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Imagine finding yourself stepping back in time, surrounded by small adobe homes and extensive historic gardens – all in modern-day Phoenix.

neighborhood in Phoenix an Historic Garden

The Phoenix Homesteads District dates back to the 1930s and is the only adobe neighborhood in Phoenix.  Mature pine trees line the streets interspersed with Mexican fan palms creating a green tunnel that beckons you to explore further.

Small adobe homes sit on large lots with large, mature trees and shrubs.

Small adobe homes sit on large lots with large, mature trees and shrubs.  

The homes were built in the ’30s, and 40’s so residents could grow much of their food and own small livestock.

The purpose of my journey to this historic neighborhood was to visit a local artist and her picturesque gardens. 

historic garden jewel is located on 'Flower Street.'

This historic garden jewel is located on ‘Flower Street.’

I came to visit this special place at the recommendation of a client who told me about a resident artist, Suzanne Bracker, who not only had a beautiful garden but creates wonderful pieces of art.  

As I pulled up to her home, little did I know that the historic garden was just the beginning of the wonderful things I would see.

historic garden

Suzanne met me by the curb in front of her home to lead me on a journey of inspiration and discovery. 

The curved pathway at historic garden jewel is located on 'Flower Street.

Just a few steps into the garden, it’s apparent that Suzanne loves to repurpose items in her garden.  The curved pathway at historic garden jewel is located on ‘Flower Street.’ garden entrance is edged with broken concrete, often referred to as ‘urbanite’.

 adobe structure

The property consists of two 1/4 acre lots. The adobe structure that used to serve as a garage/shed, straddles the original property line. 

Queen’s wreath vine (Antigonon leptopus) and lantana grow on large river rocks within wire (gabion walls).  The bright blooms of bougainvillea provide a welcome pop of color.

gnarled tree root sits among vines

An old, gnarled tree root sits among vines and adds both color and texture contrast.

 Peruvian apple cactus in Historic Garden

Peruvian apple cactus (Cereus peruviana) grows through a giant bush lantana (Lantana camara) that is trained up as a small tree. 

After only 5 minutes in this artist’s garden, I could tell that I was on a journey of the unexpected and could hardly wait to discover more.

Historic Garden

The garage/shed is now an artist’s studio where pieces of Suzanne’s work are on display.

Historic Garden

The original adobe wall can be seen inside the studio.  Adobe walls (made from mud and straw) keep buildings cool in summer.

Historic Garden

You can see the bits of straw mixed in with the adobe as well as a small note in a crevice just waiting to be discovered and read.

Evidence of Suzanne’s interest in a variety of artistic mediums is immediately apparent.

Historic Garden
Historic Garden

From mosaics…

Historic Garden

To paper…

Historic Garden

 Clay…

Historic Garden
Historic Garden

And jewelry. Her talent is evident in almost everything she touches.

As we ventured back outdoors, Suzanne revealed a particular spot she affectionately calls her “graveyard”.

Historic Garden

Underneath the shade of a large carob tree, the ‘graveyard’ is an area where the broken clay heads from Suzanne’s clay art find a place to rest. 

Historic Garden

This is a novel way to repurpose items that otherwise would have found its way into the trash.

Historic Garden

Weights from old windows in the house now hang from metal trellises alongside snail vine.

Small crystals from old chandeliers

Small crystals from old chandeliers now decorate the trellis and cast small rainbows wherever they catch the sun’s rays.

carob tree.

Peach-faced parrots, who live in the wild, stop by the bird feeder under the carob tree.  

skyflower (Duranta erecta)

Sprays of delicate purple flowers from a large skyflower (Duranta erecta) shrub, arch over the garden path. 

Historic Garden

Along flagstone pathways, a flash of blue and green color catches my eye. Where most of us would throw out a few leftover glass beads, she uses them for a touch of whimsy.

Historic Garden

As I enter her home, the original kitchen catches my eye – there’s no granite countertops or stainless steel appliances here.

 kitchen is functional

Although small, this 1930’s kitchen is functional and very cute.

Back outdoors, there is still more to see in the garden.

An Historic Garden Jewel in the City
vibrant shades of blue and purple

Plants aren’t the only thing that provides color in this garden – the buildings are painted in vibrant shades of blue and purple.

