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July 19, 2002

Monterey Bay Nursery
Posted by Teresa at 05:47 PM *

I’m sorry to say that Monterey Bay Nursery is wholesale only, because their stock is splendid. In the meantime, they have the most beautiful catalogue photographs I’ve ever seen, this side of catalogues that exist to sell photographs; and some of Monterey Bay’s photos would look good framed and hung on my wall.

Here’s something I’ve wondered about: Online catalogues compete with my local stores for my business. If I go into those stores, I can see the goods in question in fine detail. Yet some of the best-funded catalogues on the web — who, I repeat, are theoretically in competition for my business — are illustrated with small, low-resolution photos shot from too far away by someone who didn’t stop to focus. How am I supposed to know I want to buy their stuff if I can’t properly see it?

Monterey Bay Nursery’s photos are as good as holding the plant in my hand, and they don’t stop with one. For example, with Phormium cookianum ‘Maori Sunrise’—a nice ornamental that looks like colorful giant grass stalks—you get to see the whole plant, and the leaf shapes, and an close-up view. “Hansa”, a distinguished Rugosa rose, is shown as foliage, bud, bloom, new foliage, and fall color. And they’re beautiful. I used to use that photo of Hansa’s young foliage as the wallpaper on my desktop.

The descriptions are always knowledgeable, and usually brisk and businesslike, but if you watch closely you can catch them saying something like:

[Dahlia hyb.] Croydonflower — a big, large, gigantic, mammoth lavender dinnerplate.

* * *

[Rosa] 91Therese Bugnet92flowernew growthfall color — NOOOooooooooo! Not bug-net, lame brain! Say “boo-nyay, BOO-NYAAAAAYYYYY!” Drives me crazy. Beautiful, luminous, intense light rose pink flowers with a heavy, spicy fragrance. Somewhat grey foliage, very disease resistant, excellent vigor. Very nice.

* * *

Chondropetalum tectorumat Dave Leroy’s house before he so callously ripped it outjointed stemsflower/seed headsyoung plantanother shot of Dave’s plant (RIP) — one of the few members of the very ornamental grass-like family Restionaceae to appear in the trade, this beautiful species grows as a clump of thin graceful round leaves, with sheathed, jointed stems, to 492 tall by 892 across. Brown-black seed heads appear at the end of each leaf in summer…

Below are links to some of my favorite items in their catalogue. I was going to typographically differentiate the ones that are especially beautiful, but after several tries I just gave up. Ceanothus maritimus, Erica sessiliflora, Salvia regla, and the second photo of Grevillea boongala might not do as much for you as some other plant. Just click randomly. They’re all good.

