Cambria Nursery

Cambria Nursery and Florist is one of the better all purpose nurseries in our part of the central coast. A destination type nursery with display gardens, a great selection of plants, a florist, gift shop, and events.  A few weeks ago Gabe was offered the opportunity to advertise our services by designing one of their display gardens.

The garden area he chose was a large circular amphitheater where events are held.

It was in dire need of help.  It had lots of empty space and a mix of old overgrown plants. But the hardscaping was nice and it is an interestingly shaped space so it was fun to design.

Since it is sort of a half circle shape I suggested that it be planted in a rainbow pattern.  Gabe’s response was that I had better not design it that way and I had to agree that it was sort of a corny idea.  But then I accidentally, sort of designed it that way anyway.  Not exactly.  It isn’t a perfect prism or anything.  But there is a color theme thing going on.  Blue and Gold to the left leads into orange and red and then fuchsia and purple. Oops.

Gabe and the crew removing the old plants.  The only thing I kept were some shrubs and small trees and a big clump of what I thought was Lysimachia ciliata but now looking that plant up the leaves aren’t right.  Well…it will be a surprise then. This is why as a designer I like just pulling everything out and working with a clean slate.  It is easy to misidentify plants when they are not in bloom.

Everything is in place and Victor is hard at work getting them all in the ground. I’m pretty happy with the blue and gold mediterranean theme going on in the left hand side of this garden. That is Stachys byzantina ‘Primrose Heron’ in front of Victor and the large gold shrubs to the left are Caryopteris X clandonensis ‘Worcester Gold’.

One of the great things about designing in a garden center is if a plant you ordered was not available you can just go pillage from the nursery stocks!

The area around the fountain became a succulent garden.  Normally we wouldn’t plant so close together but we wanted instant results for this garden. The main specimens in this garden are Agave ‘Blue Glow, Yucca ‘Bright Star’, and Agave ‘Shark Skin’ surrounded by a bed of Echeverias and Aloes.

I’ll go back to take more photos once the garden has grown in a bit.  Or if you are visiting the central coast go check out Cambria Nursery and you can do some shopping and see one of my gardens in person!

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Design Update: Completed!

I went back to see my Morro Bay design the other day and the work is pretty much completed.

OK the mulch is a bit much.  The homeowner went with shredded Eucalyptus because it is much cheaper.  Once it gets a bit weather worn the color won’t be as intense.  And of course once you take the plants out of their big pots and put them in the ground they seem tiny.  But most of these are shrubs that will get between three and ten feet tall.  Morro Bay has a very long growing season so many of them will grow and fill in quickly.  I look forward to taking some pictures in six to eight months and seeing how the garden is progressing.

I would have preferred a gravel mulch for the succulent beds in front of the house but that can be quite expensive.  Once the plants will in and the mulch has faded this will look much more natural.

I think in time this border will blend in nicely with the neighbors garden.  Going back and looking at photos can highlight problem areas in your design.  I see a Kniphofia that needs to be repositioned.

Leucadendron salignum ‘Winter Red’

Leucadendron ‘Jester’.  Usually I am not a fan of this type of variegation but I think this plant mixes well with other boldly colored plants.

Calopsis paniculata  Rhodocoma capensis

My original design specced four Chondropetalum ‘El Campo’ (a beautiful dwarf Native Sons selection) and a large Chondropetalum elephantinum.  But then I saw some Thamnochortus insignus in a garden and decided I liked it better than C. elephantinum. Then five gallon C. ‘El Campo’ were not available.  Only show quality specimens in fifteen gallon containers.  That would be stunning but it would also have destroyed our plant budget.  So we went with just one ‘El Campo’ and added the above Calopsis paniculata Rodocoma capensis and two Thamnochortus insignis instead.  I think the variation will be nicer.  When you design a garden you need to be ready to make substitutions and modify your design at the last minute.

ETA: just a correction on the Restio pictured above.  It is actually Rhodocoma capensis.  We considered Calopsis paniculata but thought it would get too big for the spot so went with the Rhodocoma instead.

Furcrea foetida ‘Mediopicta’

When I design a garden on paper I always try to match colors to neighbors or even distant visible spots in the garden.  It is hard to tell from the photos since the plants are so small now but I am pretty satisfied with the way my color scheme worked out in this garden.  The variegated yellow of the Furcrea above is matched in yellow and green Leucadeondron ‘Ceres’ to its left.  The orange flowers of the pincushion on the left edge of the photo is picked up in other pincushions strategically placed around the garden and the red leaved Leucadendron barely visible in the center and winter blooming Aloes (and I am hoping some Kniphofias will overlap as well since they have a very long bloom season here on the coast).

Aloe rubroviolacea

I had originally specced Aloe wickensii for this spot but Gabe showed me these beautiful specimens of Aloe rubroviolacea from Yemen that he had in his backyard nursery and I made another design swap.  I think their shape is more similar to the A. speciosa and A. ferox from my inspiration photo and they were also just really nice big plants.

Grevillea rhyolitica (deau flame).  I still have a lot to learn when it comes to Grevilleas but right now this one is my favorite.  Gabe gave me one for my new garden!

This has been a fun process so I look forward to sharing more pictures as this garden fills in.  Hopefully over the next year everything will grow in and come together nicely and my design choices will be successful.