Debra Prinzing

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December, Pacific-style

December 5th, 2007

alex at beach

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.

seaside gardens 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.

deb plant shopping alex at seaside gardens 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).

seaside gardens map

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!

Alex with Abyssinian banana

Abyssinian banana-tree-hugger!

encircled by cycads

Surrounded by Cycads

toes and sand

20 Toes…can’t resist!

4 Responses to “December, Pacific-style”

  1. Dee Says:

    Hey Sweetie,

    No snow here yet! We may have some by the end of the week. I don’t envy you the warm weather, but I am slightly jealous of all the great places to buy plants. We are limited to two or three nurseries and the box stores.

    Love your twenty toes. Thank you for showing me Alex. It’s a blessing to see your child.

  2. admin Says:

    Hi Dee…yup, he’s got a smile that’s wider than the world. And a good little plantsman, too.
    What I remember most about this time of year in Seattle (and it’s probably a lot like this in OK, too) is the racing around outdoors to bed down every tender plant with a protective layer of leaves, evergreen branches or mulch. We know the season is changing; we’re just trying to stay ahead of Mother Earth’s capricious mood swings! xoxodkp

  3. Robyn and Scarlett Says:

    Well…..I must say that the whole idea of seeing all that sunshine and sand
    in your photos makes me want to head for the Aurora Bridge (the carpet
    cleaners are coming today, so I can’t locate my bullets or razor blades at the
    moment…) IT’S NOT FAIR! You look too happy! Another dazzlingly gray
    day awaits us…..but the snow only lasted a minute and then, the rains came
    in full force. Here’s where we get in touch with gratitude….the house is still
    on the hill and no water in the basement. So, it could be way worse. I’m
    digging out blankets and jackets and have allocated a budget for a box of
    provisions for the Salvation Army today, so many people without homes and
    clothes. Scarlett says hi to her California family….she had another eye
    operation yesterday, and guess what the problem was all these months?
    a giant glob of SNOT in her tear duct, that came flying out when the doctor irrigated her eye. Brother, only took about $3,000 to figure that one out! Oh, my god, I think the SUN is coming up!!! I’m actually giddy…..xo rc and sc

  4. MA Says:

    smart ass. sun AND sand? I have sand alright, all over the house from the sanding truck. Cuz it has been snowing here off and all all week. Not enuff to make it pretty, just messy.

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