Thursday, April 18, 2019

Aloes in Wonderland; gardens near the house

Aloes in Wonderland, a genius name for a rare plant nursery that's located in beautiful Santa Barbara, don't you think? I was thrilled to find it listed as the location for the opening night reception for the recent Bromeliad Summit. Of course I looked at their website, which features a couple of drone fly-overs on the homepage (here). Still, I was not prepared for the sheer beauty and size of the place.

This is both a private garden and nursery, belonging to the Summit's organizer Jeff Chemnick, where theoretically everything happens to be for sale, if the price is right.

Up near the house (the subject of today's post) the plants are in designed planting beds, a garden. As you venture further afield (which we'll do tomorrow) things become a little more like growing grounds, but still completely spellbinding.

Of course Gerhard and I wandered around with our mouths hanging open in awe, occasionally looking at each other and laughing or asking "can you believe this?"...well, can you?

I was there and I still can't quite believe it.

Cycads were the subject of an previous Summit, Jeff has quite the collection.

After I took the above photo we headed down the hillside into a more "nursery-like" area. For today's post I skip ahead to when we had climbed back up—almost to house level—and a pair of greenhouses came into view.

One was full of a mash up of different plants, the second contained mainly baby cycads.

They sure were cute.

Moving towards the back of the house this vignette stopped me...

Tillandsia and cactus, who would have thought?

I was temped to climb the stairs, but I did not.

Orchids, outside, blooming away like it's no big deal.

There was another pathway leading off , back down the hill. I was tempted to follow it, but figured I'd probably already been where it was leading, and dinner (pizza in front the house) was calling.


So many plants...

Another hechtia...


Welwitschia mirabilis, in the tall container.

Agave albopilosa

So darn fabulous.

Hechtia lanata, in bloom.

Maybe Agave potatorum?

Pachypodium of some sort.

I think I was told this is an Agave titanota.

And Puya something or other.

Just a lot of cool spikes...

Of course we know the big guy is an Agave ovatifolia.


When I first looked at this image, for just a second I thought I'd got a Lotusland image mixed in (we were there the next day), but nope. This is still Jeff's home.

The colors!

Yes, that encephalartos really was that blue.

Turning around to the driveway island...

Another pathway!

And another hechtia...

Everything was pristine. No insect damage, no weather damage.

Come back tomorrow for more wandering around wonderland...

Weather Diary, April 17: Hi 67, Low 50/ Precip trace

All material © 2009-2019 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. That Hechtia closeup is mesmerizing. I would have been wandering round in stunned silence. I'm sure it felt like heaven.

    1. It did, and there was a lot of stunned silence too!

  2. Awesome start to your Alice in Wonderland coverage! I was so overwhelmed, I'm surprised I got any decent photos.

    I do wish I'd been able to buy a plant or two but there was too much going on.

    1. Would there have been any room left for me in the car, had you been able to?

  3. ...Hechtia addiction in 3..2..1. I simply must go, so many cool plants. Thanks!

  4. Every image is better than the one before. Even knowing he owns a nursery, this is one fantastic garden. It's really his sense of texture, color and scale that make it so mesmerizing. Plus he does have lots of plants whose size (and pristine condition as you say) make a statement and provide a focal point no matter where you look.

  5. Oh my! A Wonderland indeed. I love the idea of putting Tillandsias into the mix with cactus (not that I have many cacti). I really must find myself a Hechtia - or two.

  6. Can see how you could be overwhelmed by such abundance. An incredible collection of plants especially some of the hectias. Also, those gorgeous gold bromeliads really helped highlight the incredible diversity of plants along the walkways. Wow!

    1. The evening sun cooperated nicely, lighting up those golden bromeliads.

  7. I'm in love! You must have been in heaven. What a magnificient garden.

  8. Clearly a candy shop for cacti/succulent gardeners. I loved the contrasting colors red/orange/yellow bromeliads and the blue/silver greens of others. The vignette at the front(?) with the Agave albopilosa and Hechtia lanata was a total wow! I think I'm now in love with Hechtias!

    1. I certainly left with a new appreciation of hechtia.

  9. Looks like your version of Eden.

  10. I could post a comment for every single fabulous image, but I'll just say: Agave albopilosa -- I did not know such a thing existed! Want!

  11. lordy, that is damn fabulous. I continue to beat myself up.

  12. Spellbinding is a great way to describe it. I think I could wander that place for, days. Wow.

    1. Seriously, it would take days to see it all.

  13. Wow. So many plants, but all so well cared for. Impressive. Most impressive!

  14. No words ... I first saw his place on Instagram and was blown away. Mind blown again! Hechtia now on my list.

  15. The form and texture in these photos is just mindblowing.


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