Retail therapy at Annie’s Annuals
Yesterday was a perfect late-winter day—blue sky and warm enough to work outside in a T-shirt. But instead of puttering around in the garden, I decided to give in to the plant-shopping itching that had been plaguing me all week.
It’s no secret that I love Annie’s Annuals & Perennials in Richmond, CA. I’ve certainly written about them plenty of times before (1 2 3 4 5 6). While they’re not exactly around the corner, their selection is so huge that I don’t mind the 60-minute drive (yesterday it was even less because traffic was as perfect as the weather).
I’m always fascinated by the cabbage trees (Cussonia sp.) outside the nursery. I have three different species in pots and bought a fourth yesterday.
Look at the crazy way this cussonia is growing!
The demonstration beds just inside the entrance are undergoing a major overhaul. To my surprise I noticed netting on the sides and on top. I wonder which birds they’re trying to keep out?
The cow looked happy as always.
I wish I could grow dudleyas but our climate is too hot in the summer.
Dudley brittonniii and Echeveria ‘Imbricata’
The area in the back is the “stage” where they hold talks and workshops:
Now let’s walk through the nursery, starting in the succulent section. With few exceptions (fruit trees and roses), Annie’s plants are in 4-inch pots; the label color denotes the price. Seeing a sea of labels in a variety of colors is a cheery sight.
Sempervivum ‘Silver King’
Xanthorrhoea preissii seedling, the tiniest plant I’ve ever seen at Annie’s. Like all Xanthorrhoeas, it’s very slow-growing—so slow that it can probably live in this 4-inch pot for a number of years.
Dasylirion serratifolium, a close relative of the common desert spoon (Dasylirion wheeleri). One came home with me.
Sedum hispanicum with impossibly small leaves
The selection of agaves was larger this time than before. Here are just some of the species available.
Agave applanata ‘Cream Spike’
Agave valenciana, a relatively recently described species from the state of Jalisco in western Mexico. Related to Agave marmorata, it’s a true giant—5-7 feet tall and 10-12 feet across—and quite frost-sensitive. On young plants, the underside of the leaves is purple. I don’t think any other agave has that.
Puya boliviensis. I love how well-armed the leaves are. This plant knows how to defend itself.
Cephalophyllum pillansii, one of an ever growing selection of ice plants that Annie’s carries
Morina longifolia looked interesting
The proteas and leucadendrons tempt me every time but I’ve lost too many of these small starts to bother again
Begonia ‘Litte Brother Montgomery’. While the foliage looked a bit ratty, I couldn’t resist. As we head into spring, there’ll be plenty of new leaves.
Melianthus pectinatus, relative of the common honey bush. I wish I had a spot that’s consistently moist…
Crotalaria agatiflora. I’ve said it before, but I think the plant labels at Annie’s are absolutely fantastic. They sure know how to get your attention. “FOUR FOOT LONG chartreuse flower spikes!” Who wouldn’t want one of these!
Asclepias physocarpa, a milkweed on steroids, with very interesting seed pods
After having resisted the urge to buy one for years…
…and in spite of the fact that the seedlings were very small, I brought one home
I also bought one of these (Papaver atlanticum)…
… and one of these (Kniphofia northiae), next to the Xanthorrhoea preissii above the smallest plants I saw in the entire nursery. I’m hoping it will grow reasonably fast.
Gardeners who are into California (and West Coast) natives would be in paradise at Annie’s. The Natives section is huge. Here are just a few plants that caught my eye.
Ceanothus ‘Joyce Coulter’, a groundcover California lilac
Arctostaphylos edmundsii ‘Carmel Sur’, a groundcover manzanita
Dudleya farinosa, one several dudleya species native to California
Verbascum macrurum, one of ten or so verbascums Annie’s carries. I was tempted, but I’ve never been able to get verbascums to flower in my garden.
As I was walking into the office trailer to pay, I couldn’t help notice the Mimetes cucullatus outside. Even though it wasn’t in bloom like last May, it’s still a stunner. Too bad the small start I bought last year (and paid $$ for) didn’t make it. I think the summers in Davis are just too hot.
And here’s what I brought home with me:
- Agave valenciana
- Asclepias physocarpa (family jewels tree)
- Begonia 'Little Brother Montgomery’
- Camissonia cheiranthifolia (beach primrose)
- Clarkia amoena ‘Aurora’ (farewell to spring)
- Cussonia natalensis (rock cabbage tree)
- Dasylirion serratifolium
- Delosperma nubigenum
- Drosanthemum micans
- Echium webbii
- Encelia farinosa (brittle bush)
- Eucalyptus preissiana (bell-fruited mallee)
- Glaucium flavum (yellow horned poppy)
- Kniphofia northiae (octopus red hot poker)
- Papaver atlanticum (Moroccan poppy)
- Senecio serpens (blue fingers)
Some of these will go in the new succulent mound that will replace the front lawn, others in the desert bed, and the rest in pots or in the backyard.