*updated with photos*
So last Friday I went shopping for the plants on my list (and naturally ended up with a few extras). It was a nice afternoon and I made time to visit two new (to me) nurseries.
First I hit up Sunflower Farms which was really cool! It is not like any other nursery in the Southbay. It is alot like what I image my nursery would look like if I ever ran one :9 You have to go there to understand, it's like someone's backyard forest jumble with plants loosely grouped into different areas. I love it. The lady on duty (I think Melissa?) was very helpful and pleasant to talk to. I showed her my plant list, she was sad they wouldn't have half of the items until spring, but had a guy from propagation go hunt down my echinacea. Here I found the coneflower "double decker" that I thought I'd have to order online, and the yarrow from my list. I also impulse bought two woolly thymes, a catnip and chocolate mint. I want to put the woolly thyme into wide low containers for my Felis catus to hang out on instead of plastering my flower pots again next spring..
Then I checked out Deep Roots Garden Center. It is nice, but I was sort of disappointed somehow. From their website info I think I was expecting something more California natives & xeriscape focused. It was way more upscale. They did have a nice patio with drought tolerants and natives, and a succulent section. But most of the their plant space was devoted to tropicals/indoor plants, and popular water-loving annuals. Inside was about 75% pottery and decor, a quarter fertilizers n' such. The soil & fertilizer choices were not bad, quite a few options, but not what I was looking for. Took home some petunias and succulents, but nothing from my Need list :/ I did see a shrub of which I already have a dwarf version but had forgotten the name of, I was happy to re-discover it (alas I have already forgotten its name again).
Finally I fell back on my 'safety' the International Garden Center. Plants here are often a bit more expensive than my usually nursery, but they always have a HUGE choice of all kinds of plants. I was super suprised to see their display of plants from Annie's Annuals, with good signage really giving good info about the plants. The guy (damn, I forgot his name and he was sooo helpful and patient that day!) told me that Annie's doesn't use growth inhibitors like most commercial growers, so their plants don't flower until after they are brought home and planted and grow - so they need awesome signs to show buyers how they will look. Nice touch. Guy also spent at least 20 minutes trying to track down if they could order the vanilla milkweed I have my heart set on. After a long catalog & online check he found none of their suppliers are carrying it :( but I was so appreciative that he tried. He also walked me out to check out their Clerodendrum ugandense - which was going by a common name that I've never heard for it before. I was interested because I haven't seen that plant since I bought two at a Home Depot about 10 years ago. I asked him how it was selling, etc. and he was surprised I was interested and happy to talk about how he'd been caring for them for the past year or so and was disappointed that they weren't selling. His explanation is that semi-deciduous is a bad word in our area :9 I did find a gorgeous bright blue delphinium that I'm going to use instead of a hollyhock. I also found the cottonseed meal and kelp meal I've been looking for.
So that is what I on a Friday. Next time the start of 2012 planting :)