Showing posts from February, 2024

San Marcos Growers: an epic nursery about to sail into the sunset

The last “official” stop on my Santa Barbara trip in January was at San Marcos Growers (SMG), a wholesale nursery specializing in “plants appropriate to California’s mediterranean climate, including many California native plants, as well as vines, trees, shrubs, ferns, perennials, succulents, ornamental grasses and grass-like plants from other areas around the world.” [ 1 ] San Marcos Growers isn’t open to the public, but their plants are carried by retail nurseries across California and the Pacific Northwest. Over the years, I’ve bought many of their plants at the Ruth Bancroft Garden Nursery , Peacock Horticultural Nursery , and Waltzing Matilija Nursery . SMG’s inventory is huge, ranging from Abelia to Zephyranthes , with a particularly heavy focus on two genera near and dear to my heart: Aloe and Agave . Their current availability list has 60 entries for agaves, including their own introductions like ‘ Thorny Warrior ‘, ‘ Filigree Devil ‘, ‘ Cherry Swizzle ‘, and ‘ Tony’s Tiger

Aloes in Wonderland is pure magic

There are great plants and there are great locations. Our garden has plenty of cool plants, but it’s pretty blah when it comes to location. Some places, though, combine the best of both worlds. And they are magical. Case in point: Aloes in Wonderland in Santa Barbara. The clever name promises a wild adventure, and it delivers. Aloes in Wonderland is plantsman Jeff Chemnick’s home/garden/nursery. Or, as the website says, “a botanic garden where every plant is for sale.” That’s right, everything on the 4-acre property is available for purchase, but there are no potted plants on tables waiting for you. Instead, you negotiate a price with Jeff, and then you dig and haul the plants yourself. Or you bring a landscaper with a truck to do the digging and hauling for you. Depending on the size of the specimen, a crane might be necessary (as you’ll see in this post, many plants are massive). Aloes in Wonderland is located on a spectacular hillside location in the Riviera , one of Santa Barbara