After weeks of spring storms, we're elated by every warm golden ray of sunshine. And we have a secret for you: Our store is the warmest place in the city. The nursery is stocked with amazing plants and perhaps our best container selection ever. We're ready for your spring garden fever!
Three Talks with the Best in the Business
To celebrate the season and inspire you, we're hosting three events with some of our favorite garden writers and plant geniuses.
Tomorrow's Garden – Talking with Stephen Orr
Sunday, April 17, 11am
I will be talking with one of my favorite garden writers, Stephen Orr. Join me and Stephen to discuss inspirations for your sustainable garden. Stephen will charm your socks off with his wit, practical tips, and poetic insights.
Sustainable equals dowdy? No way! Stephen will alter your preconceptions.
This Acacia stenophylla presides over a chic composition of clipped
topiary and a fabulous agave. Photo by Stephen Orr
In particular we'll be delving into the efforts of independent garden retailers to give customers what they need to garden sustainably, and we'll be talking about what you can do as a customer to shop smartly. Stephen is the author of a new book, Tomorrow's Garden: Design and Inspiration for a New Age of Sustainable Gardening, and is also the gardening editorial director for Martha Stewart Living. If you have not seen his marvelous book yet, we'll have plenty on hand for you to thumb through and purchase.
Stephen Orr's book, Tomorrow's Garden, features our friend Emmanuel Donval's amazing (& amazingly sustainable) Napa garden. Photo by Stephen Orr
Look at the vivid, low-water color in this Jay Griffith garden: Mexican blue palm, coppery Euphorbia cotinifolia, & red kangaroo paw. Photo by Stephen Orr
A Rock Star of the Plant World Reimagines the California Lawn
Saturday, April 23, 11am
Replace your lawn with this lavish swath and you'll hardly feel you've given anything up. Photo by John Evarts
We're psyched to have Dave Fross, from Native Sons Wholesale Nursery, speaking here about his new book, Reimagining the California Lawn. Emily Green, who writes the LA Times' authoritative column, "The Dry Garden," assigns him and his co-authors (Carol Bornstein and Bart O'Brien) "close to rock star status in the Golden State." Dave and his team grow some of the best plants we sell here at the nursery, and he's going to talk about tons of stylish ideas and plants for reworking the lawn space in our dry-summer gardens.
Minimizing your lawn maximizes your options for texture, color, and elevation.
Photo by John Evarts
This grassy succulent spread takes much less effort, water, & chemicals than a lawn, and delivers way more beauty! Photo by John Evarts
New, Beautiful Trees for California Gardens
Sunday, April 24, 11am
The very next day, we're welcoming Matt Ritter from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to talk about trees!
Small, choice, non-invasive eucalyptus are stylish garden trees.
Photo by Matt Ritter
We're campaigning this year to get you more interesting trees for your garden and Matt's new book, A Californian's Guide to the Trees Among Us, is a concise, colorful guide to all the beautiful and unusual trees you can grow in this state. Matt will also be bringing some very rare, very suitable trees to discuss and sell and he'll answer your questions about trees you've been curious about and choosing tree species for your garden. Look for Matt's new column on trees in Pacific Horticulture, "Striving for Diversity."
Bees and birds love the blooms of these exquisite fuzzy eucalyptus flowers.
Photo by Matt Ritter
A scrappy denizen of the Chihuahua Desert, red yucca pushes up charming eraser-pink flowerstalks that produce clusters of tubular flowers along the way – like a fairy's wand. It blooms in our cool coastal climate as long as it gets sun and good drainage. Its dark evergreen leaves are like grass carved out of shoe leather. No amount of cold in lowland California will kill it and drought doesn't faze it.
We just love the contrast of peach against gray.
Photo by Far Out Flora
Yowza, this succulent shrublet looks amazing year-round, and throws in a bonus of showy upside-down orange flowers; it's best in coastal and mild hillside Bay Area gardens, although we've seen it grown with a little protection in parts of Napa and Sonoma.
Ceanothus: The Blue Wonder
Ceanothus sorediatus, from Mt. Diablo: Isn't it just heavenly?
It smells like honey. Some people call ceanothus "California lilac."
Blue and gold are our state's colors. If poppies and goldfields are inspiration for the gold, then ceanothus must be inspiration for the blue. Beautiful, easy, drought-preferring, and a pollinator's favorite, our native "blueblossom" shrubs range from pancake-flat evergreen (ever-variegated) groundcover (Ceanothus griseus 'Diamond Heights'); to medium shrubs covered in deepest blue blossoms (C. 'Dark Star'); to big, blowsy shrubs in gray-blue and sometimes white (C. thyrsiflorus); and small amorphous trees that seem to cycle in and out of bloom (C. 'Ray Hartman') through the year.
They are the Grand Central Station of native wildlife when in bloom, attracting all the right bugs to your garden, plus they contribute nutrition when they decompose thanks to their ability to make friends with soil microbes and fix nitrogen from the environment. The drier you keep them, the longer they live. (More water produces faster growth and shorter life.) Some can be good informal hedges.
A fresh truckload of Japanese maples from Oregon has arrived. We have some of the choicest Acer palmatum cultivars, other pretty deciduous trees, and a selection of gourmet conifers, too.
We Keep on Growing
Saul Nadler, Flora's business partner, and Susie Nadler, our Cutting Garden floral designer, welcomed these two beauties in January. Incredibly, Susie is already working on a few upcoming events, but keeping it light. You'll find Iris and Jonah hanging around the gardens a lot in the coming months. Right now they fit really nicely in a couple of one-gallon pots.
Join Us on Facebook and Twitter
It's just like neighbors chatting about their gardens over the fence, but digitally. Please join us on Facebook and Twitter.