A friend and I had gotten into the habit of visiting Ventura and Santa Barbara about twice a year, usually in the fall and early spring when summer heat isn't an issue. We both spent our undergraduate years in Santa Barbara and the original trips were mostly exercises in nostalgia, until plant shopping gradually became our focus. Our last joint trip before the pandemic changed things was in late February 2020. My friend, who lives closer to Ventura County than I do, dropped into Seaside Gardens a couple of times without me but we made our first return visit together last Saturday.
Seaside Gardens in Carpinteria was our first stop. In addition to offering great plants for sale, it has a collection of large demonstration gardens to provide inspiration. We spent less time dawdling than usual, possibly the result of residual pandemic anxiety on my part. The demonstration gardens were also looking less than their best, probably due to the exceptionally dry winter and spring we've had.
|This Salvia 'Big Swing', located at the juncture of the Cottage Garden and the Mediterranean Garden, grabbed my attention. The blue flowers were intense.|
|The Grasslands area|
|This photo marks the transition between the Grasslands area and the California Natives area. The purple-flowered plants on the left are Salvia clevelandii.|
|Just beyond the bridge is a virtual forest of Echium candicans. Like those in my own garden, most of the flowers were spent.|
|There was a healthy stand of Romneya coulteri (aka Matilija poppies) opposite the Echium. As I've learned the hard way, this plant demands a lot of space.|
|The Succulent Garden is colorful even when there's nothing in bloom|
|Almost all the Aloes were well past their bloom stage|
|The South African Garden was also short on flowers but, like the Succulent Garden, offered colorful foliage|
|When I visited in February 2020, this area was covered in blooming Osteospermums but there were few to be seen during this visit. Meanwhile, the Leucospermums were finishing up their bloom cycle.|
|This Protea 'Pink Ice' in the South African Garden had only spent flowers. Even dry, they draw one's attention but I'd have liked to see the plant in full bloom. I've had a 'Pink Ice' in my dry garden for over 2 years and have yet to see it bloom.|
Of course, I did shop the nursery as well. It was well-stocked but, other than than Salvia 'Big Swing', there wasn't much new and different that I "needed." Unfortunately, the Salvia wasn't in stock.
|View of some of the sale tables|
|This photo shows only about half the succulents available for sale|
We stopped for lunch, eating on the patio at the Garden Market in Carpinteria, then headed to Island View Nursery just up the road. My friend was in search of a few small succulents and their prices are good. As usual, I fell prey to a Rex Begonia in the houseplants section, also well priced. I grabbed a flowering Gloxinia as well just because I couldn't resist.
|Indoor plants selection|
|Outdoor plants display (Island View has a larger wholesale plant selection)|
|The photo on the left was taken in November 2019, when a cannabis growing and sales operation was under construction. Construction is now complete, as shown in my more recent the photo on the right.|
Next, we headed into Santa Barbara County to visit Terra Sol Garden Center, located in Goleta. It's a relatively small garden center but always loaded with the plants in the smaller pots I favor.
|There are always decorative items that draw my attention|
|I noticed this fellow as we were getting into the car to leave. He was reminding people to mask-up before entering.|
We hit traffic on the way back to my friend's place in the San Fernando Valley and my slog from there home was even worse but it was still a good road trip even if my purchases were relatively mundane. Here's the photo of the trunk of my car before I unloaded it. My most interesting purchase, the Correa glabra, isn't even visible.
|Other than the Gloxinia, Rex Begonia and Fuchsia intended for my lath (shade) house, most of what I bought were small plants like Lantana and Brachyscome to fill in some bare spots.|
The Blogger platform had a major hiccup yesterday, preventing me from loading photos for an extended period so I'm wrapping up this post while I can. I hope you have a pleasant - and hiccup-free - weekend!
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