Friday, May 28, 2021

On the road again...

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

My friend and I used to visit the Australian Native Plants Nursery in Ventura but it's no longer open on weekends; however, Seaside stocks a small number of ANPN's plants.  I purchased a Correa glabra 'Coliban River' that sports green fuchsia-like flowers from this display.

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

Small succulents

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.


Sale tables



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 GloxiniaRex 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!


All material © 2012-2021 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party



20 comments:

  1. Yay for plant shopping with friends, what a wonderful way to easy out of restrictions. Glad you found some plants you "needed".

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    1. I think I was very restrained with all my post-vaccination plant shopping trips to date. It would only be shocking if I left a garden center empty-handed ;)

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  2. Such a great day trip and one that I need to do myself again soon. Had to check into that salvia and find it's a hybrid from none other than Betsy Clebsch herself. But I'm swearing off the big tropical salvias again, at least for this year...

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    1. It does look like that Salvia needs plenty of water to thrive, Denise, which generally makes the purchase a no-no for me but those blue flowers were incredible...My friend bought a plant (at Seaside) earlier this year and she's already having trouble keeping it happy. If it manages to make it through the summer in her even drier, hotter garden, I may ask for a cutting.

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  3. Thanks for allowing us to experience your plant shopping trip with your friend. It’s wonderful to be able to do this again. I look forward to seeing your Correa glabra 'Coliban River.'
    I also stopped by Seaside very briefly on my way back home last Sunday. I noticed a number of plants I could have purchased including Correa ‘Ivory Bells’ and Dorycnium hirsutum in smaller containers but I decided to wait. The car trip to Carpinteria or even Santa Barbara from our home is <1.5 hours without traffic, so I intend to make a plant shopping trip when I’m ready to plant in the landscape again. Thank you for introducing us to other great nurseries! Happy weekend, Kris!

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    1. You must drive faster than I do, Kay! Admittedly, stopping in the SF Valley adds time to my trips. My trip from my friend's house in the Valley home took me 1.5 hours late Saturday afternoon.

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  4. Love these sort of trips, plant shopping with friends :)

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    1. It's one of the best ways I know to spend a Saturday!

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  5. What a fun trip, and it looks like you went home with some lovely plants... I'm going to buy me some Salvia 'Big Swing' ASAP. It's a WOW plant--Thanks for photographing it.

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  6. By the look of your trunk it was a successful day.

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    1. Only the Correa was really unusual but it's nice to be able to fill in some of those blank spots in the garden too.

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  7. Thank you so much for taking us along on this wonderful adventure. I love it all!

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  8. How I love those blue CA skies. The light is so special there. Equally gorgeous is that blue Salvia, a true blue.
    Great shopping trip, from the looks of it.

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    1. The weather was perfect, Eliza. The only disconcerting element was how dry everything looked in the demonstration areas at Seaside Gardens. Ventura/Santa Barbara clearly did no better than we did in the winter rain department.

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    1. Plant shopping almost always provides a little slice of happiness.

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  10. You have to love plant shopping no matter what you find , and you two found some fun plants ! I haven't been to a nursery in so long I think I would be overwhelmed and want EVERYTHING ! LOL

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    1. Actually, I've felt overwhelmed at each of the garden centers/nurseries I've visited since we began to return to normalcy. In my case though, it's caused me to freeze up with indecision, which is very unlike me! I'm sure it's a passing thing...

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