Pre-Memorial Day outing to Annie's Annuals

Finding myself with some unexpected free time on Thursday, I decided to make a quick trip to Annie's Annuals in Richmond, about an hour from my house. I thought I'd have the nursery all to myself, but I was severely mistaken. Even at 10 a.m. on Thursday morning, there was a line outside the nursery just to get in (because of social distancing requirements, they limit the number of customers that can be inside the nursery at the same time):

Line outside the nursery. Every time a customer left, somebody waiting in line was able to go in.

It took a good half hour to get in, but I didn't hear any impatient grumbling. That in itself surprised me because patience has its limits—I know from personal experience. However, the people I was in line with all seemed understanding and respectful of the restrictions. For the most part, plant people are good people!

OK, no mask. But what about no shoes, no shirt?

Masks are required, and, unless you wear gloves, you're requested to wash your hands as you enter and leave the nursery. The friendly folks at Annie's are doing everything they can to make the shopping experience as safe and yet pleasant as possible.

The demonstration beds were in glorious bloom, and the nursery tables were fully stocked, so this is as good a time as any for a visit. See for yourself!

The demonstration beds are looking as good as ever

Few flowers are as cheerful to me as poppies

Arctotis 'Pink Sugar' (and Agave 'Blue Glow')

Dudleya brittonii

Scabiosa caucasica 'Fama Blue' and Achillea millefolium 'Cameo'

This could be the cover of an Annie's Annuals catalog!

Dichondra argentea and Dianthus 'Pinball Wizard'

Another catalog-worthy planting

Aloe cameronii, Aloe striata, Echeveria elegans

This sign made me smile

Tomato cages as garden art!

Glamor and couture

Floral tapestry featuring Agave ovatifolia

Agave ovatifolia and blue pimpernell (Anagallis monellii)

Agave ovatifolia and blue pimpernell (Anagallis monellii)

Giant mountain carrot (Todaroa montana)

Kool Aid bush (Psoralea pinnata)

Hollyhock 'Mars Magic'

Who doesn't like a good poppy display!

The location book (list of all plants available in the nursery and in which aisle they are) is here. It's a great resource to help you plan your shopping.

Parrot's beak (Lotus berthelotii) growing on roof of the small shed near the checkout area

Lupinus 'Manhattan Light'

Bukiniczia cabulica is an oddity I'm quite fond of. It's a biennial that's supposed to reseed, but it never has in my garden. This is a new batch growing at Annie's. They're selling these in the nursery now, but I'd rather wait until they're a little larger.

Just like there was a line to get into the nursery, there was a line to check out. With the mandated 6-ft. spacing, the line becomes long very quickly.

There's an upside to standing in line: You get a chance to take a closer look at the plants right next to you... these Dudleya farinosa

It was very hard to resist the siren call of these Dudleya farinosa so I gave up and let one jump into my cart. Ditto for Dudleya cymosa.

And here are my plant purchases so I'll be able to refresh my memory a year or two from now. They literally range from A to Z:

Arctotis ‘Ultra Violet’
Aristea inaequalis 
Delphinium cardinale 
Dudleya cymosa 
Dudleya farinosa 
Eriophyllum concertifolium 
Geranium maderense 
Linum lewisii 
Lupinus polyphyllus ‘Manhattan Lights’
Tagetes erecta ‘Day of the Dead Orange’
Tagetes patula ‘Harlequin’
Verbena lilacena ‘De la Mina’
Zaluzianskya capensis 

Full disclosure: I did make a point of buying a plant whose name begins with Z.

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  1. That "Glamor and couture" mannequin is fabulous. Add a pair of wings and you have the world's largest garden fairy :-D
    The Parrot's beak cascading from the shed's roof is wonderful.

    1. I keep looking for a used mannequin but haven't found one yet :-).

  2. I was jealous when I saw your posts on IG (even though I had an order on the way to me). I love the Agave ovatifolia with the Anagallis and may copy that in my own garden.

    1. Seeing how the planting window is almost closed for the season, I was trying to focus on heat-loving plants which might still survive if I put them in the ground now.

  3. Annie's display gardens are quite inspiring. The bright colours of the poppies can't but help put you in a good mood. I have been hungering over Lupine 'Manhattan Lights' but they are so expensive here I have held off. Interesting to hear if it lives up to it's billing in your garden.

    1. Any perennial lupine is an experiment for me since I haven't had any luck with them in the past. I'll keep you posted.

  4. Fun outing! I'm feeling the call of Cistus and Joy Creek again, and would love to make a trip to Annies! Bukiniczia cabulica...I forgot to check for seedlings (all of mine bloomed last summer).

    1. I don't think any of my Bukiniczia cabulica ever reseeeded. Or if they did, I mistook the seedlings for weeds and pulled them...

  5. If I down there I'll buy way too much-I already have gotten 3 mail orders this spring, and 1 more coming. But one has to go to Annies once a year at the very least. I'll get there eventually.

    1. I've heard rumors that Annie's has a new owner. I hope they'll keep everything as is...

    2. The rumor is correct, as of last Friday there is a new owner, but she wants to carry on as Annie's has set it up and Annie will stay on as a consultant at least for the next year or two.

    3. Annie deserves her retirement! I'm glad the new owner doesn't want to make major changes--why mess with success? I assume the name will stay the same?


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