Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Visiting Berkeley Horticultural Nursery

During my visit to Flowerland I overheard a conversation where Berkeley Hort was mentioned as a good source for particular plant. It was described as though it was a good standard, old-school nursery. Of course this made me want to visit and it was conveniently located on the way back towards our hotel, so I stopped...

It was deceivingly large and abutted a bustling Farmer's Market (which made parking a bit of a challenge).

Fun to see the fruit of Feijoa sellowiana highlighted as a selling point. Not so much an issue back home in Oregon.

Echium candicans 'San Bruno Pink'

Who knew there was a pink blooming E. candicans? (okay probably everyone but me)

Lupinus albifrons

I'd hoped to find a couple more of these while we were in the Bay and here were several, plus all California natives were on sale!

Beautiful foliage right?

Something told me I wasn't going to like the flowers though.

Yep! (Euryops pectinatus)

But these, love the flowers and the foliage, Brachysema celsianum / Brachysema lanceolata / Gastrolobium celsianum...

Whatever they're called they're unfortunately only hardy to 20-25F.

Another echium, E. simplex.

If I'd been there in the spring I would have grabbed one, but $15 was a bit spendy for something I wasn't sure I could overwinter successfully.

Metrosideros collina 'Springfire', I love the white buds and check out what it looks like in bloom.

And of course not hardy in my zone! I did find it very interesting most of their signage was using Sunset Zones rather than USDA Zones. Also if you wanted one of those ubiquitous cardboard flats for carrying home your purchases it would cost you, which I kind of liked. I try to reuse mine throughout the season (always have a couple in my car) but still end up with many more than I need.

Pittosporum undulatum

I like the wavy leaves and dark stems, only hardy to 15-20F.

Look at this one, what swoon-worthy foliage! Banksia dryandroides

Do I even need to say not hardy in my climate? (18-25F)

Berkeley Hort had a nice little display garden.

Trevesia palmata
And I had the place mostly to myself, there were other customers, but not many.

Dudleya, D. brittonii perhaps?

This concludes our visit to Berkeley Horticultural Nursery, but not our visit to Berkeley. I've still got several fabulous stops to post about...

All material © 2009-2014 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

31 comments:

  1. That's a nice preview of more things to come from Berkeley, well known for having fabulous plants and plantings! Did you buy any from here?

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    1. Just a pair of the Lupinus albifrons.

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  2. I have questions. What makes a nursery "old-school"? More plants, less "decor" maybe?

    What is it about the Euryops pectinatus blooms that you didn't like? Too daisy-like? I will choose almost any bloom that has a pollinator sitting on it over something more complex that is visitor-free.

    Do you find it frustrating visiting nurseries where the majority of plants are not cold-hardy enough for your garden? (I know I did)

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    1. Old School: yes, that's part of it. Plus a sense of history, and not focused on any sort of cutting-edge "designy" look.

      Euryops pectinatus: I'm afraid so, the bright acidic yellow just hurts my eyes in combination with the powdery foliage - a combination Mother Nature obviously likes since it's repeated over and over on many plants. I'm trying to warm to it.

      Cold hardy: no, not at all. I enjoy seeing all types of plants, even those I can't grow in the ground. There's always the challenge of trying them in a container (which is why I'm currently watching the thermometer in the SP greenhouse and hoping it starts inching upwards soon), growing them as an annual, or just filing them away for "someday" (when I win the lottery and we move to Santa Barbara).

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  3. Wow, that's a great place. I've never been there, always thinking it's just another nursery. But it's on my "to-visit" list now.

    That Banksia dryandroides is super cool. And it would grow here. Will check it out.

    Sunset zones vs. USDA zones: It's common for NoCal nurseries to list Sunset zones rather than USDA zones. The Sunset Western Garden Book is still the bible for most gardeners (and nursery folks).

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    1. Not "most gardners"....but rather gardeners in California. Me thinks.

      And you should check it out, they had a lot of great plants!

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  4. Looks like a cool place. I love old school nurseries. Are you aware of any nurseries near the Huntington that might be worth a visit? Next spring when we go to southern California, I might check out one or two. I doubt if I'll be able to buy anything -- maybe a couple of little succulents that can come home on the train. But it will be fun to see what they sell and how they differ from ours.

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    1. I saw that someone already mentioned this on your blog but there's California Cactus Center very hear the Huntington and Potted isn't too far away either (assuming you have a car). Both wonderful!
      http://dangergarden.blogspot.com/2010/03/california-cactus-center.html
      http://dangergarden.blogspot.com/2012/06/my-visit-to-potted-for-outdoor-living.html

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    2. "old school" very near the Huntington is San Gabriel Nursery 632 S San Gabriel Blvd.

      California Cactus Center is kind of a must for browsing xerics, but they are pricey.

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    3. Oh thanks for the tip on San Gabriel Nursery, and yes, CCC is tres expensive!

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    4. Thanks for the recommendations!

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  5. The first time I ever saw Echiums was at Cistus (of course) and they were towering cones of pink. Alan asked my question (the frustration question) but I already sorta knew the answer. I actually find "window shopping" in other climes soothing: being liberated from the "I want" syndrome and all.

