Rana Creek Nursery: Too Much Fun!

On my way back from Tassajara, I had the wonderful opportunity to stop at Rana Creek Nursery. Nestled on the side of Carmel Valley Road, Rana Creek is a wholesale nursery that's open to the public, and they just happened to be open when my friend and I drove by.

The Welcome sign leads into one of several shaded greenhouses, filled with healthy plants.

Even better, small gardens in front of the greenhouses show what the plants can do.

A beautiful Epilobium, much redder (rather than orange) color than most I've seen. (Should have bought one).

The biggest, tallest, widest, meanest deer grass I've ever seen. Probably 8 feet high and wide. I do hope mine will stay a little smaller.

And a beautiful mystery bush, I forgot to ask what it is.

After strolling around for a bit, I went into the trailer/office, where I met the very friendly owner and her even friendlier dog. We chatted a bit, then went off together in search of a few plants I needed. As we walked, she told me that off late, one of the main business areas for Rana Creek has been green roofs, and that they supplied the plants for the green roof at the Academy of Sciences. I had been at the Academy in June and had been spellbound by the beauty of the roof and its many winged visitors, so I wanted to learn more.

I walked over to where the coconut fiber trays were waiting to be filled.

The material for the trays comes for the Philippines, where it's considered trash. The trays are filled with a soil mixture and, of course, plants.

Here some sedums, waiting to grow a little bigger.

Grasses and yarrow, a nice combination of different shades of green, with the promise of blossoms.

And finally a sea of grass, just watered (click the image to see the droplets of water).

The owner told me that green roofs are getting quite popular because, as the Academy of Sciences explains: "The endless swath of black rooftops and pavement trap heat, causing cities to be 6 to 10 degrees warmer than outlying greenbelt areas." Green roofs are also aesthetically pleasing, and great for many kinds of critters.

Rana Creek is currently working on several custom projects. Because each climate and sun exposure requires different plants, the trays are always planted for that location, and possibly even for that exposure.

After taking photos and looking at a few more plants (while my friend played with the dog), I finally settled on two Salvia Bee's Bliss, two Chaparral Currents, and three small native sedums. The plants were very reasonably prices, but I did not have my list prepared yet, so I hesitated to buy too much on impulse. And really, it was already so much fun to see it all, I didn't have to drive home laden with gifts for myself and my garden. Though I do expect I'll stop at Rana Creek Nursery next time I'm in that area -- and invite you all to do the same.


You definitely found some interesting things looking very nice at this difficult time of year. I seem to have a collection of those really interesting plants that I remember to photograph but forget to get the name of... Maybe yours is one of the many things they call goldenbushes? (Right now our Isocoma menziesii is blooming away, but there are Hazardias and other goldenbushes that bloom at different times of year...) But I'm no expert on all the yellow flowered things in our wilderness...
Country Mouse said…
How interesting to learn about the green roof connection and see the process - I'll have to make sure to get there myelf. It sounds wonderful.
Good morning Town Mouse! I love to visit nurseries. Epilobium is a new plant for me, I like it. Salvia is a winner, reliable and long blooming. Happy autumn to you!
Christine said…
Green roofs just make so much sense, solving so many problems in one green oasis! I'd like to try to make a mini roof someday over a potting table, but I'll need to learn more about the waterproofing first!
Chari + Matt said…
I work for the firm that did the waterproofing/roofing aspect of that roof :-) In fact, I just sent the guy who worked on it a link to Garden Rant because it hit on several of his favorite subjects: photography, flowers, and the Academy of Sciences roof. It's been fun seeing that roof get more and more play in the Bay Area. Credit to Chicago, who really pushed it to the fore.
Gail said…
That does sound like a good time...We are starting to see a few green roof in Nashville. I would love to see more! We have serious water runoff issues. But this community is not one to embrace the new! gail
Barbara said…
Ah yes the DYC (damn yellow comps). Could it be Ericameria something? E. pinifolia was blooming at Rancho but it looks different than this. Could it be rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus)? Hazardia squarrosa is also blooming but it has different leaves. If I had to bet on one it would be rabbitbrush.
Anonymous said…
The mystery plant is Ericameria ericoides (Mock heather) planted in the Hedgerow along the nursery fence 7 years ago. This coastal species has thrived in this setting getting much larger than it would along the wind blown dunes. It is a great insect attractant.