ANPN was our first stop. Jo O'Connell, the owner/operator, isn't generally open on weekends anymore, which makes it difficult for us to visit. A weekday trip would put me on the road during peak commuter hours on both legs, adding hours.
|There's a plaque at the entrance in the shape of the continent of Australia, decorated with koalas. We were met by Wallaby, the official greeter, who asks for a tummy rub as the price of admission.|
|I didn't have an opportunity to ask for an ID on this gorgeous tree-sized shrub but it reminded me of my own Leptospermum 'Copper Glow' - on steroids|
|Some of the sale offerings (left) and the cashier's shed (right). That's Jo O'Connell in the orange shirt in the background.|
|O'Connell and her husband lost their home on the nursery's grounds to the Thomas Fire in December 2017. They're currently living in what was a guest house at the back of the property but plans are in place to start construction on their new home. As a resident, Wallaby was exempt from the no trespassing request.|
Next, we stopped for a leisurely lunch in Carpinteria about a half hour further north.
|Our usual lunch stop in Carpinteria is Garden Market. We eat on the patio and enjoy the sunshine and plants, like this exuberant Leonotis leonurus.|
|We also checked out Porch, just a few storefronts down from Garden Market|
Our next stop was nearby Seaside Gardens, a garden center we try to visit at least twice a year. In addition to offering a broad selection of plants, it has a large area devoted to demonstration gardens. (You can view photos from prior visits here.)
|I've picked up numerous Leucadendrons and Grevilleas here but most grow into large plants and I'm running out of room for more|
|They have a great selection of Phormiums and Cordylines too|
|These 2 horses mark one entrance into the demonstration gardens|
|I was somewhere between the California Native Garden and the Central/South American Garden here|
|This and the next photo were shot in the Succulent Garden|
|This and the following photo were shot in the Grasslands area|
Our last stop was Island View Nursery just one mile away. This nursery is in the process of changing hands for at least the second time within the decade or so we've included it in our regular run. While the nursery has a fairly broad supply of outdoor plants, our focus in shopping there has generally involved the succulents, bromeliads and indoor plants it offers. It's our understanding that the nursery's offerings in that category are about to undergo a major expansion.
|Two views of the indoor plants area, composed of 2 huge quonset hut-type structures|
|As these exterior photos show, the nursery is in the process of adding 3 more structures of similar size. We were told that they would be used to house an expanded selection of airplants and other bromeliads|
So, I had a list of plants I was looking for. I found none of them on this trip, although I came close in one case at Seaside. (Right species, wrong cultivar.) Do you think I came home empty-handed? Don't be silly. Here's my haul:
I'm glad we made the trip last weekend. Our Santa Ana winds are blowing again and there's another major fire burning to the north of us, relatively close to my friend's home, as well as my brother's house. We could smell the fire here this morning even though we're a good 50+ miles away. Wildfires have been a fact of life here but they're definitely more frequent and more vicious than those in my childhood years. The current fire is still only 13% contained with 7500 acres burned. Twenty-five homes in the valley I grew up in have already been destroyed.
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