THE GARDEN SHED
On every road trip to the Central Coast I visit this Cambria East Village gem without fail. The Shops at the Garden Shed offer a whimsical small boutique shopping experience which includes several small shops clustered around the back courtyard of the aforementioned Garden Shed which itself has a lovely selection of garden art, home accessories, pots and plants. Even though I have never really been a rusty metal, upcycled, vintage kind of girl this place just makes me smile. It is perfectly in step with the woodsy, redwood and glass meets Victorian cottage vibe of this seaside village.
When you walk through the inside retail space of The Garden Shed you emerge into this courtyard, a riot of colorful plants and pots, displayed in creative and unusual vintage vignettes.
This charming rusted gate on the shady side of the courtyard is the shipping and delivery entrance–what a loss for gardeners that it remains propped open all day, literally disappearing into the fencing.
There are lots of succulents and some seasonal color to be found. Many plants are sourced locally from wholesale growers.
The Junk Girls make all kinds of interesting and unique items from recycled materials and parts. This vintage truck/planter leaves no doubt as to their skill set and the rusty bicycles pedal across their roof, watched by another Scarecrow Festival entry. I am SO without succulent knowledge and can’t identify this monster for you but it looked truly alive.
The back of the courtyard is occupied by Grow, a specialty nursery focusing on rare succulents. They also have an inside area with pots and lots of garden themed treasures.
This old tractor, acting as both art and landscape, is at the very back of the courtyard behind Grow.
This architectural specimen may be run of the mill amongst gardeners who are knowledgeable about the wide variety of succulents but it was pretty spectacular to me!
CAMBRIA NURSERY & FLORIST
This was my first opportunity to check out this full service nursery and florist perched high on a hill above the village. Although their emphasis is on coast friendly, drought tolerant plants with proven track records in local climate conditions there is a little bit of everything to be found on the 4 acres nursery grounds–vegetables, perennials, succulents, shrubs and trees. A number of quaint outbuildings feature seasonal home decor. Cambria Nursery also does an extensive Christmas light festival which was in the preliminary set up stages on my visit.
Who wouldn’t be charmed by entering through this classic red barn?
This fun display rack houses a bevy of Tillandsia, the so-called airplants. Most species in this genus are either epiphytes (growing without soil while attached to other plants) or aerophytes (having no roots and typically native to areas with shifting desert soil).
Decorated for fall, the grounds are easily wandered on paver patios and decomposed granite paths–the latter being a little challenging on which to maneuver your wagon loaded with garden additions.
Great succulent displays are ubiquitous in the mild winter parts of California but few are as well organized and labeled as this one.
I especially liked the Japanese Tea House and its small koi pond. The Tea House provides a focal point around which are grouped all those plants we typically think of as having an Asian garden aesthetic.
Colorful signage helps shoppers negotiate the meandering paths to the many demonstration beds and the nursery stock represented in them.
A wonderful and seemingly life-sized whale topiary is settled into the hillside next to the Kids Garden. The topiary material is Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Marjorie Channon’.
The condition of the plants available varied widely. The six paks and 4″ pots were fresh as was some of the wide selection of woody shrubs. Many of the woodies looked a little long in their cans but frankly did not look much different than drought tolerants and natives in late fall even if they are in the ground. The staff was very attentive and knowledgeable. I did snap up a great looking Sollya heterophylla (Australian bluebell creeper) that is bound for my in progress side yard renovation. I am putting this nursery destination back on my list to visit in early spring–I’ll do some research on selections whose names I jotted down and be ready to fill up my wagon.