and honeysuckle from the back slope or redesign the bromeliad bed the raccoons keep digging up, I might be able to find a bit more room...

Have a great weekend!


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

26 comments:

  1. Those pots with driftwood handles are unique, but pricey, I'm sure I would have passed them over too. Your new Begonia is very pretty, I hope it thrives for you. Sounds like you had a fun day out!

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    1. I loved those pots and carefully checked each and every price tag to see if there were any bargains in the mix - sadly, all were offered for the same price. If only I hadn't given up given up pot-making when I was in college. (I was terrible at it but that's besides the point...)

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  2. I, for one, will never stop buying plants! Is it an addiction? Well, a necessary one at the very least!!! Off to the nursery tomorrow, of course....

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    1. Well, my statements about laying off plant-buying aren't worth much, Libby. I attended a garden show this morning and swung by a nursery on my way home and I can't claim I left either venue empty-handed.

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  3. The begonia is perfection for the lath house, and you had just the pot for it, too!

    I love your shots of Seaside; Denise had a post a few years ago also from a drizzly, misty day. They're no doubt a lot more common up there and right on the coast. Aloes in bloom really light up the scene like torches.

    There's almost always some new plant to learn in your posts, even when you're at home -- but that Euphorbia xanti is a real revelation. The succulent that wants you to think it's a flowering shrub! I didn't realize any spurges were fragrant.

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    1. When it's not in "flower," Euphorbia xanti isn't impressive in the least and your eye is likely to skim right over it, Nell. The Huntington has at least one, my local botanic garden has one and I've run into them occasionally at nurseries but I only "see" them when they're covered in pink. I visit Seaside twice a year on average but I'd never noticed this one - until this visit.

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  4. Quería todas!
    Bom final de semana.

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    1. You would love Southern California nurseries, Janicce!

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  5. I'm always happy to visit Seaside when it's overcast ! I don't think I've ever been to Island View so I better check it out the next trip. As far as stop buying plants goes, I've given up on that, along with stop buying pots and stop buying vases.

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    1. Island View is less than one mile from Seaside, off the same road. It's had its ups and downs but it's great for small succulents and indoor plants, including basic bromeliads and orchids. It has plants for general landscaping too but generally not the range of specimens Seaside carries.

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  6. Plant shopping is always fun! I know I always mention it, but the Echiums are so special. And I would have been tempted by those ceramic pots, too, although they're too pricey, as you say. But they're beautiful.

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    1. The pots were very nice. I'm hoping their price will come down some day. It could happen!

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  7. A $400 cactus. It must take a long time to baby that plant into the size you showed. I guess if you were a cactus lover you would find the funds to purchase it. One usually does. Those display gardens looked good. I am always surprised by all the blooming of those succulents. Everything looked so colorful. I think that mermaid would look splashing in your garden. Have fun planting your new purchases.

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    1. I expect that's a slow-growing cactus. It was in perfect condition too but still...I keep thinking about the mermaid sculpture. If we weren't preparing for the chaos of a remodel and the garden center was closer (it's about 3 hours away), I'd put it on my b-day wish list.

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  8. I found if I just stayed away from nurseries, I wouldn't buy anything! ;) Once I stop to 'just look' I'm lost. But at least it is one of the healthier addictions.
    Seasides display gardens are well done (drooling). The Echiums are stellar! I love your blue corydalis and the begonia's patterned leaves.

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    1. I hope the Corydalis survives our summer to return and flower again next year. I've planted Corydalis before only to have it disappear.

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  9. Until I saw the price I was hoping the spiral cactus came home with you. Sorry the weather did not cooperate, makes me all the more thankful for the glorious weather Gerhard and I experienced during our time in SB.

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    1. We're socked in again this morning. No measurable precipitation but the pavement's damp and, as we're coming up on noon, our temperature sits at 55F. I consider that weird for late April!

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  10. What a fun trip, I loved all the exotic plants in the garden at Seaside garden,specially the flowering euphorbia. That cactus has a scary price tag, are plants generally expensive in the States? I love the blue corydalis. Of course,you will never stop buying plants. Neither will I. I don't think there is such a thing as Plant Addicts Anonymous to help cure us.

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    1. Large cactus are generally very pricey, probably due to the years and years it takes for them to grow to that size. The spiral cactus isn't commonly available in retail garden centers either so its scarcity is probably also a factor but even I blinked when I saw that price tag.

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  11. Beautiful gardens! Looks like a fun time despite the rain.

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    1. It was a good day, Cindy, despite the dampness. It's been an odd
      spring for us with cooler temperatures - and we've got even more damp weather again this morning.

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  12. Such a beautiful garden...and loved the corydalis....what a garden.

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    1. I'm pretty pleased with that Corydalis, Noelle. My fingers are crossed that it survives our summer to bloom again next year as well.

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  13. That's the thing when the weather isn't optimal - it keeps the crowds away, which is just fine by me!

    I love the Echiums - just wow! As with many plants you showcase, I had never seen those before. I mean that aloe is so unusual! Around here, we have the standard houseplant type but that's about it. And I just want to reach out and touch all the plants in the grasslands....I'm sure there's a word for that but it escapes me.

    I love the rex begonia - the colouration is gorgeous! You can do some real damage to your bank account at a nursery, though - you kept it under control which is commendable :) I'm making a list and checking it twice, so to speak, before I go shopping in another week or so - I won't be able to stick to it, mind you - it's more a matter of how far off course I'll go ;)

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    1. Southern California's climate was made for succulents, Margaret. As drought's became a persistent problem here, buyers have finally come to appreciate their value too. As to my plant shopping, just one of my purchases was on my list but that's pretty much the norm for me - there's no getting away from the fact that I'm a plant addict.

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