by germinatrix | September 3rd, 2009
I am constantly lamenting the state of nurseries in Los Angeles. For such a large city, where outdoor living is SO important, we have a dearth of great retail nurseries. I can count them on one hand – and have fingers left over. BUT, a little hop outside of the city we have some GREAT places to shop, but alas, my mecca is wholesale only. Still, I have to post about it! I LOVE SAN MARCOS GROWERS!
And I’m not the only one … just ask Billy Goodnick aka Garden Wise Guy – but he’s local to the Santa Barbara area, so he’s lucky. Others have to make the trek – and we do! The Minion and I go twice a year – he mans the zippy cart and motors us around the growing grounds at top speeds, I keep my eyes peeled for the plants I MUST have.
We chose so many plants we had to unload the zippy cart three times before we sped in with our last load. It doesn’t matter how many times one visits San Marcos, they keep their inventory so fresh that there is always something new to see. This trip was part of the research and development arm of The Germinatrix, Inc – meaning I was shopping for my garden. I’ve been feeling the need to reach out and experience some new plants – I can’t be advocating strongly for things I don’t know well. Even though there are plants I use in clients gardens that I don’t currently have in my garden, they are in the minority – I’ve grown most plants I regularly use at one time or another. And many of those plants have come from these very growing grounds!
I was looking for specifically for more Otatea acuminata, but when I got there I realized that I have five growing in my rather small garden already, and what am I thinking? The second thing on my list was something fabulously sculptural and variegated – I’d used Cordyline ‘Torbay Dazzler’ in an Elysian Landscapes garden recently, and had fallen in love. But when I got to the area where they keep the Dracenas and the Cordylines, I went absolutely MAD with desire! I couldn’t decide! The Minion was beside himself – he often has to put up with my antics. Even though he is a mere twenty five years old, he’s much more mature than I. With his input, I decided, and we made our way to the next aisle.
One of my issues in my home garden is the screening. I have been a little myopic – dealing with the excitement that is right in front of me rather than the essential background elements; when I look up I want to see green walls baffling my views of my neighbors, their windows, and their rooftops! And instead I see neighbors, windows, and rooftops! I’ve been working on it, but I need something else in the mix – and if I add more otatea I will have a jungle in no time. What else? Hmmmm…
As I was taking a snap of the most glorious field of kniphofia, I noticed the Cyperus papyrus peeking into the frame. Wait a minute! I use Cyperus all the time – it is fantastic and kooky and big. It will do beautifully in both damp conditions and dry (as long as there is some shade – it isn’t a miracle worker!). It will give me a little bit of screening, but won’t totally overwhelm, due to the fact that it is basically pom poms on sticks. The answer!
We selected the cyperus we wanted and bounced off to see the AGAVES! I was so excited – and there were so many beauties! I went to take some photos, and suddenly realized that I no longer had a camera. Huh? Where could it have gone? It was JUST in my hand! One shameful thing I must tell everyone is that I freak out when I lose something. I can’t deal. And losing my camera when I had so many gorgeous agaves in front of me was too much. I whimpered. I ran up and down the rows. I almost impaled myself on an Agave bovicornuta. Thankfully, the Minion found me in a state of disarray and gently guided me back to the zippy cart. What will I do, I asked! I no longer have a CAMERA! I’m a Garden Blogger ! I can’t DO that without a Camera! I can’t AFFORD another camera right now! ( I admit – I was blubbering a little and a tad hysterical) The Minion proved again why he is the minion … he smiled and said it would be okay, and he retraced our path – which freaked me out even more because I could see that other carts were speeding around on the path we were trying to re-trace! Surely my cute little Leica was smashed to bits!
… and then I saw it glinting in the sun. The Minion swooped down and grabbed it (while still driving the cart at top speed), dusted it off, and handed it back to me with another smile. My hero! But at that point I was too frazzled to do anything other than pay for my haul and go eat some tacos with my trusty sidekick.
It was a day full of emotions – I felt ALIVE! And I got lots of great plants! What more can a maniac ask for?