Saturday, October 18, 2008

Plant Pilgrimage- Part 1

"…It is clear that the crisis has a moral component- in particular the severing of the relationship between productive activity and wealth.”
-Jonathan Rosenblooom

It is a sin to own a comped airline ticket and not use it. In just a week, the Southwest Airline ticket won at the Youth Science Center Gala would expire. It would become as valuable as milk left for weeks on the counter.

Where to go? The week was packed: two deadlines, two events and one doctor’s appointment smack in the middle. There wasn’t time to be tempted with thoughts of “what should I do which will make me the most money as a writer.”

Instead I focused. This would be a plant pilgrimage. I was on my way to pay homage to a business where levity and bold optimism grow in opposition to a fading economy. I brought an
empty suitcase and the money saved because I didn’t have to buy an airline ticket.
First stop would be to Annie’s Annuals and Perennials in Richmond, California. This 2.5 acres of plant heaven floats in the middle of an industrial neighborhood just north of what my friends call the “People’s Republic of Berkeley”.
I met Annie once. At an unforgettable chat she gave at the Huntington Gardens and Library. She enchanted us with bubbly visions of storybook bright blue perfumed flowers and other rarities. She is the Fairy Queen in the Land of Gardening Imagination.
She was just as effervescent the day of my visit to her garden- a few words with those who venture into the unchartered waters of business is always an honor for me.
Meet Robin and Pixie. These two plant tenders are the type of people who are the true wealth makers of this nation. People who exude cheerful love for their product. Their vitality is infectious. With their advice, the little red wagon filled with plants to stuff my empty suitcase with.

Even if you can’t make it to her garden, flipping through the pages of Annie’s charming catalog, you can learn joy looks like. It looks like a garden full of Annie’s plants. Since we all live in a world starved for an injection of levity and brash optimism, order a copy. Sign up on their “wish list” for out-of-stock delights. I have used this service a few times- and in a word- “Wow”. .
At first glance one might think that what Annie and Company sell is flowering plants. But what they really sell is HAPPINESS.

Annie's Annuals & Perennials can be found on the web at
Some of her plants can be seen in Southern California at The Garden 845 N Garey
Ave, Pomona, CA 91767 phone (909) 731-2435
or at
Roger's Gardens 2301 San Joaquin Hills Rd Corona del Mar, California 92625 949- 640-5800


debra said...

Hi Lydia, Annie's is a fabulous destination, a Mecca of sorts for folks like us! I have only shopped there once, but I l-o-v-e-d everything about its cool vibe! So....that plants-in-a-suitcase-packing skill of yours is tres-magnifique!
and did you find a B&B in Berkeley?

Lydia said...

I wish my husband could have come so I would have had one more empty suitcase to fill!
There are some awesome sounding bed and breakfast places in Berkeley- but they were all full. However, the best travel agent in the world- Patty Gee- put me in a boutique hotel across the bay in Mill Valley. I never would have found it on my own- I would return in a heartbeat. Will post on it soon.