Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Plant Sale!

Don't you love a good plant sale?  While most of our local garden centers remained open even during the height of the pandemic, the special plant sales conducted by many botanic gardens were shelved.  My local botanic garden now has a plant stand near the exit but the offerings can most charitably be described as meager and pedestrian.  Even The Huntington's last plant sale was virtual - people placed orders online and drove to the garden to pick them up but that isn't as much fun as scouring tables of plants to discover specimens you didn't know you "needed."  So, when Sherman Library & Gardens announced it was resurrecting its Plant-o-rama, I had to go.

My understanding is that this event hasn't been held for many years.  It's stated purpose is to support local plant societies and to provide members of the surrounding community with access to plants they wouldn't normally find in local garden centers. 

My friend and I arrived almost an hour before the garden opened to ensure we could find parking.  As the parking lots quickly filled and people lined up at the entrance, we took a spin around the perimeter of the garden, something we don't usually take time to do.

This Agave 'Blue Glow' and its companions were planted atop a brick wall surrounding the back parking lot

The back area of the property had lots of Agaves and Mangaves

The plants out front along the busy Pacific Coast Highway were more colorful

I can't identify this Restio but I thought it looked great with the Phormiums

 

The volunteers and staff expedited entrance to the garden once it opened and the sale tables were quickly swamped.


The Hibiscus Society booth had the biggest crowd.  The plants were good-sized but at $40-60 dollars, I took a pass.  I've already got one Hibiscus in a pot I'm struggling to get to bloom.

The Orchid Society tables seemed relatively bare so I brushed by after a quick look

I focused on the bromeliad offerings.  Great prices but the booth was crowded.

I really should have spent more time on Sherman's own offerings outside the gift shop.  They had a little bit of everything, including a nice selection of begonias, pollinator-friendly plants, edibles and even Mangaves.  There was a fern society booth too but given our water concerns, I gave that a pass.

After I'd made my purchases, I joined my friend in perusing the garden itself.  The garden has a special exhibit going on but I'll cover that in a separate post later this week.   For now, I'll focus on other highlights of our visit, starting with my favorite area, the Tropical Conservatory.

Sherman changes out its plants on a regular basis so there's always something new to see.  I noticed Tillandsias mixed in with orchids this time.

Bloomed-out orchids are regularly swapped for varieties in full flower

I don't remember seeing this chair inside the conservatory before.  It looked like a great spot to take photos.

Closeups of a few things that caught my eye, including the resident turtles

There was an aviary in the conservatory too.  I had some difficulty determining the identity of the birds inside until I noticed the sign describing them as "fancy pigeons."  The two Yellow English Trumpeters were the most unusual.  My friend managed to get a good shot of one of these (upper right) by aiming her camera lens between the bars of the cage.

The Tropical Conservatory wasn't the only area deserving of notice.

How many times have you seen bromeliads like this lining a path?

The Dykcias that used to be in this section have been replaced by a red-flowered Mimulus, adding a fresh punch of color.  I noticed that there was a lot of red and other hot colors in the Sherman Gardens beds at the moment.

A simple but effective combination of Coprosma and Gazania outside the garden's office area (with begonias tucked into a corner)

More red flowers mixed with fresh green plants, including palms and Farfugium (syn. Ligularia)

There were butterflies, including Monarchs, flitting about

And of course no visit to Sherman Gardens would be complete without spending at least a little time in the Succulent Garden.

The Succulent Garden changes less than other areas but I noticed new pots on display


As impressed as I always am by the Aloes, Agaves and barrel cactus, the backlit bromeliad stole the show in this photo in my opinion, making me wish I'd looked for an Aechmea blanchetiana when I was shopping the bromeliad sale booth

I'll come back to Sherman Gardens later this week with highlights of their greenHOUSE exhibit.  As I know some of you will ask, I bought only a couple of plants at the Plant-o-Rama but I'll happily attend again if they hold the event next year.  My friend and I also made a stop at Roger's Gardens nearby as I had a gift card burning a hole in my pocket so I'll wrap up this post with photos of the day's purchases.

At the Plant-o-rama, at a total cost of $10, I purchased a noID Tillandsia and a more unusual Orthophytum 'Gurkenii'.  The latter is a terrestrial bromeliad from Brazil.  The foliage can have zebra stripes but this one is the "snake skin" type.  It produces a bright green florescence with white flowers

At Roger's Gardens, I used my gift card to buy Mangave 'Night Owl' and Dahlia 'Mystic Illusion'


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

29 comments:

  1. Great post--must have been a great morning out.

    Nice to see how SG looks this summer--pretty good! I wonder if a conservatory might be an ideal addition to your property...snuggled down against that back slope of yours that is good for little else?

    I looked long and hard at the 'Night Owl' mangave myself. It's a beauty. Rogers also had a couple of one called 'Center of Attention' that was equally striking. Same dark foliage but with red at the base of the leaves, forming a red center of sorts.

    I've got an Aechmea blanchetiana or two to spare if you want one. They and Leucadendrons are the queens of garden backlighting!

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    1. I would love to have my own conservatory but then water would be an even bigger issue. I've begun to wonder if the best use for my back slope would be to house a large cistern to capture more of the rain on those increasingly few occasions we get it. Of course, I imagine that would involve new ways to capture and redirect the water down there, as well as the installation of a pumping system to facilitate using it on the garden's main level...

      I'd love an Aechmea blanchetiana if you still have it available the next time we're able to get together. I had one at one time, acquired at one of the bromeliad society sales previously hosted by Rainforest Flora, but I kept it in a pot and it slowly declined.

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    2. Will do!

