Sunday, August 31, 2014

Labor Day visit to Annie’s Annuals

Annie’s Annuals & Perennials in Richmond, CA, one the most iconic nurseries in Northern California, is having a big Labor Day sale. Until Labor Day (Monday, September 2) all plants are 20% off.

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I took advantage of this opportunity for a quick visit yesterday. Annie’s is only 57 miles from my house, and even with a bit of traffic I made it in an hour. The nursery was busy, but not packed, which was just fine by me. The aisles between the tables are fairly narrow, and it hard to maneuver your way around other shoppers.

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Annie’s is huge, and even though I’m familiar with the general layout, I like to wander and explore. I think that’s the best way to experience a nursery like Annie’s—you never know what you might find. This time I came with no shopping list so my entire visit was a treasure hunt. The photos below reflect my dashing back and forth between Rarities, California Natives, Succulents, and a few other areas in between (I did skip Edibles, Shade Plants, Grasses and much of the Annuals).

Many of you buy from Annie’s via mail order because you live far away. But if you can, you should try to make it to the nursery. Prices are lower than on their web site, and many plants that are listed as unavailable online are actually in stock at the nursery. Please note that plants sold at Annie’s generally are in 4-inch pots; the only exceptions are some edibles as well as fruit trees.

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Orange-flowering Kniphofia in demonstration beds along the outside wall—no, this is not a prison, in spite of the scary-looking barbed wire. Apparently the security is needed.

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Marigold ‘Harlequin’

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Cabbage tree. I think this is Cussonia natalensis. Every time I visit I mean to ask, and every time I forget.

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Blue jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia). If I were to plant one of these trees, I’d look for a larger specimen to start out with, but they are difficult to find in nurseries in Northern California.

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Isoplexis canariensis, a foxglove relative from the Canary Island, to 4 ft. with orange flowers. Meant to grab one but didn’t…

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Annie’s has all kinds of cool passiflora—their web site lists 19 different ones! Unfortunately, most of them aren’t hardy in Davis.

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Impatiens niamniamensis ‘Congo Cockatoo’. Look at those flowers! It would definitely be a houseplant for me, and I just don’t do houseplants. Still, so tempting…

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Greenovia aurea, an aeonium relative from the Canary Islands. Very difficult to find in the nursery trade. I’m still not sure how well they’d do in our hot summers—aeoniums are challenged enough.

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Deppea splendens, an intriguing shrub from southern Mexico. Unfortunately, it’s “[t]olerant of only a tiny bit of frost” and “adverse to heat.” In other words, not for me.

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Begonia boliviensis ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’. This one, on the other hand, was for me. Doesn’t Annie’s description sound perfect: “drop-dead gorgeous, non-stop blooming & INCREDIBLY HEAT TOLERANT!” Very large 3-inch flowers, too, in a red that demands to be noticed.

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Beach primrose (Camissonia cheiranthifolia), native to the sandy soils of the California coast. The official flower of Manhattan Beach. Said to be drought-tolerant. I would have bought a few for the front of the perennial border outside the front yard fence, but all I could find was this display plant. The web site lists it as unavailable as well.

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‘Apricot Chiffon’ California poppy (Eschscholzia californica 'Apricot Chiffon')

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Island bristleweed (Hazardia detonsa), a small shrub native to the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California. Knowing how mild the climate is on the Channel Islands, I’m not sure it would live long in the Sacramento Valley.

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Dudleya brittonii, one of seven Dudleya species that Annie’s carries. Every time I see Dudleya brittonii, I want to try again, but I’ve killed at least three. Dudleyas struggle to survive in our hot summers.

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Dudleya traskiae, endemic to Catalina Island off the coast of Los Angeles and endangered there

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Dudleya traskiae

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Dudleya traskiae

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Dudleya traskiae

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Dudleya traskiae

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Dudleya caespitosa, native to the California coast from Los Angeles to Monterey

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Dudleya caespitosa

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Dudleya caespitosa

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Dudleya caespitosa

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Our Lord’s candle (Hesperoyucca whipplei, sold as Yucca whipplei). I don’t think I’ve ever seen seedlings this small for sale. Almost got one, but I’m looking for a larger specimen.

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Porcupine tomato (Solanum pyracanthum), a cool plant for Halloween!

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 Phylica pubescens, fuzzy shrub from South Africa. I’ve seen this at the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, and a mature specimen is truly stunning.

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Annie’s now carries an expanded selection of Proteaceae, including leucadendrons and proteas. Unfortunately, they’re still small seedlings at this point in time. I’m tempted to try a few, but I’ll wait until they’re bigger. This is Leucadendron linifolium.

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Leucadendron linifolium and Leucadendron rubrum

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Euphorbia lambii, a tree euphorbia from the Canary Islands, to 8 ft. tall. Beautiful even in a container. Hardy to 25°F.

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Family jewel tree (Asclepias physocarpa), grown for its hairy seed pods that look like—well, use your imagination. Said to be hardy to zone 7!

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Two beschornerias, relatively rarely grown succulents from southern Mexico and Central America.  Left: Beschorneria albiflora, right: Beschorneria yuccoides ‘Flamingo Glow’

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Michaux’s bellflower (Michauxia campanuloides). The leaves are rough and thistle-like, but the flowers are to die for. Just look at the photo on the right! Native to Lebanon and Israel. Said to be either a biennial or short-lived perennial. I brought one home for the new desert bed.

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Athanasia pinnata, a silvery shrub from South Africa with chartreuse flowers. This one came home with me as well.

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Echium ‘Mr. Happy’, in my opinion not as attractive as…

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…the regular Echium wildprettii, of which Annie’s had a regular bumper crop

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Popcorn cassia (Cassia didymobotrya), a tropical-looking shrub from east Africa known for its…

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…yellow flowers that smell like buttered popcorn!