Abutilon megapotamicum ‘Jack Dixon’ :: Acacia cognata :: Adiantum cuneatum :: Adiantum hispidulum :: Arctostaphylos densiflorus :: Athyrium nipponicum pictum :: Banksia ericifolia :: Boronia crenulata ‘Shark Bay’ :: Bougainvillea ‘Orange King’ :: Brachyscome ‘Billabong Sunburst’ :: Callistemon citrinus ‘Burning Bush’ :: Campanula ‘Blue Gown’ :: Carpenteria californica ‘Elizabeth’ :: Ceanothus maritimus ‘Frosty Dawn’ :: Cedrus deodora :: Chorizema cordatum :: Cistus hybridus :: Clivia miniata, orange :: Clivia miniata, yellow :: Dahlia ‘Bon Esprit’ :: Dahlia ‘Brookside’ :: Dahlia ‘Park Princess’ :: Dahlia ‘Rebecca Lynn’ :: Dahlia ‘Tanjoh’ :: Dicentra spectabilis :: Distictus buccinatorius :: Dryopteris erythrosora :: Eranthemum pulchellum :: Erica sessiliflora :: Eucalyptus ficifolia :: Euphorbia griffithii ‘Fireglow’ :: Eustoma lisianthus ‘Mariachi Lavender’ :: Fuchsia ‘Korean Maid’ :: Fuchsia ‘Voodoo’ :: Gaura lindheimeri :: Gelsemium sempervirens :: Geranium cinereum :: Geranium harveyi :: Geranium psilostemon :: Ginkgo biloba :: Gladiolus tristis :: Grevillea austraflora :: Grevillea boongala ‘Spinebill’ 1 :: Grevillea boongala ‘Spinebill’ 2 :: Grevillea juniperina :: Grevillea ‘Long John’ :: Grevillea ‘Masons Hybrid’ :: Grevillea thelemanniana ‘Grey Form’ :: Grevillea thelemanniana ‘Magic Lantern’ :: Grevillea Willisii :: Hakonechloa macra aureola :: Helichrysum baxteri :: Houttuynia cordata variegata :: Iris ‘A Sante’ :: Iris, plum & yellow :: Iris, rosy pink :: Isopogon formosus :: Justicia brandegeana :: Kunzea affinis :: Lamium maculatum ‘Pewter Pink’ :: Lavandula angustifolia ‘Munstead’ :: Libertia peregrinans :: Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Palo Alto’ :: Liquidambar styraciflua :: Magnolia ‘Atlas’ :: Nepeta ‘Blue Wonder’ :: Nolina species :: Omphaloides cappadocia :: Ophiopogon planiscapa nigrescens :: Parthenocissus tricuspidata :: Passiflora alatocaerulea :: Passiflora ‘Elizabeth’ :: Passiflora vitifolia :: Pelargonium ‘Morning Glory’ :: Pelargonium ‘Long Shot’ :: Pelargonium ‘Sensation’ :: Pelargonium ‘Americana Salmon’ :: Pelargonium ‘Americana Violet’ :: Pelargonium ‘Amethyst’ :: Pelargonium ‘White Nicole’ :: Pennisetum setaceum cupreum :: Penstemon ‘Cherry Glow’ :: Petunia ‘Celebrity Pink Morn’ :: Phlebodium aureum :: Phlomis fruticosa :: Phormium cookianum ‘Tricolor’ :: Phormium cookianum ‘Cream Delight’ :: Phormium cookianum ‘Fiesta’ :: Phormium cookianum ‘Maori Sunrise’ 1 :: Phormium cookianum ‘Maori Sunrise’ 2 :: Phormium cookianum ‘Maori Sunrise’ 3 :: Phormium cookianum ‘Surfer’ :: Phormium cookianum :: Pistacia chinensis :: Polystichum polyblepharum :: Pteris quadriaurita argyreae :: Rosa hyb. Cl. ‘Altissimo’ :: Rosa hyb. ‘Beautiful Doll’ :: Rosa hyb. Cl. ‘Cecile Brunner’ :: Rosa hyb. ‘Evelyn’ :: Rosa hyb. ‘Joseph92s Coat’ :: Rosa hyb. ‘Perdita’ :: Rosa rugosa ‘Hansa’ 1 :: Rosa rugosa ‘Hansa’ 2 :: Rosa rugosa ‘Hansa’ 3 :: Rosa rugosa ‘Roseraie de l92Hay’ 1 :: Rosa rugosa ‘Roseraie de l92Hay’ 2 :: Rosa rugosa ‘Therese Bugnet’ 1 :: Rosa rugosa ‘Therese Bugnet’ 2 :: Rosa hyb. ‘Sally Holmes’ :: Rosa ‘Shailer92s White Moss’ :: Rosa hyb. ‘The Pilgrim’ :: Rosa hyb. ‘Tradescant’ :: Rosmarinus officinalis prostratus :: Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Tuscan Blue’ :: Salvia cacaliaefolia :: Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’ :: Salvia ‘Maraschino’ :: Salvia microphylla ‘Berzerkeley’ :: Salvia regla ‘Huntington’ :: Santolina chamaecyparissus :: Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue’ :: Scabiosa ‘Pink Mist’ :: Scaevola pallida :: Scaevola ‘Purple Fanfare’ :: Schoenoplectus montanus :: Sisyrinchium bellum ‘Bruno’ :: Stachys byzantina :: Stackhousia monogyna :: Tagetes lemmonii :: Tanacetum ‘Beth Chatto’ :: Thunbergia battiscombei :: Thunbergia gibsonii :: Thunbergia grandiflora :: Thymus ‘Rose Williams’ :: Tibouchina urvilleana :: Tradescantia andersoniana :: Tulbaghia violacea :: Verbena canadensis ‘Homestead’ :: Verbena canadensis ‘Rosita’ :: Verbena tapiens ‘Blue Violet’ :: Verbena tapiens ‘Lavender’ :: Viola ‘Royal Robe’ :: Weigela florida variegata :: Wisteria floribunda longissima alba :: Wisteria sinensis ‘Caroline’ :: Zantedischia ‘Flame’ :: Zantedischia ‘Pink’ ::

Comments on Monterey Bay Nursery:
#1 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2002, 03:46 PM:

I hope you're at least looking at them; they're awfully pretty. I'd vainly imagined that there'd be one or two comments along the lines of "Wow, look at that great Wisteria floribunda longissima alba!"; which (a.) tells you where my head is at, and (b.) shows that Jon Singer isn't reading this weblog regularly. I'd add that he's no doubt busy doing mad-scientist Jon-things, but that goes without saying.

#2 ::: FranW ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2002, 05:32 PM:

Oooooooh....I have catalog envy! That Eustoma lisianthus 'Mariachi Lavender' is enough to make me hyperventilate.

(And it's _still_ winter in New Zealand, and seed catalogs don't seem to have been invented here yet. Bummer.)


