Garden Center Turned Into Christmas Tree Lot

 We visited a local garden center, looking for more Callistemon 'Slim's, but the place was nearly bare of plants, having been filled with Christmas trees, both natural and plastic, for sale at $150 to $500+ apiece.  Whoa.  

The Phone-tos are by Beloved.   I was busy looking at what plants had not been displaced by holiday stuff.  And I forgot my camera, too. 
Blogger in habitat:
We got there so early there were still birds enjoying the place.  The human crowds would come later. 
A hummer guarded a blooming Arbutus 'Marina' from several other hummers.  
 There was a fabulous mass planting of Aloe 'Safari Sunrise'.  Awesome. 
Why didn't I buy one?  Because some of them were infected with Aloe Gall Mite. 
 Too bad.  Can't risk infecting my collection. 

 Big expensive trees for sale, and thowaway winter color Cyclamens.  Our long, hot dry summers kill them.  
 Even trees in the parking lot.  My attention was on the size and health of their Leucadendron 'Jester's in the planters.  Awe. Some.  Fine combo with Aloes 'Fire Ranch', 'Roikappie', and Sedum 'Coppertone'. 
 Some driftwood-succulent pieces managed to remain.

 Though the place was thinly stocked, it turned out there were some plants worth the trip after all--there must have just been an Annie's Annuals restocking, because I found a few interesting plants to bring home, like...
 ...and a 4" Leonotis leonurus, just for fun.  These get ratty pretty quickly, so I'll treat it as a brief splash of variety--if it lasts a while, great. 
 A Grevillea 'Scarlet Sprite' at 50% off.  
 And Abelia 'Confetti'.  It looked so good.  
 Echeveria agavoides 'Christmas'
 Didn't buy a $500 cut Christmas tree, though.  Then there was this  handmade Italian terra cotta pot--it really was cool, but it was $3,000! 
Made those $500 trees look cheap, but we still didn't buy one.  That was it for Thanksgiving weekend shopping.  Saturday was the puppies birthday.  We took them to the dog park to celebrate.  
They howled all the way there...
 ...where they had a lot of fun.  There was another Samoyed there to play with!  (He's the one on the left.)
 Action shot!
They panted happily all the way home. 
The simple things are best.

Comments

  1. Great shots of the puppies in the car: first the excitement on the way to the dog park and the way back, satisfied and happy, I love that.
    Before the holidays garden centres are always a nightmare to visit, they have changeds in huge Christmas shops. But I see you found some interesting things. The Starfish flower I had for many years in my conservatory but the smell.......and Leonotis leonurus, in flower an orange beauty. Not for sale here, but once I've grown them from seed collected in Portugal.

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    1. They were so happy! Now the car is full of hair and must be vacuumed, even though I had a cover for the back. It is worth it to see them having fun.

      Here in the past the garden centers do not turn 100% into Christmas shops, only 30-40%. This year, 75%.

      I have a Stapelia and know the aroma, but here we can plant outdoors, so it is where I can see it but not smell it. Ideal!

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  2. Happy birthday Boris and Natasha, you look fabulous! It's nice that your humans had fun shopping. It would be difficult too keep one's tentacles off of that great Italian vase but the price would definitely make it easier to leave. (Yikes!) Some great plants but I especially liked the pictures of the avian shoppers and "blogger in habitat."

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    1. B&N say "Thank you."

      When I saw the price on that octopus urn I thought seriously about learning to make terra cotta pots! I wonder if people would actually leave a 3K pot outside in the garden.

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  3. I checked out this same nursery last week hoping to find some seeds there instead of mail order (purple orach). No seeds and, as you say, very few plants. Didn't grab one of those aloes for the same reason. What a fun outing for N&B! A local park just carved out space for a dog park -- great investment in space!

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    1. Local dog park, cool for you--all you need is a new family member. I read Long Beach has some sort of program to turn vacant lots into urban farm-ettes or urban gardens. Any vacant lots in your neighborhood? If the water was available at agricultural rate I would be tempted.

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  4. Happy Birthday to Boris and Natasha! I was at a fancy pants nursery the other day and the expensive trees were flying out of the place. I overheard a few conversations about the fact we're experiencing a shortage this year. You couldn't tell by looking of course.

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    1. I read the trees take 8 years to get to market and the 2009 economy was really bad so many less were planted. So, shortage. Crazy, to pay so much. It's essentially a very large conifer bouquet.

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  5. When I saw the trees in the "North Forty" section when I was last there, I thought maybe the trees would be overrunning the place this year. Apparently, I was mistaken...

    Aloe gall mite - ouch! I'm headed out to check the plant I brought home, although I know it could be affected but the damage not yet visible. Crap!

    I'm glad the puppies enjoyed their bday. Maybe howling en route is their way of asking "are we there yet?"

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    1. The "north forty" was crammed full and the overflow was everywhere else.

      I'd isolate and treat the aloe with a systemic pesticide soil drench and cut off & carefully dispose of any flowers that appear for several months. That should take care of any infestation. Lots and lots of the 'Roikappie's that were around last year were infected, too. :(

      "Are we there yet?" : exactly!

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  6. Haven't bought a cut Christmas tree for years.
    Not a good idea in our summer.
    But even for you - would those trees last till Christmas??

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    1. Summer, yes that wouldn't be a good idea here either!

      They last 2 or 3 weeks if you get a fresh one and get it into a bucket of water right away, don't place it next to a sunny window, don't run the heater (its rarely cold enough for that anyway). We usually don't get one until 2nd week of December and take it down on Jan 1.

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  7. At those prices, I'm extra glad we have a potted up tree ready to be glammed up for the holidays.

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    1. Smart thinking, and your creative talent must make for a beautiful tree.

      Those prices were indeed crazy!

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  8. Some lovely things in that nursery - but I didn't realize people paid that much money for Christmas trees. I love the pot - I wonder why it's so expensive, maybe it's antique? I like the unusual look of the starfish plant, but couldn't bear the smell of rotting meat. I wonder if the dogs are attracted to it? Beautiful dogs.

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    1. Well I don't pay that kind of money that's for sure! LOL. The pot is "handmade in Italy". Still an eyepopping price. Maybe to make the trees look cheap?

      Interesting comment about the stapeliad scent and dogs, I've never tried offering them a flower to inspect. Must try that. The garden has an S. grandiflora on a slope where the flowers are close enough to admire, but far enough away not to be sniffed. That has worked out nicely.

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  9. Oh shoot! I bought a safari sunrise there too, on my trip. I did see aloe gall on another species, but didn't notice it on this one. Well, into quarantine it goes.

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    1. Oops! Hope it turns out to be mite-free!

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  10. Oh, I would have snapped up that Scarlet Sprite in a second! (The one I had died a sad death last winter.) I also really liked those driftwood/succulent arrangements - so fun! The Christmas trees? Naah - not so much. Especially not at those prices.

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    1. It's a healthy plant, full of flower buds. Sorry to hear yours got winterized. The driftwood pieces are very well done, don't you think?

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  11. Oops - happy belated birthday to the pups!

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    1. Thanks! They consider every day their birthday, worthy of a party.

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