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Cassia didymobotrya flower

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Sonchus congestus, a sow thistle from the Canary islands that can grow to 5 ft. Check out this photo! One came home with me.

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Euphorbia stygiana, a very rare shrub from the Azores. Annie’s wants you to “[b]e a hero & help to save a critically endangered beauty!”

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Marigold ‘Harlequin’

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Marigold ‘Day of the Dead’, golden yellow form

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These are the massive marigolds you see in Day of the Dead celebrations (to 3 ft. tall and wide)

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Dudleya brittonnii in the demonstration garden

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Echeveria diffractens in the demonstration garden

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Succulent area

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Echeveria ‘Imbricata’

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Crassula alba var. parvisepala

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Crassula alba var. parvisepala. Looks best when small and flat. Elongates when it flowers, which to me destroys the look.

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Aloe tomentosa, possibly the only aloe with hairy flowers!

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Aloe tomentosa

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Banana yucca (Yucca baccata). Extremely hardy to –20°F (yes, that’s negative 20).

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Sempervivums packed cheek to jowl

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Agave chrysantha, common in the wild in Arizona but rarely seen in cultivation. I have no idea why that is.

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Aeonium percarneum, a compact (3x3 ft.) aeonium. I brought one home for my budding collection.

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Puya berteroniana, known for their drop-dead gorgeous flowers. I have one growing in a container, but it’ll be years yet before it will flower.

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Delosperma lavisiae, mat-forming and cold hardy ice plant

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Trio of Aeonium nobile, looking mighty elegant

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Octopus agave (Agave vilmoriniana) in demonstration bed

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Now take a look at the red mass of flowers on the right

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This is the inflorescence of Aeonium nobile! To 18 inches across. Producing so many flowers consumes all the energy reserves of the plant and it dies afterwards, like all aeoniums.

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Spotted Manfreda not sure which species or hybrid

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Dyckia platyphylla ‘Cherry Cola’ and Echeveria ‘Imbricata’

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Silver ponysfoot (Dichondra argentea), forming a beautiful mat in a demonstration bed

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This shrub is a true standout in the demonstration area, but unfortunately, I couldn’t find a label so I have no idea what it is! I’ll ask the next time I’m there.

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Bye, cow, until next time!

Here are my purchases:

I’ll post photos when I plant them. For now I’m keeping them in pots.

18 comments:

  1. Nice purchases, and thanks for showing what's in stock and the Aeonium nobile flower. I was seriously considering the Sonchus for sale at a local garden center just yesterday, but I don't think I'm a thistle person.

    Too bad that Crassula doesn't stay like that.

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    1. What a coincidence about the sonchus. Not like they are that common in nurseries. I hope it'll do well here. I think it'll look good next to agaves and kin..

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  2. Great post, I almost felt like I was right there shopping with you. Almost as good as the real thing.

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    1. *ALMOST*. Except I bet you would have bought completely different plants :-).

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  3. Wow, how I wish I had nurseries like this near me :) they are a treasure.

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    1. Lisa, I'd love to see what kinds of nurseries there are in Peru. Can you do post on your blog?

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    2. I will! I have some pictures of one of them :)

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  4. I hope somebody identifies that silver shrub. I took advantage of the sale and bought athanasia too. This will be my second time, the first trial in too much shade. The dyckia with the ech. imbricata is one of my favorite display beds there. I love the Flamingo Glow beschorneria and would be tempted to bring home a bunch in the small size. Grows pretty fast here.

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    1. No ID on the silver shrub yet. I want one!!

      I hope your second athanasia will do better than the first. I haven't been able to plant mine yet--too hot. It's been in the mid-90s every day this week.

      I have a larger 'Flamingo Glow' and love it. Such a gentle plant compared to the usual suspects!

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  5. We read and hear so much about Annie's Annuals on a regular basis and they certainly have so many beauties! Would love to visit this nursery in the future. And you learn something new everyday, didn't know before that Dudleyas doesn't appreciate the summer heat you have in your area.

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    1. Dudleyas are wimps when it comes to the heat. Plus they have to be kept dry in the summer otherwise they rot. So summer heat + even casual irrigation usually leads to disaster.

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  6. Was the very rare, endangered shrub available at a discounted price? That's the way to make sure people grow it! Some nurseries around me give away milkweed plants for free with every purchase.

    I've always wanted to visit Annie's Annuals, but it bothers me a bit that there are so many perennials too! Maybe I'm just cranky from the roofers pounding overhead all day...

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    1. The endangered euphorbia was 20% off as well, so around $8. I just don't know where I would have put it.

      Well, the official name now is Annie's Annuals & Perennials so you can't complain :-).

      Our neighbors across the street got a new roof earlier this summer and the hammering drove me crazy so I know what you had to put up with.

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  7. What a fabulous selection! One of these years I'm going to get out there and visit this nursery.

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    1. You should! You can combine a visit to Annie's with the UC Botanical Garden in Berkeley, Cactus Jungle in Berkeley, and Dry Garden in Oakland.

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  8. Whats the golden or yellow plant behind the Aloe Tomentosa??? http://lh4.ggpht.com/-E6yCoxA7JLU/VAOP1IMsr2I/AAAAAAAA_xs/idxsUou3ZdY/140830_AnniesAnnuals_112_thumb%25255B1%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800

    thanks!!

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    1. Jesus, I'm fairly sure that is golden sedum (Sedum adolphii). See http://www.anniesannuals.com/plt_lst/lists/search/lst.srch.asp?prodid=3484.

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  9. Thanks a lot!! Have a great Day!!!

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