An Historic Garden Jewel in the City

Old oil cans, a kettle, and creamers find new life as garden art.

old Lady Bank's rose

As I walk through the garden, we come upon a shady oasis, underneath the massive canopy of an old Lady Bank’s rose – this is the same type of rose as the famous Tombstone Rose.

olorful rooster and his chickens

A colorful rooster and his chickens enjoy the shade from the rose.

Gold lantana

Gold lantana grows among round step stones. The sizes and location of these step stones were poured in place. Their shape adds another artistic element to the landscape.

garden rooms

One of the many enjoyable aspects of this garden are the ‘garden rooms’ interspersed. 

old, antique, toy cars

Among the garden paths, there’s always something to discover like these old, antique, toy cars.  These were left by the previous owner and Suzanne put them on top of an old tree stump to add another fun element.

 jujube (Ziziphus jujube) tree

At the end of our garden journey, we pass by a jujube (Ziziphus jujube) tree, which tastes a little like apple.  

Sharon tree

The second house on the property has a lovely Rose of Sharon tree in front along with some interesting garden art.

True to the historical roots of this home, the concrete pipes that decorate the front are made from old irrigation pipes used for the flood irrigation This practice is still common throughout parts of Phoenix in older areas. 

flood irrigation

This garden still uses flood irrigation – the same as in the 1930s.

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)

The blossoms of a small, Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) add whimsical beauty with its flowers that change color as they age. 

An Historic Garden Jewel in the City

Gardens that both surprise and inspire us are a real treasure – especially when found in the middle of a city.

Suzanne’s garden is a historic jewel. I am grateful for the opportunity to have met her and observe how her artistic talent extends to everything she touches.

Texas capital Austin

I like quirky things that are unexpected and outside the daily ‘normalness’ in our lives. That is why I have fallen in love with the city of Austin, Texas, which prides itself on being “weird.” Another reason this Texas capital city appeals to me is their beautiful gardens and rich gardening culture, and my friend, Pam Penick’s shady, colorful garden personifies the uniqueness that is found throughout Austin.

Pam Penick (facing front wearing a hat) greeting garden visitors.

Pam Penick (facing front wearing a hat) greeting garden visitors.

On a recent visit to Austin, I took part in the Garden Bloggers Fling, where garden bloggers from the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain, gather and tour gardens within a particular city. This year’s Fling was held in Austin, and one of the gardens I was most excited to see was Pam’s.

As two long-time bloggers in the Southwest, Pam and I have been friends for several years and I was fortunate to have hosted her in Arizona four years ago, while she was researching for her latest book, “The Water-Saving Garden.” For years, I’ve wanted to visit her garden and now was my chance.

Pam's garden

Pam’s garden flourishes underneath the filtered shade of beautiful oak trees. However, the shade does present some challenges in that there aren’t a lot of colorful plants that will flower in shady conditions. But, Pam expertly works around that obstacle, using her unique design style that she describes as mostly contemporary.

autumn sage (Salvia greggii)

Concentrating flowering plants in the few areas that receive bright sun is one way to add needed color to a shady landscape. Here, the bright colors of this autumn sage (Salvia greggii) contrast beautifully with the blue-gray leaves of a whale’s tongue agave (Agave ovatifolia). While both of these plants flourish in full sun in this Texas garden, they do best with filtered or afternoon shade in the low desert region.

flowering plants

In the absence of flowering plants, texture is introduced with the use of spiky agave and yucca plants. Elements of color are added using garden art such as these blue balls.

I love blue pots, and I’ve found a kindred spirit in Pam, who has them scattered throughout her landscape.

A Shady, Colorful Garden Personifies The Uniqueness of Austin

As you walk through the garden, you need to pay attention as Pam adds lovely detail in unexpected places, like this rusted garden art.

A Shady, Colorful Garden Personifies The Uniqueness of Austin

There are garden trends that are unique to specific areas of the country, and I found several of what I call, ‘pocket planters’ hanging on walls. Right at eye-level, it is easy to explore the tiny detail of these small containers.

bamboo muhly (Muhlenbergia dumosa)

Walking along the driveway, toward the backyard, the soft shape of bamboo muhly (Muhlenbergia dumosa) adds a beautiful blue backdrop, and in front, a container filled with Dyckia and a blue heart adds interest.

green garden gate

A sage green garden gate led the way into the backyard.