      We did ask that LA about an underground cistern when we first moved in, because that would have been the time to add it, but she basically laughed at us.

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    3. I expect that my city would require permits to put in an underground cistern. Given the hoops we had to go through to push our kitchen out just 5 feet into the existing patio area, I can only imagine the frustration associated with installing a cistern :( I'd be inclined to go with an above-ground tank like those we saw during the Austin Fling, although given our city's "view conservation" ordinance, even that could create a ruckus!

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  2. I love this post! Exactly my kind of event--and the fact that it was held in such a special place made it even better.

    I love that Orthophytum. And your Mangave 'Night Owl' is huge! It looks like it's from San Marcos Growers.

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    1. The Managave 'Night Owl' is a much larger specimen than I usually buy, Gerhard. I first saw it in early April but balked at the price and the size; however, I told a friend about it and she specifically mentioned the Mangave when she gave me the Roger's gift card for my birthday. So, I had to buy it ;) It did indeed come to Roger's via San Marcos Growers.

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  3. One of my favorite gardens that you feature. Perhaps some day I'll get there!

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    1. You must check it out the next time you come this way, Eliza. It's an absolutely delightful botanic garden even though it's very small (about 2.5 acres). Because it is so small, the staff are constantly refreshing the plantings. A friend of mine volunteers there weekly. They have an excellent volunteer program and, even though it's nearly 50 miles south, I'm tempted to join up.

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    2. Sherman’s next volunteer training begins in September, Kris!

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  4. What a great resource to have so close. Every time you show photos of the Sherman Gardens it makes me wish we had more places like this close by.

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    1. Although small, I'm sure you'd enjoy Sherman's Succulent Garden, Hans. The Desert Garden at my local botanic garden, while much larger, is more poorly maintained and doesn't have half the panache.

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  5. Oh, how wonderful with a plant sale like that, centered around plant societies! I bet it's a plant nerd's paradise!

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    1. There was certainly a lot of interest. Both the garden's parking lots were full well before opening and the surrounding streets got parked up too. Some of the most interesting conversations we had with other attendees happened while in line to gain entrance, swapping stories about where to shop for plants during the pandemic.

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  6. Oh how marvellous. I wish I could have come with you. The gardens are wonderful and a plant sale too. What a treat.

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    1. And we were less than a mile from one of my favorite garden centers too!

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  7. A fun event. I loved the bromeliads-lined path (and the hanging plants on the trees in the same photo). The next photo, with the red-flowered Mimulus, struck me because of the tree trunk in the background. It looks like an olive tree! Such fabulous trunk!
    How to I tell between Dahlia 'Mystic Illusion' and Dahlia 'Bishop of York'? I have one of them... not sure which.

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    1. Although I'm fairly certain that the tree in the photo with the Mimulus has been there for a long time, the trunk caught my eye when I viewed the photo as well. I also concluded that it's probably an olive tree but I'll see if a friend of mine who volunteers there can confirm that for us. I've never seen Dahlia 'Bishop of York' in person but, based on the photos I just pulled up, I'd say the flowers of 'Mystic Illusion' are a brighter lemon yellow without any hint of orange in the petals.

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    2. Thanks, Kris. I Noticed the color difference, but I never know if folks manipulate the photos before posting. I will conclude my Dahlia is Mystic Illusion then, as the flowers are 100% lemon!

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    3. Yes, it is an Olive tree! I love its form!

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  8. Oh, how I love a good plant sale and the views here are wonderful. That Agave 'Blue Glow' in the beginning is amazing! Now you’re talking my kind of shopping!

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  9. I'm so jealous! I hope to visit Sherman Gardens someday and to do so during a plant sale would be off the charts. Love your purchases, I've been hunting for an Orthophytum 'Gurkenii... lucky you!

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    1. For some reason, I thought you'd previously visited Sherman. It definitely should be on your agenda. Although very small, it's got something for everyone. In addition to the Succulent Garden, it's got some really impressive passionflower vines (not in bloom during my last visit).

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  10. The restio? Elegia capensis? (or one of the restio species which pretend to be equisetum)

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    1. That looks like a good guess, Diana. I read that it needs "even moisture" so unfortunately it's not a plant that will find a home in my garden.

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  11. Because of the Parlor begonia planting, I was excited to find out Sherman L/G staff had ordered some for the Plant-O-Rama. On Friday, I bought 3 different cultivars of Rex Begonias that I will post to IG. I also purchased a xMangave ‘Aztec King’ and resisted the beautiful and large ‘Tooth Fairy.’
    Your ‘Nightowl’ is beautiful, Kris! I think I will be buying more Dahlias from nurseries in the future.
    Please also let me know if you are interested in becoming a Sherman L/G volunteer. They also have a separate docent program. Their new education department works with both the volunteers and docents. You will fit right in!

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    1. The only thing keeping me from volunteering with Sherman is the long drive, Kay, which as you know isn't my favorite thing. I've reminded myself that I formerly worked down that way, driving in 3-5 times a week, but the current construction on the 405 is holding me back.

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  12. I'm a sucker for green flowers so was immediately drawn to the lime green orchids - and the Night Owl Mangave is gorgeous - perfect pick! I completely agree when it comes to a plant sale experience. While going somewhere to simply pick up a plant has it's place if you need something specific that requires ordering, the real reason I love going to plant sales and garden centers is the browsing. Nothing beats it. Funny how I'm the complete opposite when it comes to things like clothes - I only go when absolutely necessary and want to be in and out in the blink of an eye, lol!

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    1. Ha! I feel very similarly about clothes shopping, Margaret. In fact, if I'm absolutely sure of the fit, I prefer to order online and avoid department stores altogether.

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