Annie's Annuals

My friend Emma and I went here for the first time this week.


It's a big operation.



I've never felt pressed to come here before because my local nursery carries a lot of Annie's merchandise, and Richmond is kind of scary:
The city has in recent years suffered from a high crime rate, so serious that the city council at one point requested a declaration of a state of emergency and asked for the intervention of the Contra Costa County Sheriff and the California Highway Patrol in order to ameliorate crime waves. Murder, vehicle theft and larceny rates are all high, although they tend to be concentrated in certain areas such as the Iron Triangle and areas surrounding adjacent unincorporated North Richmond, which is outside the jurisdiction of the Richmond Police Department.

In 2004, Richmond was statistically the second most dangerous city in California, surpassing Oakland and was named the 8th most dangerous city in the country.[45] However, those rankings have changed and Richmond is now the third most dangerous city in California behind Compton and Oakland and 11th most dangerous nationally according to the Morgan Quitno rankings. For every 100,000 people there were 38.3 murders, 50.4 rapes, 485.8 robberies, 512 assaults, 1110.7 burglaries, 3497.4 counts or larceny and 2471.4 thefts of vehicles. Richmond had 42 murders in 2006; and the city experienced a record of 62 homicides in 1991.

As long as I can remember, going back over thirty years, Richmond has been a fixture on the nightly news due to its high crime rate. Anyway, whatever. It's only 30 minutes away

I was relieved to see that Annie's demonstration gardens look a little underwhelming in February. They're always so impressive in the catalogs and online. Reality check!


It looks like she's just now planting out for spring. And apparently some kind of digging or burrowing creature pesters her garden beds too. She's got bird netting draped over everything.


They do seem to grow most everything from seed, and most of the plants are still small. That's a relief too because my seed-grown plants are also still small. I was starting to feel like maybe they should be bigger by now. Nope, I'm right on track.

Her Platystemon californicus is ahead of mine tho'. Because you know gardening is all about who's ahead of who.


Should I say "their" instead of "her"? I know Annie herself isn't doing all the work, but the place has her name on it.

It's fun to visit a nursery that's really a nursery and not just a "garden center"--like pulling back the curtain a little bit.

Everything is in 4" pots, and costs at least $1-3 less than it does online or at the nursery (garden center) where I usually buy her stuff at.


Shall we wander?


I planted some sparaxis bulbs once (purchased elsewhere), but nothing came up.


Verbascums are good vertical elements in a small garden. I only have one. Come to think of it, I think I have one. I should go look for it.


Said Verbascum.



Said Dierama. I sowed Dierama seeds recently too. Her plants are a little bigger than mine, and they look better-watered.


I think it's time I found Nigella in my life.




Tempted by a perilous Puya.





(Erm, yeah. That was the sound of me just now realizing that "capensis" means from the Cape, as in South Africa's Cape Provice...)

This is the Montanoa mentioned as a Number One habitat plant for butterflies.


Did I buy any of these plants? No. What did I buy?

Delphinium cardinale (I got NO germination from seed, using seed from two different sources! So I bought three plants), Monardella undulata var. frutescens (there were still a few left after I bought three, but it's not available online anymore), Erysimum concinnum (three of them, but maybe I should have brought the San Francisco native Erysimum franciscanum var. crassifolium instead? Well, they sell it at Strybing), Dudleya pulverulenta, Ranunculus californicus, (one each), Aquilegia formosa, Lasthenia californica (two each), one Heracleum lanatum (I already have one, and I feel slightly guilty I don't want to grow another one from seed), and a Dodacatheon I can't remember the species name of right now, and that's not online).

The grand total was $92. That's money I don't have, but, hey, not bad for 16 plants.

Now stop me before I spend again.


Entangled said...

I've been tempted to order from Annie's Annuals, but it seems crazy to order annuals from the West Coast. But she/they list a lot of things I can't always find locally and can't find a seed source for. Cupheas, especially, and they now have some I've never seen before. I'm going to have to think about this some more...

chuck b. said...

Yeah, when I started gardening and before I had any sense, I ordered plants from the east coast. Now I think that's just crazy.

From my voracious catalog consumption this winter, I do think Annie's has things you can't get anywhere else.

But lots of people have things you can't get from anyone else.

It's kinda nice.

Brent said...

I've never mail ordered from Annies, but the selections are tempting.

Maybe I can get my brother to buy some. He has a whole yard that I'm itching to get my hands on.

mmw said...

They do sell plenty of perennials too!

Chuck, I could never germinate D. cardinale (or any Aquilegia) either.

lisa said...

Not a bad shopping day, I'd say. I think we are both similarly afflicted, and I won't reveal the amount I'd already spent before the first of the year...ahem...so now I'm trying to focus on seeds and not plants. (It can still add up to a nice chunk of change...could these purchases be considered a "donation toward conservation" and therefore tax deductible? ;-)