A Scouring Pad Wearing A Kilt, Only It's A Plant

Above, our winter heatwaves are tough on these ornamental kale and Cyclamen 
Just to get out of the house on a gorgeous, sunny, 72F (22 C) December day, we decided to visit Roger's Gardens, a local garden center that also sells a lot of ornaments and decorations and Christmas trees real and plastic, during the holiday shopping season, with a Santa on hand, too.  We thought it would be busy, but not insanely busy.

We were wrong.  Really wrong.  It was insanely busy.  There were no open parking spaces, so we opted for valet parking.  Yes, valet parking for a garden center.  Only in California.  Yes, we say that here.  
Cyclamen are beautiful, but...
...Aloes are a more climate appropriate massed floral display:
 Roger's recently opened a "field to fork" style restaurant that has proven extremely popular.  The parking lot was full, the restaurant was buzzing and packed, the buildings holding Christmas decor were mobbed with shoppers, but we had the plants nearly to ourselves.  
The stuff no one was interested in. 
 Lots of pretty foliage.  Isn't this lovely?  Okay, not as popular as the glitter-covered glass baby Jesus made in China, but...lovely. 
 The usual holiday stuff, which was what most people who were buying were buying.
"Living" Christmas trees were popular for a couple of years, and some people still view them as a good option, which they are in a climate more appropriate for conifers.  Roger's still sells some.  I always wince to see Blue Spruce (Picea pungens), a gorgeous tree in, say, Western Montana, sold in Newport Beach.  It's doomed here.  Doomed!  Roger's was indeed selling potted Blue Spruce, along with this...WTF?!?!

A scouring pad wearing a kilt (hula skirt?), only it's a plant.
 Does something like this ever become beautiful?  I feel terrible for these plants, both of them.  It's horrifying.  Tell me I'm wrong.  I could be wrong.  Am I wrong?  
  Let's look at something else.  That mass planting of Aloe 'Safari Sunset'.
 Classic Chrysanthemums, but they are not overly popular here--a small caterpillar and aphids make a mess of them, winter or not, if our winter heat waves don't turn them into brown straw.  
 The slope by the restaurant, recently host to a stunning planting of yellow Leucospermum, golden Coleonema 'Sunset Gold', and a golden Monterrey Cypress of great beauty, was stripped bare during restaurant construction and replanted with Agave americana, Aloe striata, dinner place Aeoniums, and a Carex...pansa or divulsa?  

Nice, but I miss the Leucospermums, which were spectacular.  
On the other side of the Pine, a mass of Lomandra.   When I saw this I heard Yoda's voice:  "You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes."
 Roger's is still selling a good number of Phormiums.  I've given up on them because of the Phormium mealy bug, and Phormium size (they get huge), and the reversion issue (the most interesting foliage variants often revert to a plain color).  They are fine plants, though. 
 Black Phoebe Junco (thanks for correction!) resting on a sign, waiting for the humans to leave.
 Gorgeous variegated Fatsia japonica.  Very tempting, but I already have the Spider's Web version, and they are relatively thirsty plants. 
 Beautiful Bromeliads in a basket of Muehlenbeckia axillaris, I am guessing, because those Bromeliads in a basket of Silver Falls Dichondra would have been so gorgeous people would faint right there in in front of it. 
Below the Brom basket was this interesting and unfamiliar plant, Corynocarpus laevigatus 'Varigatus'.  They wanted $149 for it.  This is a slow growing tree native to New Zealand.  Slow growing explained the price (T = $), and comments in the link above make it sound like a very choice plant for a part to mostly  shaded place.
 More appropriate for my sunny garden, Roger's largest surviving 'Mr. Ripple', which is around 7' wide. 
 A particularly beautiful Agave. 
 Not a plant did we buy--plenty at home still need in the ground.  No, really.  

Back out to valet to retrieve our car, the parking lot was even more packed than before--after waiting several minutes while the poor valet guys ran like crazy from car to car, moved cars around to retrieve ours.  We had trouble getting out of the parking lot because of the line of at least fifty cars waiting to get into the parking lot.   Cars waited all the way down the access lane and were lined up out onto San Miguel Drive.  Most people going to the restaurant, I imagine, since it was close to lunchtime.  Perhaps they need to expand the restaurant and get rid of the garden center.  Who cares about growing plants, when you can spend $17 on a hamburger?    

