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.