Friday, April 12, 2024

Ventura Botanical Gardens

I visited the Ventura Botanical Gardens as part of a trip to Southern California last November.

This was my second visit, the first was back in late 2015 (coverage here). Back then I was surprised by how the sad the plants looked as a result of the record drought the area had been dealing with. Unfortunately things got even worse in 2017 when the Thomas Fire hit the area, as a result the garden closed. This current version of the garden (reopened in late 2018) is much improved and looks to be on its way to great things...

Our visit (me + my sister-in-law, niece, and mother-in-law) started at the welcome center, which doubles as a small nursery and gift shop. 

Love the containers and plants out front... well as the colorful pots for sale inside. Behind the fence was an off-limits nursery area, it looked to be full of plants getting ready to be planted out in the garden.

Follow the flower pathway...

Jubaea chilensis, aka Chilean wine palm

I didn't catch the name of these cactus, but no doubt they'll grow up to be a nice extension of the rock wall.

Love the rock and metal work...

This scene reminds me very much of my first visit. Thirsty plants!

Puya coerulea (I believe)

Lobelia excelsa (Tabaco del Diablo)

The foliage on the left reminded me of fabiana, we'll see more of this in a bit.

Puya chilensis were everywhere...

I never did see signage for the pink succulent that carpets large areas of the garden.

Cordia decandra

Eulychnia acida

Didn't see a name for this spiky character.

You're rewarded for the climb with a nice view of Ventura and the Pacific Ocean.


Here's more of the plant I thought looked like a fabiana, turns out it is! Fabiana imbricata, aka pichi.

Quillaja saponaria, aka soap bark tree. Love those seed pods...

Larrea nitida, love those leaves.

Starting our descent now...

A close up of the pink succulent, it's definitely experiencing drought stress. Or maybe I should say it was last November when I took these photos, I know the area as gotten rain in the months since that visit.

Hopefully this sea of sad kalanchoe has perked up too.

Although the condition of the plants wasn't stopping them from producing their beautiful blooms.

Back down at the visitors center/gift shop we shopped. I was mostly interested in their wheeled carts...

Fabulous, but to big to get home.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2024

'twas Hortlandia

As I wrote in Monday's blog post, last weekend was Hortlandia, the spring plant sale which brings many of our Portland-area nurseries together under one roof. Today I share my haul, mainly because I love to look back on these posts and see what I bought each year. Here's a group shot before I took them out of the car...

On the far left, Fuchsia procumbens. 

Last year was the first time I grew this plant (check out the crazy blooms and berries), and based on what I read online I thought it wasn't hardy here and thus an annual. Nope! My plant is coming back from the roots so I thought I'd buy another and see what fun I can have with it.

I bought a pair of small Cassiope lycopodioides at the sale last year and they're still alive.

I celebrated that feat by buying two more this year.

I've always loved the foliage of Sanguisorba officinalis 'Chocolate Tip'.

And my fellow Portland-gardener Scott Weber frequently shares sexy photos of its blooms (here), so I finally had to grab one. This wasn't a Hortlandia find though, I stopped at Blooming Junction before Hortlandia, since I was nearby and had a 30% off coupon...

I mean how could I pass it up?

I only bought two plants from Illahe (a nursery I carried on about in Monday's post); a pair of Draba hispanica.

"Creeping, mat former for wall planting, rock garden/alpine garden. Yellow flowers in early spring. Spain" Look at that foliage!!!

When one sees a $4 saxifrage, one has to grab it.

Especially when it has many babies gathered round. 

Shopping the Sebright Gardens booth this fern caught my eye. It's impossible to capture just how black the stipe appears in person. That's why I grabbed it as soon as I saw it, for a moment I thought it was my long lusted for Dryopteris polylepis—a fern I visit at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden every time I visit, but no.

This one is Dryopteris cycadina (aka shaggy wood fern or shaggy shield fern, which is tremendously fun to say).

If I needed another reason to buy it (which I didn't) it would have been this from the Missouri Botanical Garden website description: "Specific epithet is in reference to the resemblance of this fern to the cycads." 

Of course the fact several people stopped me to ask what it was and where I got it also told me I'd nabbed a good one.

Speaking of that (a question inducing purchase), this Cyrtomium macrophyllum (large leaf holly fern) from Secret Garden Growers was a HOT ticket at the show, I was thrilled to score one.

This little cutie was also from SGG...

I'm still on an epiphytic fern binge and it's all the better when they just might be hardy in the ground here.

Friends I saw at the show expressed surprise that I only purchased a single flat of plants, but I assured them I had been shopping A LOT already this year. In fact I bought this choice Hakea microcarpa just the day before at Xera Plants.

"Unusual tree/shrub from alpine areas of Australia into Tasmania with spiky modified phyllodes as leaves. The spiky leaves are blue green and it forms an airy conifer like large plant very quickly. In spring flossy white flowers crowd the blue green leaf axils and are showy for several weeks. Full sun and average to poor well drained soil. Little summer water once established...Proteaceous- do not fertilize or even add compost. Un amended native soils are ideal. Very attractive to birds who will use the leaves as perches. Humming birds love this plant in bloom as well...Great on slopes. Casts no shade- great textural element year round...Pronounced HAY-kee-uh." It's going to go where one of my Callistemon "Woodlander's Hardy Red" was (a winter loss). 

Have you been plant shopping this spring? If not... get out there!

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All material © 2009-2024 by Loree L Bohl. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.