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.
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.
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.
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.
Cabbage tree. I think this is Cussonia natalensis. Every time I visit I mean to ask, and every time I forget.
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.
Isoplexis canariensis, a foxglove relative from the Canary Island, to 4 ft. with orange flowers. Meant to grab one but didn’t…
Annie’s has all kinds of cool passiflora—their web site lists 19 different ones! Unfortunately, most of them aren’t hardy in Davis.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
‘Apricot Chiffon’ California poppy (Eschscholzia californica 'Apricot Chiffon')
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.
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.
Dudleya caespitosa, native to the California coast from Los Angeles to Monterey
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.
Porcupine tomato (Solanum pyracanthum), a cool plant for Halloween!
Phylica pubescens, fuzzy shrub from South Africa. I’ve seen this at the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, and a mature specimen is truly stunning.
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.
Euphorbia lambii, a tree euphorbia from the Canary Islands, to 8 ft. tall. Beautiful even in a container. Hardy to 25°F.
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!
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.
Athanasia pinnata, a silvery shrub from South Africa with chartreuse flowers. This one came home with me as well.
Echium ‘Mr. Happy’, in my opinion not as attractive as…
…the regular Echium wildprettii, of which Annie’s had a regular bumper crop
Popcorn cassia (Cassia didymobotrya), a tropical-looking shrub from east Africa known for its…
…yellow flowers that smell like buttered popcorn!
Cassia didymobotrya flower
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!”
Marigold ‘Day of the Dead’, golden yellow form
These are the massive marigolds you see in Day of the Dead celebrations (to 3 ft. tall and wide)
Dudleya brittonnii in the demonstration garden
Echeveria diffractens in the demonstration garden
Crassula alba var. parvisepala. Looks best when small and flat. Elongates when it flowers, which to me destroys the look.
Aloe tomentosa, possibly the only aloe with hairy flowers!
Banana yucca (Yucca baccata). Extremely hardy to –20°F (yes, that’s negative 20).
Sempervivums packed cheek to jowl
Agave chrysantha, common in the wild in Arizona but rarely seen in cultivation. I have no idea why that is.
Aeonium percarneum, a compact (3x3 ft.) aeonium. I brought one home for my budding collection.
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.
Delosperma lavisiae, mat-forming and cold hardy ice plant
Trio of Aeonium nobile, looking mighty elegant
Octopus agave (Agave vilmoriniana) in demonstration bed
Now take a look at the red mass of flowers on the right
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.
Spotted Manfreda not sure which species or hybrid
Dyckia platyphylla ‘Cherry Cola’ and Echeveria ‘Imbricata’
Silver ponysfoot (Dichondra argentea), forming a beautiful mat in a demonstration bed
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.
Bye, cow, until next time!
Here are my purchases:
- Begonia boliviensis ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’
- Michauxia campanuloides
- Athanasia pinnata
- Ratibida columnifera var. pulcherrima
- Lessertia montana
- Aeonium percaneum
- Cussonia transvaalensis
- Sonchus congestus
I’ll post photos when I plant them. For now I’m keeping them in pots.