PlantPlay Nursery in Carlsbad. A Gardening Oasis.

#things to do in Carlsbad #Carlsbad #gardening

In my not-so-little town of Carlsbad, nestled between all the destruction from too many years of overbuilding, you can still find beauty if you look for it.

plantplaysign

If you live anywhere near San Diego, you really need to drive up the coast and experience this most unique and beautiful garden shop.

PlantPlay Nursery at 4915 El Camino Real in Carlsbad is tucked away in a corner near Kelly Drive, south of Tamarack Avenue.

If you remember the old Country Store with the chicken on top of the building, you know exactly where it is.

Walking into PlantPlay is like entering into a secret garden  –  winding pathways, thousands of unusual plants, garden decor, the sweet melodious harmonies of strategically placed water features — birds chirping, and chickens (yes, chickens!)

It’s also chock full of drought tolerant plants and exotic specimens.

Owners Mike and Sergio know EVERYTHING about plants and planting.

This is Mike.

PlantPlay1Here’s Sergio and his baby girl.plantplaysergioLook at this sweet face!Plantplay2 plantplay4This chicken is so soft and feathery.
plantplay5The prettiest chicken I’ve ever seen!
FYI, the chickens are PETS, ‘cos Mike and Sergio LOVE animals.

plantplay6 Dutchman’s Pipe, strange but beautiful!plantplayweirdplant plantplayweirdplant2A rose, of course.plantplay7rose This camellia is as fragrant as it is pure and velvety white.plantplaycamellia

plantplay8plantplay9plantplay10plantplaysucculentOld wagon on the hill. There’s not much left of the charm of old Carlsbad, so this is an especially poignant reminder.plantplaywagonWhen you visit Sergio and Mike at PlantPlay Nursery, tell them Princess Rosebud says hello!

 

A Secret Cathedral at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

We had one last detour before our final destination of the magnificent Zion National Park.

Our goal was to pack in as many sights as we could on our ten-day trip.

We were up early for a short hike to a lookout at Lake Powell.

Glen Canyon Dam.lakepowell

Lake Powell, with hardly any water in the middle of this drought.lakepowell3 Beautiful cliffs.lakepowell1

Back on the road, we turned off the main highway and set out on a dusty, bumpy, red-dirt path barely wide enough for one vehicle — more like a wagon train trail — several miles off the main road to a trailhead that would lead to an amazing slot canyon hike.

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, at 1.7 million acres, dominates southern Utah.

It’s unique in that it is the first monument to be administered by the Bureau of Land Management, rather than the National Park Service.

The Grand Staircase is a geological formation spanning eons of time and is a territory of multicolored cliffs, plateaus, mesas, buttes, pinnacles, slot canyons, and world-class paleontological sites..

After hiking for about and hour or so, clambering up and out of narrow and shady slot canyons that seemed to go on forever, passing a random cow or two, the “cathedral” emerged in a open space bathed in sunlight.

It was really, really, really, REALLY special. Words can’t describe it and my pics don’t do justice to its beauty.vermillioncliffscathedral

I don’t know why it’s “secret” except that a couple of experienced hikers we chatted with at the trailhead shared a few of the highlights of the area and cautioned us not to be TOO specific when we talked about where we were to avoid it becoming overcrowded. vermillioncliffs vermillioncliffs1 vermillioncliffs2 Spectacular. WOW.vermillioncliffs4 This is supposed to be one of the longest slot canyon hikes in the country, if not THE longest. We hiked for about three hours in, a six-mile round trip.vermillioncliffs5 vermillioncliffs6 ME! vermillioncliffsme Vermillioncliffs10 Vermillioncliffs11 vermillioncliffs12

Next stop, ZION!

P.S. And don’t ask, there’s no way I’m telling the exact coordinates. Only tugboat man knows exactly where we were :)

 

Peeking Into My Past. Throwback Thursday

wolfiesabsdsuA peek into my past.

Poetically:

Revealing the year is something I’m not gonna do…
The shoes MIGHT be a clue,
But II’ll only divulge it’s SDSU.

That’s me — yes, it is — with Beowulf and Sabrina. Sabrina (best Border Collie EVER)  is sitting under my chair and my part-wolf, part Malamute rescue puppy — I rescued him when he was three weeks old and bottle fed him, bringing him everywhere in a front pack baby carrier.

He’s a year old here — circa “I’m not gonna tell ya” — and needed my attention.

Yes, they both sat there like well behaved children when I walked up to the podium for my diploma.

 

#SDSU #Throwback Thursday #rescue #allaboutme #TBT

Drops and Drips: Water

Water is essewaterbottlesntial for life.

