October Newsletter

The nursery has been bustling with fall planting on gardeners' minds. Savvy customers are shopping while availability is high. Check out our current inventory for possibilities for your garden. Inventory.  Popular flowering perennials are moving fast, but many favorites are still available. Our shrub availability remains strong with lots of choices in the various categories.  
Last month we talked about our selection of Ceanothus commonly called California lilac, which offer everything from low-growing ground covers to large, upright, evergreen shrubs. Popular cultivars as well as hard to find species and varieties are available now in one gallon sizes.

This month we want to highlight our manzanita selection, a genus we adore. Manzanitas are admired for their beautiful form and structure, colorful sculpted bark and delicate urn-shaped blossoms followed by fruits resembling tiny apples. There are ground cover, midsize and upright forms of manzanita. We have popular cultivars such as the ground cover 'Emerald Carpet' and the dependable upright growing 'Howard McMinn'.  We have many lesser known species and cultivars of manzanita to choose from as well. 'Carmel Sur' is gaining popularity as a ground cover, growing 1 - 2 ft. tall and spreading 6 feet wide. Not much in the way of flowers, it is a strong, dense, weed smothering grower. Reaching 2 - 3 ft. tall and a minimum of 6 ft. wide, consider 'Pacific Mist' with its sage-green foliage and dense weed smothering growth habit. A medium size favorite mounding 3 - 4 ft. tall is 'John Dourley', offering coppery-red new growth and a long bloom season of pink flowers. We are pleased to have a large crop of Arctostaphylos 'White Lanterns' in one gallon pots. Thanks to James Lockman for providing the original cuttings and encouragement to grow this rarely seen Santa Barbara Botanic Garden introduction. Check out James comments on our website which make this manzanita hard to resist. As for taller forms we have a nice assortment of manzanitas to choose from. There is the elegant 'Louis Edmunds' with its slender branches of gray foliage and dark pink flowers. Arctostaphylos 'Sunset' has proven to be a willing grower, flourishing here at the nursery on our heavy clay soils. It has bronzy new growth and an abundance of light-pink blooms and rusty colored fruits. Arctostaphylos 'Lester Roundtree' is uncommon in the trade and well worth growing. Bronzy new growth and beautiful gray, wedge-shaped leaves are a perfect foil for the unusual coral-pink flowers followed by shiny red fruits. This upright shrub has a nice open branch structure offering a dramatic and picturesque form which lends itself to artistic pruning. We have a few different selections of Arctostaphylos manzanita, a stout upright species with smooth reddish bark and large clusters of flowers and fruits. This picturesque species is well adapted to heat and drought. Some of ours are cuttings collected from an individual shrub with attributes such as foliage or flowering traits we find attractive. Others are grown from cuttings collected over a large area, capturing a range of traits expressed within a population.

Matilija poppy is one of those holy grail plants that many gardeners seek. Customers share their sad stories of how many times they planted this beauty only to end in failure. Ironically, once you succeed in establishing this giant poppy it can be hard to stop, exuberantly spreading by underground rhizomes to form large stands. Show stopping, pure-white crepe-papery petals with a large central shaft of yellow stamens begin their display in early summer.  Our best advice is to plant them in the fall where they can settle in during a cooler season, taking advantage of winter rains to help them establish. Often Matilija poppies are available in the trade when they are blooming in the garden, a challenging time to establish them. We have a nice crop of young, vigorous one gallons ready now. They are available in four inch pots too.

Two native Clematis are available this month in one gallon containers. Chaparral Clematis weaves its way over shrubs and trees in canyons of chaparral and woodland plant communities. Mid-April brings beautiful displays of small creamy-white blossoms. Later, masses of fluffy, feather-like seed heads are highly decorative. Drought tolerant once established. Clematis ligusticifolia can be found in riparian plant communities climbing and spilling over shrubs and trees. This Clematis blooms later in the summer followed by the same showy seed heads holding into fall. Best with some summer moisture, but is drought tolerant once established. Both species are deciduous.

Looking for plants with fall color?  We have a good supply of 'Roger's Red' Grape, a natural hybrid between the native grape and the wine grape. This vigorous vine grows quickly with verdant foliage and abundant tasty fruits. The foliage turns bright red making a dependable spectacle in the autumn. This year we have the desert wild grape available for the first time. With soft, downy hairs to protect the leaves from moisture loss, this may the better choice for hot inland plantings.

We hope you will come by and check out the many possibilities. Open 7 days a week through October. Monday - Friday 9 - 5, Saturday AND Sunday 10 - 4.