Moby" agave

A potting bench sits along the wall in the side garden where four “Moby Jr.” whale’s tongue agave are planted, which come from Pam’s original “Moby” agave – I have one of the babies growing in my front garden.

Masonry blocks

Masonry blocks are artfully arranged into a low wall and filled with a variety of succulents.

Austin

The garden sits on a slope, which provides a lovely view from the upper elevation where a blue painted wall adds a welcome splash of color as well as a touch of whimsy with the “Austin” sign.

oak tree

The shadows from an oak tree make delightful patterns along the wall while planters add a nice color element.

A Shady, Colorful Garden Personifies The Uniqueness of Austin

Gardening in Austin isn’t for wimps. They have to deal with thin soils that lie atop rock, which is quite evident along the back of the garden.

Blue bottle trees

Blue bottle trees are a popular garden ornament throughout the South as well as other areas of the U.S. Here; they serve the same purpose as a flowering vine would.

Pam's unique garden style.

As I got ready to leave, I walked among the deck that overlooked the pool where I am greeted by more examples of Pam’s unique garden style. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen octopus pots anywhere in my garden travels, until now. 

I had a wonderful time exploring this shady oasis and the innovative ways that Pam has introduced colorful elements. I invite you to check out her blog, Digging, which is one of my favorites.

Garden Inspiration: Southwest Style

Tweaking the Landscape

November is a very busy time in the low-desert garden. Cooler temperatures make this best time of year to add plants and as a result, my phone begins to ring off the hook. Many of my clients have established landscapes that they are looking to do some tweaking to the landscape.

Tweaking the Landscape

This usually consists of identifying what existing plants still add beauty to the landscape, or background structure, from a design standpoint, and then removing those that don’t. New plants are then added that will compliment the older ones.

Tweaking the Landscape

One easy tip for creating a newer look to the desert landscape is to clean out river rock washes. While it is labor intensive, the process is quite simple. All you need to do is remove all the rocks, wash them off with water from the hose and put them back.

I must admit that I love working outdoors this time of year when the weather is simply lovely.

Tweaking the Landscape

Here is a colorful surprise that I discovered while visiting a client last month. ‘Loretta’ is an eye-catching piece of garden art and I love her pink arms. She was purchased in San Francisco and is made up of parts from an old bike.

face cream

On another note, my grandson, Eric, decided to put on some ‘face cream’. The only problem? It was diaper cream! I think that all of us probably have a story like this one…

I hope that you are enjoying the fall season – I know that I am.

A Desert Garden’s Winter Beauty on Display

Creative Garden Art

Have you ever visited a garden filled with more than just trees and plants? Different types of garden art can add welcome interest to outdoor spaces along with a touch of whimsy.

It’s the unexpected element of encountering an unusual planter, wall hanging, or recycled items throughout the garden that can add a touch of whimsy that makes a garden unforgettable.

I was inspired by the creative uses of garden decor on a recent visit to Buffalo, and while the plants may be different than what I grow in my Arizona garden, the look can be easily replicated using desert-adapted plants.

Here is a look at my favorites.

Creative Garden Art

A small bistro table is all set for tea along with moss planters in the shape of a purse and high shoe.

Creative Garden Art

Got a dull expanse of wooden fence? Grab some chalk and draw some flowers – this would also work for a block wall fence too.

Creative Garden Art

Old glass dishes make beautiful flowers, don’t you think?

Creative Garden Art

Got an old portable fire pit? Dress it up by filling it with succulents.

Creative Garden Art

Creating artistic pieces from old silverware is quite popular and I quite like this dragonfly made out of butter knives.

Creative Garden Art

An old mirror not only makes a unique wall hanging, but it also reflects the beauty of the garden in front of it.

Creative Garden Art

Old garden benches paired with old watering cans add a new look to this corner of a garden.

Creative Garden Art

Transform an old tree stump by adding a plant on top and wooden planters below.

Creative Garden Art
Creative Garden Art
Creative Garden Art

‘Head’ planters are a trendy whimsical element, and I love the extra splash of color that these add.

Elephants food (Portulacaria afra) would make an excellent ‘hairstyle’ for a head planter.

Creative Garden Art

The elegant beauty of a rusted steel hummingbird.

