My pal Tasha asked me if I wanted to take a little day trip up to San Francisco to visit Flora Grubb Nursery. It was a slam-dunk "Yes"!
So last week, on a lovely late summer morning, we took the 2 hour drive, chatting up a storm, like we always seem to do when we are together. Tasha and I can yak about everything, and nothing...enjoying every moment. For me, the drive is a big part of the fun.
We have done these "nursery crawls" many times, always coming home with plants in the trunk of the car. It's good, clean fun, usually with food involved, as well. This trip included lunch in China Town...always an adventure.
We like to get an early start, so we can enjoy plenty of time in the nursery. There is lots to "ooh and ahhh" over...
In 2003, the nursery began in the Mission District of San Francisco, moving in 2007 to the much larger space, now in the Bayview District. It's been written up in all the garden and design magazines, and for good reason.
|Entering the nursery from the parking area.|
|It all looks so good, especially on a sunny day!|
The place is design forward, in so many ways. It just looks so damn good, and the plant material is heavy with succulents, palms, and grasses. It seems really lush, even though many of the plants featured are drought tolerant, big time. It's a candy store for garden designers from all over the Bay Area, and more.
I'll admit, when I first started collecting plants for my own garden, I was taken with all the wrong choices for our area. I just had to have roses and clematis, and ferns, and foxgloves, old fashioned fuchsias, and, and, and.....We live in an area that is suffering from lack of rain. Always. We are always on water restrictions here.
Over the years I have learned to just say "No" to the lovelies that won't be happy a month, let alone a year, after being planted. Face it, Janelle...you can't have an English garden on the Central Coast of California. Not these days.
So. With a new understanding and admiration of drought tolerant plants, I have changed my garden quite a bit over the past several years. Now I look for color in foliage, and texture, texture, texture. This is a big reason why I love Flora Grubb....
On this trip I was ready for something to replant a shady border with. While looking for the perfect beauty, I sure did enjoy wandering the aisles, seeing a lot of fun options...
|I love these big Aeoniums, all wavy and green. They make a big statement...|
|Though not what I was looking for, I loved this combo with the "stone" balls...|
I believe that is phormium "The Guardian" with the burgundy foliage...
|Great color combination here, and very water wise!|
Leucadendron, Cordyline & Agave, I think...
Besides awesome plant material, this nursery is full of fun design surprises, which I really appreciate. The placement of the plants in their nursery cans are wonderful...it's as though you are walking in a fantastic private garden. No blocks of lines and rows of black cans...here everything is artfully arranged. I always come home with great ideas, along with great plants.
|Hard not to just hang out here in the sun...great pop of color.|
|This fellow wasn't here last time I visited. I love that the|
flatbed is actually a small deck, complete with cafe tables and chairs.... and a staircase in back..!
Anyone who has been to Flora Grubb has seen the car. It just keeps getting better every time I visit, that's for sure. You just kind of come across it, all tucked away in a back corner. Kids must go bonkers over this display.
|Yes, that is a stand of bamboo bursting through the roof...|
|I can't help but look at these plants as a group of wild thrill seekers, tearing down the road.|
That one has it's elbow out the window, right?
|An exploding engine....|
Walking around, I couldn't help but take notice of these beautiful palms, the bark like some kind of cool ceramic sculpture. The nursery is well known for it's palms, and has an in store palm broker. I love the sound and movement of these magnificent specimens.
|Ain't Nature Grand?|
Then there are the succulents. Sigh.
When I was a teenager, I fell in love with succulents and had an impressive collection outside my bedroom. After turning my back on them for years, I have a new found love for them all. Especially now that we travel so much. I can have beautiful borders of care free succulents giving me everything I want from my plants...color, texture, hummingbirds even! All with out much more than an occasional grooming, or cutting back...which just creates more plants to spread around. And minimal watering. A win-win.
Here, they have made the most of the trend in "Vertical Gardening" using succulents in a huge display, maybe 6 or 7 feet square...
|Vertical garden, succulent style.|
|And a close up, of course.|
I really loved this picnic table with it's own permanent "floral" display. A sort of living sculpture, in a way, going right down the center of the table. I'll bet it's gorgeous with little tea lights, at night.
|Sweet little fellers.....|
|Another hanging garden, quite impressive.|
Tasha picked up a few things, and I found some drought tolerant ferns for my new shade border. And in 4" size, which always makes me happy.
I have also been looking for an extra giant pot for my goldfish...we have raccoons that attack the water features, and over the years they have been a real pain to deal with. When I spied the big rustic pot, below, I knew I had found the one...
|Rusty red pot will be a new home for the fishies...|
I'll still have to cover it at night, but I hope this will make it harder for the raccoons to get into.
You have to stop into Flora Grubb, if you find yourself in the City by the Bay...It's a "destination" garden center, for sure. There is a coffee shop and bookstore, plenty of room to just settle into, and loads of inspiring displays to drool over. Plus a fantastic array of indoor plants, really unusual ones...
|Great to just walk around this wonderful nursery.|
The displays in the shop are just as yummy as out in the garden, and on some visit soon, I want to take time for a cappuccino, and a nice sit-down in the coffee shop here. I love all the colorful pots and containers on display. Lots of nice gifts, of course.
|Inside the shop, lots of lovely containers and plants for the house.|
|More greatness in the shop.|
A beautiful display of Tillandsias, an "air" plant they specialize in here, at Flora Grubb Nursery.
I'm happy that I get to go back soon to pick up that big pot. Johnny has never been, and he is going to just love this place. I just hope the sun is shining in San Francisco when we go! It will be just so perfect.