December 5th, 2007
Alex, barefoot at the beach
“We have snow in Seattle!” my friend Robyn exclaimed, her voice coming through my cellphone headset.
It was in the low-70s. I was driving home, south on Highway 101 with the Pacific Ocean and the afternoon sun over my right shoulder. It was December first.
Life is certainly a study in contrasts. While my heart is constantly in the Pacific Northwest, and while I can just picture the beautiful fluffy snow landing ever so gently on the railings surrounding Robyn’s decks, the reality is: I’m here. And this week, I’m enjoying the beginnings of winter, Southern California style.
On Saturday, a road trip was called for. We hopped in the Subaru and headed north, up the Ventura Freeway in the sunshine…(yes, like the song), to Seaside Gardens in Carpinteria.
This is a very cool place. Not only is there an amazing selection of not-so-common landscaping plants here, there is an abundance of design ideas presented in the display gardens. Located just a stone’s throw from Santa Claus Beach, where my son Alex and I stopped on the way home to dip our toes in the sand and saltwater, and watch the kite-surfers, Seaside Gardens is arranged like a small botanical garden.
We were lured by the colorful postcard that arrived in the mail box, inviting us to a holiday open house (complete with hot cider and hors d’oeuvres). Weather report: Intense sun, powerful wind. No potted plant over 2-feet-tall was immune from the swift breezes coming inland from the ocean.
But we had fun nonetheless. Shopped for succulents: we brought home lots of 2-inch pots of echeverias for $2.49 each, plus we snagged four really enticing 4-inch pots of Sedum hispanicum‘Purpureum’ (delicate 1- to 2-inch high groundcover stonecrop that spreads up to 18-inches…unfortunately, I’m afraid the rabbits might like this one, time will tell).
Map depicts the wonderful display areas at Seaside Gardens
We took a breezy tour through the display gardens, spotting plants that caught our eyes and snapping photos to capture the moment. No thoughts of buying a Christmas tree, yet. But planting a sedum wreath, maybe!
Surrounded by Cycads
20 Toes…can’t resist!