Creative Garden Art

Faced with the view of an uninspiring blank wooden fence? Break up the monotony by adding planters across the base and through the middle.

Succulents would look great used this way through the middle with potted lantana at the base.

Creative Garden Art

An antique store kettle finds new life as a planter for purple alyssum.

Cool season annuals such as petunias or pansies would go nicely in here. Succulents are a good choice for a year-round planting.

Creative Garden Art

Metal wall hangings are a great way to decorate vertical spaces.

Creative Garden Art

Another stump makes a suitable resting spot for a couple of birdhouses and a colorful ladder.

Creative Garden Art

A simple, yet elegant way to display the blooms in your garden in small glass jars.

Lantana, roses, Texas sage or yellow bell blossoms would look lovely displayed like this for a party.

Are you feeling inspired? I certainly am. I invite you to stroll through an antique shop, a thrift store, or even the garage sale down the street. You never know what will catch your attention and be used to add artistic flair and whimsy to your garden.  

Unique Garden Art Out and About

Buffalo, New York

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I enjoy traveling around the country, exploring gardens. Throughout my travels, I am constantly amazed at the unexpected gardens that I stumble upon. Recently, I was in Buffalo, New York for the annual GWA Conference. I arrived a few days early in order to spend time with my BGF (Best Garden Friend), Andrea who came all the way from Australia to attend. We set out from our hotel in the morning to see more of the downtown area of the city.

Buffalo Vegetable Garden Travel

It was a hot and humid day, but we were not deterred. We passed by a farmers market down the road from our hotel where fresh produce from area farms, was laid out to tempt passersby.  

Buffalo Vegetable Garden Travel

I enjoy seeing fresh seasonal produce but lament that fact that other than fresh fruit, I am limited as to what I can use without a kitchen when I am traveling.

Buffalo Vegetable Garden Travel

Most farmers markets also feature plants for sale and it’s a great way to see what grows in that area.

Buffalo Vegetable Garden Travel

After leaving the farmers market with a bag of blueberries, we continued our walk toward the lake side where we encountered a lovely urban community garden. The Learning Garden is located underneath an overpass and adjoins a park.

The garden serves as an outdoor classroom for Erie Community College.

Buffalo Vegetable Garden Travel

Three of the sides of the garden bounded by a fence, leaving an open gateway for visitors to explore the garden.

Buffalo Vegetable Garden Travel

Raised beds were filled with a variety of vegetables and herbs along with a few ornamental flowers. Tomatoes are found in almost all of the beds and this garden clearly had an Italian theme with its basil and parsley.

Buffalo Vegetable Garden Travel

Intermingled with many of the edible crops were whimsical garden signs like this one nestled within a bed of kale.

Buffalo Vegetable Garden Travel

This sign expresses the joy of gardening for me and I believe for many others as well. As you can see, they aren’t difficult to make and I may enlist the woodworking skills of my husband to make some for my own garden.

Buffalo Vegetable Garden Travel

Andrea and I took a moment to rest our sore feet while enjoying the scenery of the garden and the busy bees roaming from flower to flower.

Buffalo Vegetable Garden Travel

The raised beds followed no distinct pattern that I could ascertain – but regardless, they looked great and were obviously thriving. Vegetables were the main focus with flowering annuals such as snapdragons and alyssum adding color.

Buffalo Vegetable Garden Travel

I want this sign in my vegetable garden – do you think the neighborhood cats can read?

Buffalo Vegetable Garden Travel

A small greenhouse is located behind massive cucumber vines. My cucumber vines have never looked that good…

Buffalo Vegetable Garden Travel

I enjoy garden art made from repurposed materials, such as this ‘spoon-fork’ flower – a definite touch of whimsy.

Buffalo Vegetable Garden Travel

What do you do when you run out of room in your raised beds? Plant vegetables in fabric containers, of course!

Buffalo Vegetable Garden Travel

In a sunny corner, an unusual pair of wooden chairs sat, facing each other. What a great piece of furniture for those who enjoy good conversation, like we do!

Buffalo Vegetable Garden Travel

We spent over an hour exploring the garden before leaving. It was a completely unexpected garden discovery and one that I will remember for a long time.

Once we left the garden, we decided to search for a place to eat lunch. Did we select a unique eatery or small cafe for lunch?

