Visit to Waltzing Matilija Nursery

In April, I mentioned that East Bay landscape designer and plantsman Troy McGregor was opening his nursery, Waltzing Matilija, to walk-in customers every Friday and Saturday through July 8. (Here is my post in case you missed it.) Last Friday, my friend Michele and I made the 1-hour drive to Pittsburg to pick up some plants Troy had put aside for us. That gave me the opportunity to take photos of the display garden and of the nursery itself.

Waltzing Matilija Nursery is hard to miss as you drive down Central Avenue in Pittsburg: Just keep an eye out for the display beds on both side of the entrance. Troy installed them less than two years ago as a showcase for drought-tolerant plants, and they’re filling in nicely. The plants are a wonderfully eclectic combination of succulents and Australian and South African natives. (Troy is from Australia and propagates many rare plants from Down Under.)

The display garden is a living business card for Troy’s business, advertising to potential customers that they, too, could have a garden like this.

Aloe tauri

Mounds add different heights, and rocks create planting pockets to highlight particularly showy plants.

Opuntia sulphurea and Agave victoriae-reginae

Aloidendron ‘Hercules’ (left)

The agave in the center is Agave ovatifolia

Cleistocactus straussii (left), Trichocereus terscheckii (right)

The beds inside the fence, in front of the building that houses Troy’s office, are heavy on Australian and South African shrubs:

The flowering shrub in the back is Leucospermum reflexum, the one in the center Leucospermum ’Don’s Red’

Leucospermum ’Don’s Red’

Dioon argenteum, a cycad from Mexico, with Phylica pubescens (top right) and a hybrid aloe (bottom right)

Aloe marlothii

Athanasia pinnata

The shrub on the lower right is an Easter egg bush (Eremophila racemosa)

Its flowers start out as yellow buds, deepen to orange, and eventually turn pink and purple as they mature

Wider view

Some photos of the nursery proper:

This enormous white flower leaped out at me. It’s Protea ‘Arctic Ice’. It probably wouldn’t thrive here in Davis, but if I had a larger garden, I’d give it a try.

Protea cynaroides

Protea cynaroides

Landscape-ready shrubs in 5 gallon size and up

Selection of shrubs and perennials in smaller containers

Australian shrubs propagated by Troy and hard to find elsewhere in the US

Selection of banksias and dryandras (now part of the genus Banksia)

Grevillea ‘Austraflora Fanfare’

Another display bed in the nursery area

The plants on the right are mostly succulents, many of them available in larger sizes

Dudleya brittonii

20-gallon Aloidendron ’Hercules’

Flowering plants, too, like these Begonia boliviensis ’Santa Cruz Sunset’

Among my purchases was this prostrate globe mallow from Argentina (Sphaeralcea philippiana):

Sphaeralcea philippiana in Troy’s display garden

Sphaeralcea philippiana

Remember that huge Protea ’Arctic Ice’ flower? Here’s Troy himself to give you a sense of scale:

Protea ‘Arctic Ice’ really does have a massive flower

Waltzing Matilija Nursery is located at 375 Central Avenue in Pittsburg, CA (here’s a handy Google map). The nursery is open every Friday and Saturday until July 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will be closed to walk-in customers through summer but regular hours will resume in the fall.

If you want to sign up for Troy’s mailing list or see the current availability, go to this page on the Waltzing Matilija website.

© Gerhard Bock, 2023. All rights reserved. To receive all new posts by email, please subscribe here.


  1. I've never seen the prostrate globe mallow from Argentina (Sphaeralcea philippiana) before. I wonder if it would survive here since other globemallows do so well. I assume he normally sells to landscaping businesses?

    1. I've never seen Sphaeralcea philippiana anywhere else either. Troy got a couple of plants from a nursery a few years ago and has begun to propagate it. It's a wonderful alternative to the much bigger S. ambigua.

    2. Let us know how it does in Davis please.

  2. Thanks for sharing your visit. I'm SO envious that you have a nursery like this relatively close by. Our closest equivalent, ANP in Casitas Springs, is now open only by appointment and only M-F when the traffic is less than hospitable.

    1. Troy and Jo of Australian Native Plants trade material at least occasionally :-)

  3. Love these specialty type nurseries where the plants are more unusual and less mainstream. Once your garden is up and going shopping for treasures like the ones at Waltzing Matilda allow you to create something unusual and interesting. Love that Banksia

    1. I was at a "regular" nursery yesterday and I quickly became bored with the same old plants. That's what I love specialty nurseries like Troy's.

  4. Thank you for sharing this special place. I visited the first weekend it was open to the public, and intend to go again before it closes in July.


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