Annie’s Annuals and Perennials

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The artist Sandow Birk once did a show depicting a fictitious war between Northern and Southern California. If that war were to be fought by plant nurseries, the forces of Northern California would have us, down here in the Southland, badly beat. There’s a few good native plant nurseries here, but that’s about it. There’s nothing quite as spectacular as Annie’s Annuals and Perennials, located in Richmond on the eastern side of the San Francisco Bay.

Entrance display. Photo: Annie's Annuals and Perennials.

Entrance display at Annie’s. Photo: Annie’s Annuals and Perennials.

Annie’s was one of the stops on the Garden Blogger’s Fling, where we got to hear Annie Hayes herself talk about her business. She noted that most retail nurseries get their stock from distant, centralized wholesale nurseries. An outbreak of late blight disease in tomatoes back in 2009 demonstrates that centralized nurseries are a great way to spread plant diseases over wide areas.

Annie’s specializes in riotous color. Many of the spectacular gardens we visited on the Fling sourced their plants from Annie’s. And in addition to unusual and rare ornamental plants, Annie’s has a great selection of edibles. It’s first time I’ve ever seen Oca (Oxalis tuberosa) outside of a book.

I had to keep a tight grip on my credit card to prevent myself from buying plants I had no way of getting home on my bike. The good news is that Annie’s does mail order. And she’s got a bunch of tutorial videos covering topics such as container planting and plant combinations. As we begin version 4.0 of our back yard garden, I have a feeling we’ll be ordering plants from Annie’s.

Disclosure: we’re always happy to write about businesses we like and support. We did not get any compensation or free items from Annie’s.

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4 Comments

  1. I love Annie’s! I lived in the Bay Area for a while and bought as many plants as I could from them. They grow an amazing selection of high quality plants. The fact that they test them in their own home gardens means they can provide real life performance information.

    Roger’s Gardens in Newport Beach carries some of their plants for a slight markup, but it’s less than shipping if you’re only getting a few plants. There may be other local nurseries that also carry some of their plants.

  2. Annie’s is the greatest! I hope you are enjoying your visit in Northern CA. I live south of Annie’s (in another city slightly above the hood) if you want to drop by and see our urban farm. We’ve worked our tails off on it for 21 years!

  3. does las pilitas count as so cal? their website is POWER!!! (cue the thunder and lightning)…

    shout out to Watershed Nursery in Richmond! and to Greg and the old Kezar Native Plants nursery before Rec/Park closed it down (boo phil ginsberg!) shout out to Bay Natives for coming out to the Bayview (but ya need to keep the plant prices lower!)! those are my favorite CA native plant nurseries here in SF / SF Bay area.

    For edibles: shout out to Flowercraft! great, great staff there. in the Bayview/Bayshore area too!

    • I forgot to mention Las Pilitas–indeed they ROCK. And thanks for the tip on Flowercraft. Will have to go visit.

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