#3 ::: Greg van Eekhout ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2002, 09:04 PM:

I worked on a web-delivered plant biology course. We took a lot of photos of plants. Ours all looked like cleverly shaped candles.

#4 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2002, 09:43 PM:

No seed catalogues? That's inhuman. How do New Zealanders get through the winter?

Greg, that sounds fine, assuming the plants looked like cleverly shaped candles too.

#5 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2002, 10:09 PM:

Plant names featured prominently in the single most useless thing I've ever said in my life.

When we moved into our current apartment, the only way we could get our old black sofabed into my basement office was by shoving it out the back bedroom window, then lowering it from the fire escape into the back yard via a pulley. We'd measured, so we knew it would fit through the back basement door. No way could we get it through the narrow first-floor hallway and around the hairpin turn at the top of the basement stairs.

Naturally, Jim Macdonald comes into this story, though it could also have been a Steve Gould story. (It's pure coincidence that the two most pulley-happy people I know both teach at the same workshop I do.)

Jim rigged an elaborate pulley arrangement that hung from the fire escape of the apartment above us, and was lowering the sofabed into the back yard, where Patrick was waiting to guide it down. (In the meantime, Patrick had whipped out his cell phone and called his assistant at work to say "You're not going to believe what we're doing right now.")

It was at that critical moment that I suddenly saw what was about to happen, and said the most useless thing I've ever said in my life. Which was: "Don't put the sofa down on top of the Astilbe chinensis pumila!"

"What?" said Jim, lowering the sofa to the ground.

"What?" said Patrick, unerringly bringing it to rest directly on top of the astilbe.

"Never mind," I said.

#6 ::: FranW ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2002, 10:29 PM:

Winter here is green, mostly, so the fanatical yearnings for spring growth are greatly decreased. Seed catalogs--NZ'ers just seem to go to their local nursery (there's one about every thirty feet) and buy stuff directly. Nurseries tend to have lots of plants (which get expensive!) plus about a three square inch display devoted to seeds. Go figure. So I'm learning how to get cuttings to take root.

And I'm copying your recipes and saving them until summer hits.

Love the pulley story :-D


#7 ::: Alison Scott ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2002, 02:24 PM:

And some of these links are to passifloras. My passionflower is my very favourite plant in the garden, for all it's just a bog standard hardy p. caerulea. It's sprawling all over the fence, and Marianne counted 15 flowers in bloom yesterday. This is its second year. We had one tiny fruit last year, but I'm assuming that this means that it *will* self-pollinate, and I'm hoping for more this year. And so far, the total amount of care it's had has been to plant it, and to tie it up to various bits of fence and wall.

#8 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2002, 03:27 PM:

Teresa said:

I hope you're at least looking at them; they're awfully pretty. I'd vainly imagined that there'd be one or two comments along the lines of "Wow, look at that great Wisteria floribunda longissima alba!";

Yes, but I've spent so much time on the other links I only had time to look at a few. I liked the lavender wisteria better. Must go now. Have dental appointment at 3 and must have lunch first. (Nitrous on empty stomach is bad juju.)

#9 ::: Kip T. Williams ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2002, 05:05 PM:

My reactions are multiple. Yes, they're beautiful pictures. But they're my competition!

My work includes grabbing the digital camera (luckily the old one doesn't work on my computer, so I now get to use the nice one, which is my boss's, not company property) and nipping over to the store to photograph something to look good on the company web page. So seeing these oil paintings of hero product does arouse a little envy along with the "oooh." At least the company's not competing with us, but I feel like I'm competing with whoever does those pix.

Currently, my photography routinely inhabits the welcome page of my company's site. In the works, with approval from above, is a gallery of my past shots of the place where I work.


ps: Thanks for putting my link in on page 1! I will be updating content again soon to put some stereo pictures I shot in England up, and also the trip to Italy.

#10 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2003, 07:35 PM:

Kip, Monterey Bay's not your competition at all--looking at your website, looks like your company is a retail nursery on the other side of the US from Monterey Bay. I'm pretty sure they don't ship that far. :)

I've been to Monterey Bay Nursery. It's huge. My friend and fellow plant nut and I shrugged off their offer of a golf cart to travel through the nursery, and hoofed it instead. Wandered through a valley-full of 1-gallon and 5-gallon containers of all sorts of nice looking plants. Hiked back up the hill, over the ridge, to find another huge slope full of more plants we never got to. Luen Miller--one of MBN's owners and I'd guess the writer of those funny comments--is a really nice guy, too.

Nice to see I'm not the only one who enjoys their website. Native Sons is another good one, and San Marcos Growers. I'm in the biz (landscape designer) so I've got an excuse to hang out looking at plant photos there. *grin*

#11 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2003, 08:54 PM:

Wow, that's gotta be some kind of record. 364 days between the penultimate and final posts (before this one) in this thread.

I'm just saying.

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