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    1. Oh I still want, that's always an issue...

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  6. Berkeley Hort - as the locals call it - is where I learned to sharpen my gardening skills. I went there nearly every week for the better part of a decade and counted it as a "park visit" for my then toddler daughter. She grew up thinking nurseries were parks! Clever, huh?

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    1. Very clever! Do you think there's a chance she'll grow up to be a gardener, or has your love for the garden sent her in a difference direction?

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  7. Another reason I need to make a visit to NoCal! I love that they list Sunset zones - I've noticed more of this labeling on the plants in SoCal nurseries and garden centers of late too.

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    1. It makes sense, if you can remember them! I so rarely see the Sunset zones that I need to research them every time to see where I fall.

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  8. Another great stop on your fun trip! I'm seeing the roof or your garage being replaced with polycarbonate. It's not hard to do and Andrew is so talented with such things. You'd double your indoor plant storage capability. If The Danger can't go to Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara will come to The Danger!

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    1. We've talked about it, it would be very easy to do. However the neighbors humongous pine tree would block most of the sun, as well as rain trash down on the roof constantly. The house is going to be up for sale in a year or so (if he sticks to plan) so we're hopeful the new owners will remove many of the (too big for the lot) trees like that one. Then...anything is possible!

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  9. Oh my, I don't think I've been to B. Hort in at least two years.Worth a visit for sure .I will say in my experience the Sunset Zones are used much more that USDA zones in California. When I worked in the garden center in San Diego in the olden days we pretty much used them exclusively. The USDA assigns Napa the same zone as Palm Springs, which is a stretch (thank god) and Ft Bragg in Mendocino County. 3 very different environments.

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    1. And Austin and Portland are both USDA Zone 8, obviously not a great indicator of actual growing conditions!

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  10. Berkeley Hort has been my closest neighborhood nursery for the past 25 years I've been living in Berkeley, and right next to my favorite place to get a latte, so a great twofer. So many of my good nursery/landscape designer friends have worked there over the years, including Annie of Annie's Annuals. Always worth a walk through when I'm stuck for ideas on a design project. Flowerland is similar and has connections to BH, and East Bay Nursery and the former Magic Gardens Nursery were the big 3 for decades, but times change, Berkley Hort remains. Smith and Hawkens and Magic Gardens, sadly, didn't. Never would have thought Sunset zones weren't considered more reliable than USDA zones anywhere here on the West Coast. Zonal Denial happens even for us here in Berkeley, I've bought my share of plants at BH which weren't quite up to Zone 17 winters.

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    1. Having a great nursery like this to wander at will sounds heavenly. I made it to East Bay as well (just down the street from where we stayed on University Ave) but it was the last afternoon of our trip and my camera finger was getting tired, not many photos were taken. I'm not knocking the Sunset zones, I just don't get much of a chance to use them, since nurseries up this way stick to the USDA system.

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  11. Yay Berkeley Hort! I've been going there since the 90s, but it's been there since the 30s i think. THAT's old school!
    And it doesn't abut "a bustling Farmer's Market" -- that's Monterey Market, a regular supermarket (well, more produce market) here in Berkeley that overflows produce into its parking lot! and the parking overflows into the neighborhood, because they have such great produce and great prices.
    Somehow I had never heard of Flowerland (always thought it was just a flower shop not a nursery) until your post, so checked it out last weekend, now own 8 new succulents, thanks!

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    1. The 30's, that's fabulous. It was the produce in the parking lot that fooled me, and all the people walking away with armloads of it. Glad you ventured to Flowerland!

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  12. Nice place...must have been a great trip!

    I wish I could find that lupine here. I might have to try seeds.

    I have two--no, three of the Metrosideros 'Springfire'. It is wonderful.

    You are far better off with a Feijoa that does not produce fruit. Most people can't stand them and they end up as rat food.

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    1. It was an excellent trip! I got my first Lupinus albifrons from Annie's, so there's always mail-order (when she has it).

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    2. I love my Feijoa fruit! Indian and South American friends also are very happy when I share. But there are definitely Americans who think that they taste too tropical and don't like them. Unless I use them to make a baked-fruit-topped cake and then suddenly even those people seem to like them just fine. :)

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  13. Great photos! And great plants! Thank you for getting a picture of the plant info for the Swan River Pea! My grandmother had one of these when I was a kid. As a beginning gardener, I could never find one and didn't remember enough about the foliage, etc., figure out the name of it. I am newly transplanted to Sunset zone 18, so this is on my "must find" list! Yay! Plant shopping! There is a gardener's paradise just down the road from here. This will be our first Spring that I can go into Fallbrook, California (*dreamy sigh*) and get plant material! Your blog is giving me so many wonderful ideas! Thanks, again!

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    1. I'm so glad I could help identify a long lost plant robin, and just a little jealous of that Sunset zone 18...

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    2. Lucky to be here! It's great for everything (except peonies and spiral aloe...)!!!

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