Help me feel the Force, Yoda.


  1. Gail, I still have to visit Rodger's Gardens nursery. I actually like the mix, the extravaganza, they seem to have a little bit of everything.
    Maybe the success of the restaurant helps this nursery survive? I rather have a nursery with a restaurant, than another great nursery closing. Hope I make it there myself one day! Until then thanks for the tour.
    Wishing you a wonderful garden week! Looks like the temperatures are finally dipping...

    1. It's a great place, really. It just gets weird in December. Yeah, I don't know. The idea of the restaurant is good. Right now it's filled with the Newport Beach crowd that likes new restaurants. As soon as a different trendy restaurant opens nearby and the crowds thin a bit, it will be fine.

      Yes, able to garden again now that cooler weather has arrived. I missed it terribly all summer. Enjoy your garden, Christina!

  2. So funny, what a great sense of humor (sarcasism suits you) you have ... I laughed and laughed until the tears ran. So SoCal. The Huntington has opened new restaurants, too. Have you tried any of them? A build-your-own craft burger is only $8.50 at the 1919 (cafe).

    1. I really wish I wasn't sarcastic. I lost jobs over that back when I needed a job. Employers hate sarcastic women.

      Huntington, we've been to that place near the entrance. I thought it was great, vast improvement over the tiny place by the rose garden. Except they don't let you refill your coffee for free. Other than that, liked it a whole lot.

  3. Yikes! The last time I visited on a weekday - it wasn't that bad but I already had concerns that parking might get dicey. Hopefully, it's the newness of the restaurant combined with the holiday crush that's the problem. I'd hate to think that the restaurant could kill the garden center. The massed planting of Aloes is lovely. The Frankenstein spruce is NOT.

    You didn't see Metrosideros 'Springfire' when you were there, did you? I'm in the market for it now and note that I saw it there previously in early December.

    1. The local nursery had 'Springfire' last I was there. I have seen it at Rogers though I wasn't looking for it yesterday. Rogers did have a 5 gallon 'High Gold' Leucospermum at 30% off... :^)

  4. Dear Hoover some spectacular Aloes and beautiful garden arrangements of variegated plants, Kale and white Cyclamem, the mass planting of Lomandra looks great with the stone accent. Love the variegated plants in the pot. I don't know what they were thinking when they grafted the two kinds of Spruce one on top of the other, it looks very strange indeed.
    Have a lovely gardening week!
    Love and best wishes, Dianne

    1. Have a beautiful nearly-summer week, Dianne. Best wishes to you, kind heart.

  5. Ok, well that double grafted thing is purely awful. I suppose if you collect conifers it would be a novelty of sorts, but collecting conifers in Socal doesn't seem like a great idea-unless they are all junipers !

  6. Thanks for sharing your pictures of the plants in the uncrowded garden center, well, except for that weird grafted thing. But the framed cluster of foliage plants is just wonderful.

    1. That framed cluster is in a one-above-the-other pair of Woolly Pockets. They did a great job on that thing!

      I am so happy to be not alone in being perplexed by that grafted conifer. How does that ever look good?

  7. It is not just you! That grafted nightmare is just that.

    Your description of the parking lot had me thinking back to 2014 and our visit. En-route from San Diego to Denise's garden I thought we'd just make a quick stop at Rogers, not knowing what a Christmas Zoo it is...and that was before the restaurant traffic!

    1. Whew! Thanks.

      A garden center with valet parking. Can you believe it? It was nowhere near that bad before the restaurant. Nowhere near.

  8. I was there this weekend too, for the sweet peas which finally arrived. I guess we plant people are a little touchy about our nurseries branching out into new endeavors, because I was also appalled at the throngs -- but then have to remind myself that commerce is good for the employees, for the community. Everybody gets what they want at Rogers -- for me it was 4-inch pots of great sweet pea varieties and some Mesa peach gaillardia I was going to mail order anyway. Everyone else can have lunch as long as they leave me some sweet peas.

    1. I thought of you when I saw the sweet peas! Grew my own from seed in a more timely manner than last year. We've had a few weeks of pea-appropriate weather--refreshing, eh?

      I'm fine with the lunchers, but I need a parking space, you know?

  9. Why stop at two? Have all of your favorite conifers grafted into one -- what a space saver! Love the aloe field though.


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