Flora Grubb Gardens

B and I wandered around last weekend in the windy fogginess that is San Francisco. We took refuge in Flora's garden and nursery and enjoyed a good hot latte from Ritual Coffee. I wish more nurseries would catch on to the idea of giving their customer a little shot of something hot and stimulating whilst they shop. The only other place I've seen this is at Cardwell Nursery Garden Centre in Gourock, Scotland. Except that place is sort of like a Cracker Barrel with a nursery tacked on to the side and lots of coach buses in the ample parking lot, which seemed to emit hordes of geriatric Scottish women in capacious & bedazzled track suits without cease. And did I mention the cafeteria? Awesome.
Where was I?
So Flora Grubb Gardens-it was great. And you should go. The lay-out was great, with plenty of plants in the Dramatic Color/Architecture genre. And they appear to be the winners of the Most Blood-Curdling Succulent Collection-Bay Area Awards. But for me and my Aberdonian blood I found it to be a place of inspiration rather than actual purchase. $6.50 was a little steep for a 4" plant, and $49.50 for the uber-cool silk screened T shirts in the gift store elicited a hollow laugh. But maybe the price range is fine for the urban gardeners that shop there; me, I contented myself with taking pictures and garnering ideas-the few things that were in my price range. (Free!)
I put my name down for an Angelica archangelica (which is proving to be an elusive plant) and talked up the Abbey. I particularly loved the big wire bins of tillandsia for sale; they could be sold via bulk bins since they are epiphytes (in other words, they don't need soil & get their H2O from the atmosphere.) Apparently, a tillandsia comes with your purchase of a pound of coffee beans from the adjacent Ritual Coffee kiosk. Which I thought was classy.

I think my favorite thing besides the latte-in-the-garden was the hanging succulent portrait. I would dearly love to replicate this for the Abbey Garden, but I am sure that it's just a leetle too expensive. Maybe something on a smaller scale? Anyhow, I definitely recommend a visit to this nursery, especially if you have any junker cars that want planting out.
But go, have fun, and tell them Rosa sent you!


Mum said...

I just looked at the Cardwell's website and got all misty. Even though I was sick when we visited, I still loved the place. Next time I will wear my track suit! Always love your pithy comments!

rosa said...

I forgot that we took you to Cardy's! What a place! I wish you had come to see us in the spring as well, we would have had lots of other places discovered by then; maybe next trip?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting about Flora Grubb. It definitely sounds inspiring and I love that it's in our own backyard. Your blurb about succulents and your changing perspective on them really hits home. There is something that has always been off-putting about jade plants. The era that it was popularized carried with it the plastic fruit centerpieces and those funky light fixtures which were the goddesses in the garden with the faux rain. ~Krista

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.