Tim Hortons

Nope.

I’ve heard great things about Tim Hortons and we don’t have them where I live and they aren’t in Australia, where Andrea lives either, so we decided to eat lunch there to see what all the buzz was about.

bun club sandwich

 Okay, this isn’t the healthiest lunch, but I did get my pretzel bun club sandwich without mayonnaise and it was delicious.

cake batter-flavored donut holes

For dessert, we ate their famous cake batter-flavored donut holes – oh my, they were wonderful! It’s probably a good thing that we don’t have one nearby or my waistline would suffer greatly.

I hope you have enjoyed our Buffalo garden travel so far. You can click here to read about our adventures at the test garden filled with colorful annuals. Next up, a garden from the pages of Harry Potter!

**You can follow Andrea’s gardening adventures on her blog.

The popularity of fairy or miniature gardens is evident with whole Pinterest boards dedicated to them as well as nurseries having entire sections filled with fairy garden furniture and accessories.

During a recent visit to California, I visited the J. Woeste Nursery, which had taken a slightly different direction with fairy gardens. Theirs were decidedly drought tolerant and planted with succulents.

J. Woeste Nursery, fairy garden

Each fairy garden was well-designed, each with their own unique mixture of succulents and moss for grass.

J. Woeste Nursery, fairy garden

I was told that the nursery had a specific designer who created these miniature succulent worlds.

J. Woeste Nursery, fairy garden

No two were alike.  From the houses used to the combination of succulents and the container itself – each was a truly unique creation.

J. Woeste Nursery, fairy garden

I must admit that I had a hard time tearing myself away in order to look at the rest of the nursery, as I was so captivated by these miniature, drought tolerant gardens.

J. Woeste Nursery, fairy garden
J. Woeste Nursery, fairy garden

Unfortunately, I couldn’t fit one in my suitcase.

J. Woeste Nursery, fairy garden

However, if I decided to make my own, there were a lot of different fairy succulent gardens to be inspired by and the nursery had a large selection of succulents available to assist in my endeavors.

succulent gardens

Besides miniature succulent gardens, the nursery was filled with other unique examples of succulents being planted in unexpected ways.

variety of succulents

A large variety of succulents were available for customers to use to in their own gardens, whether planted in the ground or in a favorite container.

J. Woeste Nursery, fairy garden

If you ever find yourself in the charming town of Los Olivos, California, you must stop by J. Hoeste Nursery to see the fairy succulent gardens along with its other treasures.

Have you ever thought of planting a fairy garden? If so, I recommend the book, Gardening in Miniature.  It teaches you how to make your own miniature garden, in easy steps.  There are also a number of inspiring ideas to help you on your way to make your own.  I reviewed this book in an earlier post, which can read here.

Do you have pieces of garden art in your outdoor space? I have a few pieces and am always on the lookout for unique examples of artwork to use in my garden.

The past few weeks, I saw some great examples while out and about that I would love to share with you.

Unique Garden Art

Unique Garden Art

You may have seen the popularity of large clocks being displayed indoors, but I would love this one hanging on my outdoor patio.

The clock face was made out of plywood, painted and textured with antique garden tools arranged around it.

Unique Garden Art

Who knew that old horseshoes could be used to make barrel cactus?

I must confess that at first, I didn’t know that these were made from horseshoes at first glance – but, I would certainly love one in my garden.

Unique Garden Art

Javelina may be the bane of many southwestern residents when they come and eat their plants.

However, I think that some people wouldn’t mind having this one hanging around.

Can you tell what it is made out of ?

An old palm tree root!

The roots were used to mimic the rough coat of a javelina.

Unique Garden Art

Lastly, rusted metal art is all the rage and you can find it in the shape of plants and animals.

I did love this group of jackrabbits and could just picture one sitting underneath my palo verde tree.

How about you?

Do you have any unique pieces of garden art? 

A Unique Nursery Nestled Under a Huge Tree

Do you like to visit California “Golden State” ?

I do.  I spent the first 20 years of my life in the Golden State before getting married and moving to Arizona.

Since then, California was a frequent destination for visits with my parents, siblings and their families.  

But, now since my family all has moved to Arizona, visits were infrequent.  

