My Material Life

A Visit to Flora Grubb Gardens

For Mother’s Day I requested a trip to Flora Grubb Gardens in San Francisco. I’ve been wanting to go there for a while. You can’t read a Sunset magazine or any other garden design writing from around the Bay Area without mention of Flora Grubb. And there really is a Flora Grubb – but could that be her real name?

Some day I want to plant a Matilija poppy. What a spectacular flower. But my native plant book tells me they can be finicky and aggressive. In fact someone at Flora Grubb told us you have to be careful where you put them because they tend to take over. But those big papery petals! One of these days I’ll try it when I figure out where to put it, maybe along the side of the house.

These wall-hanging succulent forms are all over the place. And of course, you can buy the forms and everything you need to plant your own. These are not inexpensive, but I was delighted by Flora’s prices for plants.

We ended up buying three Ray Hartman Ceanothus plants trained as trees for about $50 each. I’m not sure we needed three, but we couldn’t pass up the price. The total for all three is about what we paid for a single plant from another center that never looked as good as these. We love all our Ray Hartmans. Or will once we get them home; we didn’t expect to buy them and didn’t have room in our car, so they’re still there. If you’re in the area, Flora Grubb is an enjoyable place to visit and even have a special coffee treat. Be sure to try out one of the heated concrete seats that must feel great during a chilly San Francisco summer.

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