Annie Vs. Flora

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or [Plant] substance...
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Flora Grubb is Style, the latest and greatest;  Annie's Annuals is...plants!  Lots and lots and lots of plants!  Both were great places to visit, for entirely different reasons.  Annie's has the plants, Flora the vision.  Yes, Flora Grubb's has plants as well, but the way in which they are displayed, the containers, the arrangements--ideas are the story there. 
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Flora is a garden center.  Annie's is a nursery (with lots and lots and lots of plants!   That you probably don't have yet!)
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Flora's was our last stop of the Fling, and I fully admit I was tired and anxious to leave for the airport by then, after all those gardens and bus rides and hort-talk.  The two photos of letters are all I snapped of Flora's.  No shot of the way-cool Edsel planter, sorry.  

For a lot of people, especially the kind with considerable money to spend, a garden is not all about plants.  It's about style, seating areas, trends, conversation pieces that may or may not be plants--the Coolness Factor.  

Flora's did have some great plants--I seriously hankered after the variegated Senecio rowleyanus--but Annie's had me lusting for the Promise Of Green Adventure that is a new, beautiful, unfamiliar plant (only $3.95 and yes it will fit in my suitcase for the flight home, I'll make it fit). 
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Flora Grubb's is located in an old industrial area on the west edge of San Francisco bay, while Annie's Annuals is across the bay in a hardscrabble part of Richmond--"plant heaven in the 'hood".

Neighborhood blight, yes.  Some blurred pictures from the bus as we zipped along. 
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Amid want and blight, several small homes with joyful gardens bursting forth.
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Beauty in a rough neighborhood is all the more beautiful!  To garden is to have optimism amid struggle. 
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This is the magic that plants can do, bring joy to blight...
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...plants, lots...
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...and lots and lots...
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...and lots and lots...
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...of bright and beautiful plants.
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Oh. I got Aloe castanea. 



  1. I too noticed the few exuberant gardens in Annie's hood and wanted to go back and take some photos, glad you captured a couple. Gardens in hard-scrabble areas will always capture my heart in a way those in richie rich neighborhoods never can.

    Your contrast between the two places is perfect and while I adore Annie's enthusiasm I feel most at home at Flora's. I'm not sure what that says about me but oh well...

    1. It says that you have a great sense of style and an artistic sensibility.

      Which is not so bad, really. :)

      One thing I notice in good 'hood gardens here is edibles mixed in with ornamentals with great sophistication. Ahead of the curve...

  2. The only thing I have against those places that emphasize "style" instead of the plants is (usually) the prices. You may give me some design ideas, but I'm certainly not overpaying for them! (Not saying that Flora's is overpriced -- I'm only commenting on what I've seen in other posts!)

    Give me tables and tables of plants to walk, and I *will* be visiting the cash register.

    1. Same here. Flora's was by no means overpriced, but a beautiful $30 containerr equals seven $4 plants.

      I did like them both.

  3. I love Annie's and I'm glad the nursery is getting so much attention as a by-product of the Fling. I wish more local nurseries would carry Annie's stock like Roger's Gardens does - it would save me a lot in mail order fees. All I know of Flora Grubb is what I see on the web - I'll get there someday.

    Thanks for posting your take-aways from the SF events.

    1. Yes it's great to get some Annie's stuff at Rogers, but then I went to Annie's and saw row after row after row after row...a whole different experience!

  4. It would have been awesome to have been at the Fling. I'm hoping it will come to the east coast soon. It would have been hard to resist buying more plants!

    1. The '15 event will be in Toronto. It was rather easy to resist buying more than one, because I had to carry them back on the airplane. :(

  5. Great comparison post! I'm with you, I love them both for different reasons and cannot wait to visit them again, this time with an empty vehicle! Yum!

  6. That's why I loved Annie's, while for me Flora's was just ok. Great pics from Annie's. Enjoy your aloe.

    1. It was fun to visit both. Thanks! Which reminds me, I need to go plant that Aloe...

  7. I've visited Annie's for plant ideas and information frequently over the years, I would have a very hard time if I went there. I hadn't heard of Flora's, I'll have to check them out. Thanks for the ideas!

    1. Yes, it was tough not indulging. I was sort of glad in a way that we'd flown instead of driven--it made for less temptation. Flora Grubb's is very cool, enjoy!

  8. I hadn't thought of a side-by-side comparison of the two nurseries we visited, as you did, but it is instructive. Both were wonderful stops, and if we'd been close to home where I know any plant selections would be good choices for my garden, I'd probably have gotten more from Annie's. But since that's not often the case on Fling trips (it's all about exploring gardens in other parts of the country, after all), I often focus on pots, decor, and other non-living souvenirs. Flora Grubb served me better in that regard. How lucky that San Franciscans get to shop at both whenever they'd like. And of course they both have online catalogs and ship anywhere, so I guess we're all lucky!


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