That is, until my daughter was stationed at a Navy Base in CA.  We have just finished up a trip visiting with my daughter and our 3-month old grandson.

Navy Base in CA , Golden State

My daughter was stationed at a Navy Base in Golden State

It’s times like these, that we live only 7 1/2 hours away.  

During our visit, we stopped by one of our favorite little beach towns, Carpinteria, which is located about 90 miles north of Los Angeles.

Fuchsia dependens

Photo: Fuchsia dependens

While there, we stopped by our favorite cupcake store, Crush Cakes, and then took a stroll through Carpinteria Landscape Nursery, which is always filled with a great variety of plants.

Fuchsia dependens

Photo: Fuchsia dependens

As I walked into the entrance, a bright-red flowering plant caught my eye. Fuchsia dependens is a great choice for the California climate.  

Hydrangea

Photo: Hydrangea

A group of hydrangea made me lament again that fact that they cannot grow in the desert climate.  But, that doesn’t stop me lusting after them.

Foxglove

Photo: Foxglove (Digitalis)

Whenever I see foxglove, I imagine myself standing in an English garden. I’ve even seen them offered for sale at our local big box store in AZ, but they would die soon after planting in the desert climate.  

purple trailing lantana and coreopsis

A wire container was filled with purple trailing lantana and coreopsis, which I thought was a great example of cool and warm color contrast.

plant nursery , Golden State

Whenever I find myself near a plant nursery or nice-looking garden, my family knows that I whatever we are planning on doing, will be delayed for a few minutes while I take time to look around.  

Because of that, I try my best to hurry as I did this day.  But, when I had finished, I couldn’t find them.  It turns out that they had found their way to the attached hardware store next to the nursery.  

Mt. Lemon Marigold (Tagetes lemmonii)

Photo: Mt. Lemon Marigold (Tagetes lemmonii)

This shrubby perennial grows great in the Southwest, drought tolerant garden.  Mt. Lemon marigold produces sunny, yellow flowers and looks great, but its foliage does have a strong fragrance when it is touched.  I don’t care for the fragrance, so I would be sure to plant it in the background where the fragrance won’t be an issue.

Golden State

I wish that I could say that Eric was enjoying all of the plants as much as I was, but he slept through the entire visit.

Verbena lanai series

Photo: Verbena lanai series

I’m always on the lookout for new plant colors and varieties.  Here was a verbena, which was labeled ‘Verbena lanai series’.  I liked its unique purple/white flowers.

Golden State

This particular nursery has a variety of garden art items.  This bunny is the only one you would want to see in your garden.

kangaroo paw

I loved this flower pot with the drought tolerant kangaroo paw plant growing inside.

Golden State

News of the severe drought in California is everywhere you go.  People are tearing out their lawns and forgoing flowering annuals in favor of succulents. Many drought tolerant plants were featured throughout the nursery.  I loved the colorful variety of succulents.

 kalanchoe.

What more is there to say?  I would love to have a ‘head planter’ planted with a kalanchoe.  

Our trip was short, but fun-filled.  We will return again this summer to spend more time visiting and exploring.

Unique Plant Nursery

Unique Plant Nursery

Have you every thought of a nursery of more than just a place to buy plants?

How about one with secret corners where visitors are invited to sit and eat their lunch or read a book?

Or have you visited a nursery that is nestled underneath a 50 year old, flowering tree that shades everything below?

Unique Plant Nursery

On a recent visit to California, I came upon a most unique plant nursery.

I hadn’t planned on visiting a nursery on this particular day, but I noticed a large floss silk tree (Chorisia speciosa) dominating the blue skyline with its dark pink flowers.  It took me a moment to notice the nursery tucked underneath the branches.

Unique Plant Nursery

The gate leading into the nursery, had decorative wooden signs describing what was yet to be discovered within.

succulent plant

I was greeted by a large jade plant, which if you’ve ever traveled to California, must be the ‘unofficial’ succulent plant of this beautiful state – everyone seems to have one growing in a pot somewhere in their garden.

A Unique Nursery Nestled Under a Huge Tree

Walking a little ways in, I immediately noticed a small pathway leading into the depths of the nursery, beckoning the visitor to discover where it led.

succulents and garden ornaments

Flanking the shady path were a variety of tropical plants, succulents and garden ornaments.

galvanized container

A galvanized container held a variety of wooden garden signs.

