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Today I went to Almaden Valley Nursery in south San Jose. It was a very productive shopping trip. Particularly as my car was getting serviced while I was enjoying the nursery.

I got there a bit early. This is what I saw as I looked through the window. There were at least two nursery cats, I discovered later. They were chatty and friendly. It was pretty cold and drizzled on and off but petting the cats helped my mood.
Gift shop cat. 🐈

I took this picture for a friend who loves true blue flowers. They're Corydalis curviflora Blue Heron. Sadly my friend can't grow these. Nor can she grow Meconopsis, another true blue flower.
Wow, these Corydalis curviflora Blue Heron are very blue.


I only grow pink (purple, orange and other hot colored) plants, so Corydalis is not for me. This Indian hawthorn would fit into my color scheme but I just loathe it. It's everywhere and the reddish tint on the stems and new leaves leaves me cold. It's one of the few flowers that I really, really don't like.
Indian hawthorn, Raphiolepsis indica, a shrub I loathe.

Chorizema Bush Flame, on the other hand, looked interesting. It grows up to 3' tall and wide and flowers in spring and winter. I might do well under the arches on the west side of the house. Rumor has it that it's a hybrid between C. cordatum and C. varium. It's an Australian plant that grows best in some shade in acidic soil.
Chorizema Bush Flame gets up to 3' tall & wide. Flowers late winter.

I didn't get any Chorizema today. Instead I got two variegated mint bushes, Prostanthera ovalifolia variegata. It grows up to 6' tall and 5' wide.That's perfect for the border under the arches. It's another Australian plant. They're still quite trendy.
Prostanthera variegata. I got 2 of them.

Sweet pea tree, Polygala myrtifolia is another candidate for planting under the arches if the mint bushes don't work out. It's a pioneer plant from South Africa. Pioneer plants colonize places that have recently become habitable for plants, e.g because a forest has been clearcut.
Sweet pea tree, Polygala myrtifolia, is a cute & petite tree.

There were quite a lot of flowers that smelled wonderful at the nursery. This black-stemmed pittosporum, Pittosporum tenuifolium, is a case in point. The flowers are unremarkable to look at but the scent was heavenly. It can grow up to 30' tall, so it's not suitable for my garden. It's from New Zealand.
This black-stemmed pittosporum smells heavenly.

Another plant I only intend to enjoy in other people's gardens is the Meyer lemon. The flowers smell so strongly, they can give me a headache.
Meyer lemon flowers are wonderfully scented. 🍋

Another "smelly" flower -- honeysuckle.
I could just walk around here and sniff all day. 😊

If you've read my LJ for a while, you may have noticed the "Ikea" palm that shows up on all my photos taken from the swing. At the nursery I learned that it is a sago palm, Cycas revoluta, and that it can get quite expensive. I think I paid $15 for it at Ikea. At Almaden Valley, the price tag said $60. It's a plant that thrives on neglect, so I'm not sure why they are charging that much for one. It's not even particularly big. The one I have is a couple of years old and bigger than the one in the nursery.
Sago, Cycas revoluta, costs $60 here. $15 at IKEA.

I was tempted to get this Strybing Red abutilon, but didn't. It was $35. As much as I love abutilons, I can't justify that, even if it is a real corker. It's from the Strybing Arboretum in Berkeley, not far from here. They have introduced a lot of plants that do well in the Bay Area.
Tempted to get a Strybing Red but it's $35.

This Nabob abutilon was less than $9, so I got it instead. Nabob is a relatively common cultivar. It got an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1993 because it is so floriferous and the wine red color is just yummy.
At less than $9 Abutilon Nabob was a steal.

Here is a real doer, woolly thyme, Thymus pseudolanuginosus, will be very happy as long as it's not in full shade. I got a six-pack of them. One thing I really appreciate about thymes, is that they can stand a lot of heat and drought.
Woolly thyme.

Santa Barbara daisy, Erigeron karvinskianus, is another plant that can take a lot of abuse. It's trailing and will grow well in a pot or draped over the edge of a raised bed. The flowers start out white and age to a deep rose color. It should be cut down regularly.

Apparently it can get invasive. We'll see if that becomes a problem. The label says to deadhead the plant to avoid it reseeding. I usually like plants that reseed, so I doubt that I'll keep deadheading these. I've read that it doesn't like it too hot, so I'll probably put it in the large raised bed.
Santa Barbara daisy.

This six-pack contains Godetia grandiflora Grace Mixed. It's an F1 hybrid, so the seeds won't come true. Then again I've never seen an ugly godetia, so I hope it will reseed anyway. Apparently the flowers are up to 3" across and the plant up to 30" tall. That's a lot of petal power. Let's hope they deliver. They make very nice cut flowers, I'm told.
Godetia Grace Mix for spring and early summer color.

The variegation makes this pelargonium shine even when it's not in flower. The upper two petals are wine red and the lower three are pink, according to the photos I've seen. It's perennial, but we'll see if it survives the winter here. I'm going to put it in the large raised bed. Hopefully it's vigorous enough to duke it out with the verbena and other assorted perennials and succulents there.
Variegated pelargonium Oldbury Duet.

I bought two Salvia x jamensis, I discovered. This one was sold as such. The variety is Sierra de San Antonio. The descriptions of the flower color varies a lot between different sources. Colors cited are white to yellow and peach to pink. It remains to be seen what flower color I get. This is another plant I intend to put in the large raised bed.
Salvia x jamensis Sierra de San Antonio has cream & peach flowers.

This plant was sold by Monrovia as Salvia Vibe Ignition Purple. But it's another variety of S. x jamensis, I found out when I searched on the name. Taxonomy aside, the flowers are stunning. They look fantastic against the grey fence. So I'm going to put this plant in the large raised bed, too.
Salvia Vibe Ignition Purple will look great against the grey fence.

And, finally, the only plant I bought somewhere else -- a tomato. I wanted a cherry tomato. Most of the plants were more or less blue. This one was less so. I hope it wasn't stunted by frost. We had some cold nights earlier this week. I got it at Home Depot. I'll pot it on tomorrow, before I put it in its final container.
Yellow cherry tomato Sun Sugar will hopefully be tasty.

 
 
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