We all know this; we all carry disposable or reusable bottles of water —  water is a billion dollar industry.

Here in California, the drought is so extensive that restaurants don’t automatically serve water; you have to request it.

There are voluntary water restrictions for lawns and gardens.

Yet there’s water all around us if we only LOOK.

Wasted water.

Dishwashing water, washing machine water; water swirling around our feet in the shower  –  all lost down the drain.

It really frustrates me that there isn’t a easy way to reclaim this “gray water”.

My tugboat man and I are committed to leaving as small a footprint as possible and to be good stewards of this world, yet even for my guy who has a degree in nautical engineering, figuring out how to make a gray water system in our home is not as easy as I assumed.

Our challenge is a tri-level home with the laundry room on the third floor — apparently you can’t just stick a hose out the window — according to hub, it’s more complicated than that.

We, but I really mean HE is designing a functional system, but every single time I see a drop of water down the drain instead of being diverted to the garden, I get very sad!

To honor precious water and its importance to our bodies, check out this series of photos I took at my photography class.

I haven’t liked doing anything this much since I discovered the magic of that little plastic card that meant all the pretty treasures could come home with me!

My son reminded me of our kitty, Bandit, who loved to sit in the sink and drink dripping water. Still miss her so much…

waterdrip6 waterdrip5 waterdrip4waterdrip3waterdrip2Part One, October theme, Healthy Living

 

Fog + Condors, and California’s Amazing Big Sur

Remember when I ran away from BlogHer14?
(Click HERE to read my sad tale.)

My tugboat man and I headed west to take the 101 back home to SoCal.

We stopped in Carmel for a lovely night to celebrate hub’s birthday, and thought we’d camp for a few nights as we travelled south.

It was obvious that everyone else had the same idea. No open campsites and no hotels meant we drove all the way home, sad and dejected, at 2:00 a.m.

Even though we didn’t camp anywhere and there was heavy fog, every so often the sun would peek through and I was able to snap some amazing pics.

Ultimate optimists, we’re giving it another try.

We figure that everyone is back to school and we should have a road less travelled. Hopefully. Fingers crossed.

Until we return with more pics, here’s some of my faves.

See you soon!

California Condors with attached radio collars. Too bad I couldn’t get closer pics but we could see the collars with tugboat man’s superior binoculars.

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Boats hidden on a hillside only seen if you hike down a secret trail (and I’ll never tell)…

bigsurboats bigsurboats2

Weird things hanging off a tree.bigsurcrazytreeFog…
bigsur12
bigsur8 bigsur4 And once in a while, the fog cleared…bigsurtripbigsurfog10bigsurfog9bigsurfog8bigsurfog7bigsurfog2bigsurfog4bigsurflower bigsufog4

What A Tangled Web…

With all due respect to Mr. Shakespeare, there’s no deceit here!

Just a creepy spider web.

That’s it, that’s all I have to offer.

A weirdly asymetrical spider and web in the loquat tree located directly to the left of our backyard deck.spider web

A victim of global warming, perhaps? Hallucinogens?  Simply lazy?

If you look closely, it’s a really weird weave, don’t you agree?

P.S. While you’re here, why not check out my scrumptious recipe for Loquat Jam?
Click the link:

http://enchantedseashells.com/2013/06/03/the-lovely-luscious-loquat-jam/

 

Red-Tailed Hawk in Eucalyptus Tree

I was so lucky to get close to this magnificent creature perched in our backyard eucalyptus tree.

The colors are so vibrant!

haawktree2I’m standing right underneath the branch.

Look at those talons!

It’s like he/she is saying, “I know I’m beautiful, hurry up and get the money shot!”

hawktree1

Keeping a close watch on the squirrels.

hawktree4Eyeballing tugboat man on the deck. Shhhh!hawktree5

How’s my profile? hawktree3

Alabaster Blooms

UPDATE:

I just found out that it’a Giant Spider Lily (Crinum asiaticum). 

I don’t low the name of this plant; it was here when we moved in twenty-five years ago, but it blooms every summer and the fragrance is strongest after the sun sets.

How about helping me solve the mystery — if anyone knows what it is, please let me know!

whiteflower1 whiteflower2

A Quietly Enchanting Rainy Day in Southern California

A rainy morning…RAIN! YAY!

Cleaning up after tugboat man’s all time favorite.breakfast, buckwheat pancakes with blueberries.

Isn’t this perfect?

Of course I embellished it with shells.

enchantedmermaidIt’s on metal, that’s why there’s a bit of a glare.
I got it from my new favorite online store:
California Seashell Company