Friday, October 11, 2019

Fall Plant Shopping

Fall is prime planting season here and, with swaths of my garden trashed over the course of our ongoing home remodel and other areas showing the usual stress imposed by our long dry season, I'm anxious to get to work.  I probably should hang back awhile yet but as the Australian Native Plant Nursery (ANPN) in Casitas Springs scheduled a fall plant sale last weekend my friend and I decided to move up our usual fall plant shopping trip.  For me the drive each way is 3-4 hours, depending on traffic, and half that for my friend.

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:

On the left, are Grevillea 'Poorinda Leane', purchased at ANPN, and Cordyline 'Can Can', purchased at Seaside.  In the middle, all purchased at Seaside, are: Plectranthus cordifolium 'Caroline's Citrine', Daphne odora 'Leucanthe' (yes, I can be nuts sometimes!), and 2 Hemizygia 'Candy Kisses'.  On the right is Begonia 'Escargot', which came from Island View.


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.


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


26 comments:

  1. Power was restored here last night-I was one of the lucky residents that was not affected. Our wind event is over and as it gets later in October I am hoping for the first rains soon.I have not been to Island View in a few years, I should make it a point next year especially considering the expansion. I love that Plectranthus !

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    1. I fell in love with that Plectranthus at first sight! It's interesting that the new owner of Island View is going whole hog on bromeliads. Interesting specimens are generally hard to find down this way. Rainforest Flora is the best local source I've found but I think they're pricey.

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  2. You are a true garden lover to travel that far, but I hear that it is especially beautiful up that way, so a nice day trip (I think I'd have to stay overnight, lol!). I grew a B.'Escargot' in one of my client's planters this year, a lovely plant. I potted it up for her to take in overwinter. Fingers crossed it lives. ;)

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    1. I had a smaller 'Escargot' for years that survived on benign neglect. I'm hoping this one does even better in my shade house.

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  3. What a fun trip, even if you had to drive for so long. Sometimes those adventures are the best. Wallaby looks like the best greeter!

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    1. Wallaby's been very good about extending a greeting on every visit, Beth.

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  4. Well, that's an awesome way to spend the day - and a very nice haul to bring back home too! That begonia is gorgeous. I can't wait until next year when I will try out one or two on the front porch :)

    All the wildfires in the past few years really freak me out - please stay safe!

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    1. The wildfires freak me out too, Margaret, even more so since we moved into a high risk area ourselves almost 9 years ago. The smoke here last night was so bad I went on-line to see if a fire had broken out in our immediate area. What my friends and family are dealing with much closer to the action has to be much worse.

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  5. That sounds like a perfect escape from the construction site and well worth the drive. The gardens are gorgeous.
    I have come across a source of Leonotis leonurus seeds over here. Of course they'll only be an annual for me but worth trying none the less. It's a plant I've been lusting over for quite some time.
    Keep safe. Wildfires are so frightening.

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    1. My own Leonotis is blooming again but it's not nearly as robust at the specimen in a pot in Carpinteria, Jessica. I should try giving my own more water perhaps.

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  6. As soon as I saw Wallaby in that first pair of images I knew where you'd been. And Porch and Seaside Gardens too! Island View Nursery is a new one for me, next time I'm in the area. Those damn fires, we have relatives near both of them, I'm trying not to worry.

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    1. I was hoping we'd avoid this experience this year. The Saddleridge Fire blew heavy smoke our way last night so I can only imagine how bad it must have been closer to the action. The last report I heard is that one's 19% contained and the evacuation orders have been lifted. I'm trusting that the latter action signifies that the firefighters have control in sight.

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  7. That is the most beautiful Leonitus I have ever seen. Had no idea they became so large. Gorgeous plant. Hoping fire season ends quickly.

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    1. I wish my Leonotis would get that big and bushy, Elaine, but my guess is that I'm too stingy with water. As for the fires, the saying here now is that our fire season is a year-round event.

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  8. That sounds a most satisfactory excursion Kris. October is a great month for planting when the soil is still warm. Your new begonia is most aptly named. I'm sorry to read about the latest wildfires.

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    1. The Saddleridge Fire that was sending smoke our way is reportedly 41% contained now, Anna. Firefighters were anticipating better weather conditions today. The winds are still blowing out my way but I hope they've shut down in the fire zone.

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  9. What fun! You got some great plants. Always loved that Begonia 'Escargot' but felt the low humidity here would not support it. Such cool foliage.

    We're going up that way soon on our anniversary jaunt--hope to stop at least at Seaside on the way back. That place expanding their Brom business looks tempting as well.



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    1. I'm currently looking into ways to raise the humidity in my lath house, HB, as dry conditions are an issue here too despite our relative proximity to the ocean. Enjoy your anniversary trip! I expect it'll be months yet before Island View is ready to bring in bring in stock to fill those new quonset huts.

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  10. You are so lucky to have such good nurseries for shopping. I would love to just browse these places. I have grown Escargo begonia before. It is such a pretty plant. I hope you never have to deal with a fire and here is hoping your brother and friend doesn't have any damage. Be safe.

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    1. Oh, Lisa, if only I could limit my nursery and garden center visits to browsing!

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  11. I think about you whenever I hear about wild fires in California. I also hope you have not been affected by the mandatory power outages. But a day spent traveling to plant nurseries? What a fun day and a great way to relieve stress! I would rather shop for plants than clothes anytime! I spent the last couple of days planting over a dozen shrubs that had been patiently waiting for cooler temps and rain to arrive. Fall weather finally arrived about a week ago. It has been raining all day and is actually cold out there. I am wearing a warm sweatshirt. What a change!

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    1. Yay for rain, Deb! The only time I like actually going to stores nowadays is to shop for plants. I used to be quite into clothes shopping but at present all I can muster energy for is an occasional trawl on-line for a new shirt.

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  12. Would love to tag along with you on these garden excursions. Such great resources you have, although that is quite a drive for you. That Leonotis is splendid and I love the begonia you chose.

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    1. Our trips to Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties are always productive - at least for me, my friend is much more selective with her purchases than I am. The trips do make a long day, though. At least the distance keeps my plant shopping somewhat in line!

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  13. Thanks for taking us along for the ride. It's always nice to see what's happening in SoCal.

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    1. It was early in the season for our fall visit to Seaside, Gerhard. I bet they'll have a lot more plants in stock in November, should someone take a winter trip down to see his daughter ;)

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