I decided to take the signs literally and to be on the lookout for gnomes 😉

A Unique Nursery Nestled Under a Huge Tree

Reaching the end of the pathway, visitors discover worn, yet comfortable garden furniture, inviting you to take a break and enjoy the shade on a warm summer’s day while being surrounded by the beauty of the plants.

A Unique Nursery Nestled Under a Huge Tree

Throughout the entire nursery were hidden corners filled with chairs and comfortable cushions.

Visitors are encouraged to bring their lunch and eat in the garden or bring along a favorite book.

If I lived near this nursery, I would be tempted to spend a lot of time here where I would be able to enjoy two of my favorite things – plants and books!

shade over a large number of plants.

The branches of the floss silk tree extended their shade over a large number of plants.

palo verde

Floss silk trees have a very unique trunk.  It is green, much like the palo verde, but they have very large thorns.

typical nursery

As I continued my journey of discovery through the nursery, I found that it was hard to reconcile this place as your typical nursery.

Oh, they did have basic gardening supplies such as organic fertilizers, peat moss, compost and pots – but it was the lack of obvious organization and the randomness that I found throughout.  

unusual flowering plants.

Small garden rooms were filled with an assortment of succulents, palms and unusual flowering plants.

White icicle lights were strung throughout the nursery, which made me wish that I had a chance to visit in the evening hours.

Plants could be found in a variety of sizes.  There was no plant signage or pricing information that could be easily seen.

A Unique Nursery Nestled Under a Huge Tree

Everywhere you would turn, there would be something new and unexpected to discover.

old cowboy boots

A row of old cowboy boots sat, ready to be used as planters.

variety of succulents

A container made from grape vines in the shape of a swan held a variety of succulents.

unique plant nursery.

A pair of rusty enamelware bowls sat empty on a plastic crate – maybe they will be filled with some succulents someday?  Hopefully sooner than later before the bottom rusts out.

While enjoying the unusual things throughout out the nursery, there were some more traditional areas with flowering plants available for sale.

Colorful begonias and fucshia plants

Colorful begonias and fucshia plants beckoned California gardeners.

unique plant nursery.

I found a corner filled with adeniums, which I must admit that I am fascinated by.

pink adenium

I just love this delicate, pink adenium flower, don’t you?

unique plant nursery.

I must admit that there were so many different things that I loved about this little nursery – it’s lack of organization, the fact that it looked more like a garden than a nursery, the hidden seating areas where you could read a book, the unique garden art (junk) and perhaps most of all was that the focus was on enjoying your visit to the nursery whether you bought anything or not.

Yucca gloriosa and more icicle lights

The roof of the little garden shop was decorated by a row of potted Yucca gloriosa and more icicle lights.  

unique plant nursery.

As I got ready to leave, I took a few minutes to talk to the woman who worked there.  She directed my attention toward the flowering canopy of the floss silk tree and told me that 5 hummingbirds make their home in its branches.

Male hummingbirds are extremely territorial, but the tree was so large that they all are able to live in it somewhat peaceably.  I was told that each hummingbird has a specific section of the tree that belongs to them and if one oversteps his section, than there are little arguments.    

unique plant nursery.

I enjoyed my visit to this 50-year old, unique plant nursery/garden and can’t wait to have a chance to come again.

**If you are ever near Carpinteria, California, I encourage you to take some time to visit the Carpinteria Landscape Nursery – but, be ready for a rather unorthodox nursery experience.

Is your garden looking a bit lackluster and in need of more color than green?  While colorful flowering plants can help, it is hard to find a plant that will flower all year long.  

*Some of you may know that I am the garden blogger for Birds & Blooms magazine.  I have been going through some recent blog posts that I have written for them and thought that I would share some of my favorites with you.

Garden Without Plants

As part of a two-part series, I shared some creative ways to add color to the landscape without relying on plants alone.  This is especially helpful during the winter months when not many plants are in flower.  

Most of the photographs in these posts were taken during a recent trip to Southeastern Arizona including Bisbee, Tombstone and Tucson.  

Backyard Garden Decor: Adding Color – Part 1

Backyard Garden Decor: Adding Color – Part 2  

I hope that you are inspired to use a few of these colorful ideas in your own landscape!