Thursday, April 11, 2019

La Conchita, CA, our home base for a few days

If you follow my Instagram feed then no doubt you're aware I spent part of last week in California. I flew into Sacramento on Thursday and Gerhard and I visited the Ruth Bancroft Garden. Friday morning we were up on and on the road headed south to Santa Barbara, for a 3-day extravaganza billed as the Bromeliad Summit. We stayed at an Airbnb in La Conchita, a small community about 16 miles south of Santa Barbara. This was our home base...

Strelitzia nicolai towered above the house.

And tall papyrus happily grew in the pond just outside our apartment door.

In addition to several colorful fish the pond was also home to a pair of turtles.

If we'd had the time we certainly would have enjoyed morning coffee here, in the garden...

...surveying the lost sunglasses art installation (morning dew obscured my photograph)...

...and the garden itself...

Strelitzia reginae

Unfortunately we did not have the time, our weekend was tightly scheduled. We did however eek out about 15 minutes one morning to walk a couple of streets and soak up the beachy-atmosphere of this tiny community.

But let me back up. This sign greets you when you pull off Highway 101, the only entrance into, and out of, the area.

Our Airbnb hosts told us about the landslide the sign refers to (more here) and about just how close recent fires came to taking their homes (here). Living in paradise comes at a cost.

Thankfully I was so tired each night when I crawled into bed there was no time to worry about ecological disasters during our visit.

Let's get back to our sunny morning exploration, shall we? This is the view standing in the street, in front of our Airbnb. You can see a smidge of the highway, then beach and the Pacific Ocean.

I joked that this is the only place I could ever afford to live in the area, but it's actually not a joke. Santa Barbara has such high real estate prices the number of people living in trailers and tents is off the charts.

Most every home had a garden of some sort, and there was plenty of garden art...

This house was quite fancy compared to some of the others

Corner view...

I wonder what's behind the wall?

This is what's outside the wall.

Across the street was a house with a boat in an old tree "stump". Naturally there were humongous staghorn ferns too.

A better look at the boat.

Same house...

Since we were in the area to learn more about bromeliads it was great to see several here in La Conchita.

Happy times living at the corner of Surfside and Sunland.

The strip along Highway 101 was planted up with lots of wonderful things. It must be a community effort.

There's an underpass tunnel that takes you under the highway to the beach. Can you believe we didn't even have time to visit the beach?

I wonder what interesting things she's seen?

Variegated Agave attenuata...

Firesticks in an old boat. I wonder if there's a metaphor there somewhere?

Every seaside planting needs a cement seagull, right?

OMG! That cactus and pot pairing!

More bromeliads...

The one gas station in the community closed several years ago, there are no other commercial establishments.

But there are brugmansia trees...

And agaves at the on/off ramp to the highway...

Weather Diary, April 10: Hi 54, Low 47/ Precip .09"

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


  1. You totally captured the spirit of La Conchita! What a weird and wonderful community it is. To think I've driven by there so many times over the years, never knowing it had a name (as well as only one freeway entrance/exit).

    Our road trip was epic, wasn't it? Looking forward to our next adventure!

    1. It was an epic adventure! Thank you for all the fun!

  2. Very much looking forward to reading the rest of your posts about this epic trip. Your Air BnB looked like a great place to stay, and the little community has so much personality.

    1. So much personality! I wish we could have spent a little more time there.

  3. You picked a great place to stay, at least as long as landslides and fire weren't an immediate threat. The 2005 landslide there is indelibly seared in my memory but the areas shown in your photos suggest the community is thriving once again. The boat in the tree is a kick but I like the heron sculptures mounted on the roof even more.

    1. Those disasters must have been terrifying. Knowing the area's past makes the land more affordable I've been asking myself if I would chose to live there. It's a tough question.

  4. Very funky California feeling. I am surprised given the housing market that someone hasn't remediated the gas station and turned in into housing. Not easy or cheap, but what a location.

    1. Maybe there's hope of keeping it commercial? A small store?

  5. One place my friends have recommended to see, but we haven't been to yet. Love the surfing vibe. I don't think I'd be comfortable living with that sign warning of grave danger -eek!

    1. Oh definitely go check it out! But yes, that sign is rather ominous...

  6. What's a little landslide/fire/tsunami danger compared to living every day in this interesting paradise? Dig the columns at the gas station!

    1. Well I guess I know what your choice would be!

  7. I love that you stayed here-this little enclave has been a favorite roadmark on 101 since I was a little kid -it meant we were almost to Santa Barbara , and the Sea Captain Motel which was pink stucco and had a swimming pool. The Sea Captain is long gone but La Conchita lives on.

    1. The Sea Captain was in La Conchita? Or another roadmark along the way?

  8. Ah ha! You're in my old stomping ground, and you should be fined for not having visited the beach. It's one of the best. La Conchita has such a special microclimate that allows for bananas and there used to be, or maybe there still is, a banana farm. Great pics, as always Loree. :)


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