Showing posts from January, 2024

Hanging out with Nick Deinhart, plantsman extraordinaire

When I was in Santa Barbara a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to spend some time with Nick Deinhart in San Luis Obispo . I’ve known Nick for years and have many of his aloe hybrids growing in my garden, but this is the first time I’ve seen his “playground.” Nick is a consummate plantsman, frequently exploring succulent habitats in Mexico and closer to home. And he is a master grower with decades of experience – and the magic touch. Nick surrounded by some of his aloes and agaves (photo by Justin Thiel) Nick has been working in the nursery business since he was a teen. Currently, he manages Growing Grounds Nursery , a non-profit wholesale nursery in San Luis Obispo that provides opportunities for adults with persistent mental illness. Growing Grounds plants are sold to local nurseries and landscapers; in addition, the nursery is open to the public every Tuesday. Check their availability list to see what kinds of plants they carry. I met Nick at the nursery and he showed me aroun

Santa Barbara Sunday: Franceschi Park

This is installment 2 of “Santa Barbara Sunday,” a special feature running for the next month or so, each installment focusing on a different notable destination in Santa Barbara. When I was in Santa Barbara , one of my goals was to find a great spot with a view. Of course the higher you go, the better the view. The hills to the east of downtown have the perfect topography for that. They’re home to the Riviera neighborhood (see map below), arguably the most sought-after residential area in the city. Named after the European Riviera, it emulates the well-heeled sophistication of the Mediterranean coast of France and Italy. Sitting high above Santa Barbara, the Riviera is typically sunny when the lower-lying areas near the waterfront disappear under a thick blanket of fog. Most homes here are large and stately, built as early as the 1920s, and they rarely change hands. A quick Zillow search showed just two (!) houses for sale in the Riviera ($6.2 million and $15.8 million) and one 0.8